Friday, September 28, 2012

Does Garlic Lower Cholesterol

Does garlic lower cholesterol
When my doctor told me I need to lower my cholesterol, one of the things she suggested was to swallow a raw clove of garlic everyday. I have been doing this for the past couple of weeks and have now decided to check online to see whether garlic really does lower cholesterol.

By the way she told me to eat a raw clove by swallowing it whole. It is actually not hard with a big gulp of water, but it doesn't go down too well every time. If you are going to do this, my advice is to start with a small piece at first. Some people have trouble swallowing tablets so a clove of garlic is obviously much larger. I have refrained from cutting cloves in half as that would create sharp edges, which might be more likely to get stuck in the throat.

Anyway onto the question at hand, does garlic lower cholesterol?
A study on whether garlic lowers cholesterol, reported by the BBC found that it does not help. Further searching brought me to websites which said it did work and others which said it may work. I get the feeling that there is no real proof that it works. This all means that garlic is not a magical solution.

Will I continue to take a clove everyday?
Yes! The first reason is that my doctor told me to take it and I trust her more than the internet. The second reason is that it is cheap and relatively easy to take. The most important reason is that garlic has many other health benefits. It may help lower my cholesterol, but it will also provide other things:

Some garlic health benefits

  • It is a natural antibiotic which may help kill bacteria in the body.
  • Antioxidant properties which I see as cleaning out the body from within.
  • It could possibly help lower high blood pressure and ward off certain forms of cancer.
  • There are lots of other mentions on Wikipedia too, such as it can help absorption of thiamin which sounds good for the liver.
One other benefit I stumbled across recently is that garlic may help with toothache pain. I was frantically searching for something to help me at the time and garlic came up as the number one home remedy. To be honest I can't say I noticed it work (I was taking anti inflammatory pills too), but I think there are different causes of toothache, so it is worth a try if you are desperate. 

You crush the clove under a wide knife, this releases the juices. Then you wrap the clove over the affected tooth and gum. You use the tongue to keep it in place, it will sting for a while, then that subsides. Keep it there for 10 minutes or so, then spit it out or swallow it. Don't wash the mouth out as you want the garlic juices to stay there. Many people reported it as a wonder cure which can last many hours.

The one major side effect taking garlic this way is that your breath will stink. I was almost too ashamed to leave the apartment after having the garlic in my mouth. Certainly take some mints or gum with you as it is a very strong smell apparently (and just keep your mouth tightly closed in an elevator lol). I have not had any complaints about bad breath when swallowing whole cloves yet.

I suspect garlic will have some positive effect on cholesterol. I am currently swallowing a clove a day and including it in meals when I can. This is easily done and you can buy it in jars in powder form, or dried small pieces. Garlic rice is actually a really tasty alternative to plain rice. It is easy to add some extra to pasta dishes and most Asian dishes. I''m also eating it often in my healthy snack food which is a mix of unsalted nuts which contains dried slices of garlic. It is almost tasteless in this form.