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Post subject: NUTRITION Q&A: Can eating garlic be a good thing for you  PostPosted: Jul 19, 2006 - 09:41 PM

Sergeant Major
Q: Does the garlic I cook with have health benefits?

A: Perhaps, but the evidence so far is inconclusive. One thing is certain, however: Many nutrient-rich, good-for-you dishes derive some of their delicious flavors and aromas from garlic. And when we indulge in those appealing dishes, we enjoy their health benefits, too.

For the potential benefits, research has looked at the effect of consuming about one to two cloves of fresh garlic daily.

What may give garlic its potential health benefits? Its sulfur-containing compounds, which also deliver the distinctive aroma and flavor, probably play an important role, as may its nonsulfur components. These phytonutrients may help lower total cholesterol, LDL "bad" cholesterol and triglyclerides and so promote heart health.

Some researchers are studying the possibility of other health benefits from garlic, such as reduced blood pressure, better circulation, improved immunity and potentially lowered risks for some cancers. The jury's still out on these. But it's generally accepted that relying on garlic alone isn't enough to prevent a health problem. However, as part of an overall healthful eating plan, along with exercise and maintaining a healthy weight, garlic may add unique health benefits.

Consuming a clove or two of garlic a day can be easy. Garlic is a common ingredient in Mediterranean dishes, including pizzas, lasagna and pasta and pesto sauces. Garlic tastes great in salads, cooked with hearty soups, blended with herbs for dips or rubbed on red meat.

To get the most potential health benefit from garlic, some scientific studies give this advice: Crush raw garlic and let it sit for 10 minutes before cooking. That may help preserve some of the biologically active compounds that are normally destroyed when garlic is cooked.

Some researchers also offer a caution: Garlic from food (or garlic supplements) may interact with blood-thinning drugs or supplements, including aspirin, ginkgo and warfarin (Coumadin). Talk to your doctor if you take medications or supplements. You may be advised to avoid garlic in food or from supplements before you have surgery.

Roberta L. Duyff is a registered dietitian in St. Louis and author of "365 Days of Healthy Eating From the American Dietetic Association" and "American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide" (John Wiley & Sons).

Birthday Boy Cheese

Cook, or be cooked. Have a nice day. Smile
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