Is It True That Garlic Can Lower Cholesterol?
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a plant closely related to leeks and onions. It is known for its distinctive odor and is also known as the “stinky rose”. It is best known for the flavor it adds to a variety of foods.
Garlic also contains a chemical called allicin, which has been shown to kill bacteria and fungi and relieve certain digestive disorders. It also decreases the clotting properties of blood. However, garlic has received the most attention in recent years because of its potential to help lower cholesterol levels.
Does garlic really work?
Garlic is one of the most widely purchased herbal supplements used to lower cholesterol levels. Most studies have shown that lowering cholesterol levels results from taking half a gram to one gram of garlic per day. Cholesterol) levels are reduced very slightly (if at all) and HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels are not affected by garlic absorption.
Garlic’s ability to lower cholesterol appears to be dose-dependent. In other words, the higher the garlic intake, the lower the cholesterol. Few studies have examined the long-term effects of garlic on cholesterol, and the cholesterol-lowering effects of garlic appear to be only temporary.
There is also controversy over which form of garlic (powder, extract, oil, pills, or raw) is best for lowering cholesterol. Some studies suggest that garlic powder may contain less allicin, one of the active ingredients in garlic. This also raises questions.
It is important to note that the results of the studies are very mixed. Many studies conclude that garlic lowers cholesterol, while others dispute this, saying that garlic does not lower cholesterol. Until more research is done, you’re relying on it alone to lower cholesterol. If that’s the case, garlic may not be your best choice.
High levels of bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol in your blood can increase your risk of heart disease. Therefore, it is important to keep your cholesterol levels under control. There are two types of cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is called bad cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is called good cholesterol. Cholesterol is produced by the liver, but certain foods can raise cholesterol levels. These are mainly those foods that are rich in saturated fats and trans fats. Likewise, there are foods that can lower cholesterol levels, one of which is garlic.
Garlic is a popular spice because of its benefits to the digestive system, high blood pressure and inflammation, to name a few. However, several studies have shown that garlic has cholesterol-lowering effects.
According to WebMD, garlic can lower total cholesterol in the body by a few percentage points. However, this can only be short-term. It also adds that garlic can prolong the time it takes for blood to clot after bleeding. Therefore, garlic should be avoided before surgery or before taking anticoagulants.
Consuming garlic for cholesterol
Most studies examining the effects of garlic on cholesterol have used 500 to 1,000 mg of garlic. Garlic preparations vary from garlic powder used in pills to raw garlic used in cooking. The usual recommended dose is one to two cloves of fresh garlic or 300 mg of dried garlic powder in a tablet form per day.
- If you are taking a garlic supplement to lower your cholesterol, be sure to inform your health care provider, as it may interact with medications you are taking, such as saquinavir, a drug used to treat certain diseases and HIV infections.
- The most obvious side effect of garlic is the distinctive odor it leaves on your breath and body. Some over-the-counter formulas claim to reduce this side effect, but you should be aware that you may still experience this unwanted side effect.
- In addition, if you are taking an anticoagulant such as Coumadin (warfarin) or are planning to have surgery in the near future, you should not consume garlic without consulting your healthcare provider, as it may reduce your ability to clot.
- There is no strict limit to the amount of garlic you can eat per day, but some studies suggest that eating too much garlic (more than 0.25 grams per pound of bodyweight) may be harmful to your liver. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, eat about 70 grams of garlic per day. This is the equivalent of eating 18 cloves of garlic. This is the equivalent of eating 18 cloves of garlic or taking more than 100 over-the-counter pills (one pill is equivalent to 400 mg).
Foods that help lower cholesterol
- Beans. Beans are a rich source of minerals, fiber and protein. Some studies claim that adding beans to your diet can help lower bad cholesterol in your body.
- Vegetables. Some vegetables contain soluble fiber, which may help lower cholesterol levels in the body, according to Healthline. Adding vegetables such as eggplant, carrots and potatoes to your diet can help control cholesterol and weight. They are also thought to be good for heart health.
- Berries and fruits. Fruits are rich in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels in the body. Berries and grapes contain plant compounds that increase good cholesterol and decrease bad cholesterol in the body.
- Almonds and nuts. Include nuts in your diet for heart health benefits. Nuts contain monounsaturated fats. Walnuts contain omega-3 and almonds contain L-arginine, an amino acid that helps produce nitric oxide. This helps regulate blood pressure.
- Oily fish Salmon, mackerel, tuna and other oily fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is good for heart health because it reduces the risk of inflammation and stroke and raises the level of good cholesterol in the body.
Several studies have concluded that garlic can lower cholesterol, while others have refuted the claim, saying garlic does not. Until more research is done, you can only rely on it to lower cholesterol. If so, garlic may not be your best choice. The results of studies on garlic for cholesterol are mixed. To reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, you need to make dietary and lifestyle changes and discuss medication with your doctor. Of course, if you like garlic, this is a great excuse to enjoy it in healthy dishes with vegetables, beans and lean proteins.