This is an index of the health notes included in recipes. These short tidbits of information can help answer questions on everything from Omega-3 Fats in fish to whether to cook chicken with the skin on or not. Want to know about garlic and cholesterol? Is it okay to eat eggs or not? It's all here.
It has long been thought that garlic helps lower cholesterol, and while it does, it's not as effective as some research has indicated. Most of the research that has been done to prove that garlic lowers cholesterol was either too small or not well enough designed to draw conclusions.
In an analysis that looked at all of the smaller studies combined, it appears that there is a reduction in cholesterol when compared to placebo. This is at best a modest lowering of cholesterol—on the order of 5%, not the 10 to 20% as was once thought. This analysis did, however, only take into account the use of garlic pills and not fresh garlic.
Part of the problem in studying garlic is that researchers can't agree on what form of garlic to use. Also, it's important in research to have the test subjects "blinded" to whether they are getting medication or placebo. This is difficult to do with fresh garlic and many preparations have issues of a garlic smell or taste making it difficult to keep the identity of study medication secret.
Clearly, garlic is not bad for you. It tastes great, is an fundamental ingredient in every kitchen, is low in calories (13 for 3 cloves), has essentially no fat or salt, no cholesterol, is pretty high in vitamin C and lowers cholesterol at least a little.
The only conclusion can be to eat more garlic. Read More "The Health of It All..." Articles
Garlic: tastes great and... just tastes great
I've previously reported on the positive effects of garlic on lowering cholesterol and noted that it's hard to study garlic because of the characteristic smell and flavor. Worse, scientists have a hard time agreeing on what form of garlic to use (fresh? powder? pill?) and which strain of garlic to study. In vitro studies of garlic have identified certain sulfur-containing agents in garlic that appear to affect the inflammation markers of cardiovascular disease as well as blood cholesterol.
Garlic still not a magic pill
I reported recently (News Bite 12/12/06) on a study in Europe that showed that garlic supplementation had no effect on cholesterol levels. A group of researchers in Stanford, California have just released an even more compelling study that appears to confirm the earlier findings (Arch Intern Med 2007;167:346-353).