grown for its distinctive taste and health benefits. It is closely related to onions, shallots and leeks. Each segment of a garlic bulb is called a clove. There are about 10–20 cloves in a single bulb, give or take. It contains sulfur compounds, which are believed to bring some of the health benefits. Scientists now know that most of its health benefits are caused by the sulfur compounds formed when a garlic clove is chopped, crushed or chewed. Perhaps the most famous of those is known as allicin. However, allicin is an unstable compound that is only briefly present in fresh garlic after it’s been cut or crushed (3Trusted Source). Other compounds that may play a role in garlic’s health benefits include diallyl disulfide and s-allyl cysteine (4Trusted Source). The sulfur compounds from garlic enter the body from the digestive tract and travel all over the body, where it exerts its potent biological effects.
Cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes are the world’s biggest killers. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most important drivers of these diseases. Human studies have found garlic supplements to have a significant impact on reducing blood pressure in people with high blood pressure (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source). High doses of garlic appear to improve blood pressure for those with known high blood pressure (hypertension). In one study, 600–1,500 mg of aged garlic extract was just as effective as the drug Atenolol at reducing blood pressure over a 24-week period (12Trusted Source).
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