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    You Ask, I Answer: Health Benefits of Garlic

    garlic_bulbWhat health benefits do we get from eating garlic?

    Is it better to eat it raw (like in the pesto recipe you shared) or cook it?

    Do you need a certain amount of cloves to get the health benefits?

    — Whitney Bennett
    New York, NY

    The most solid evidence on daily and consistent garlic consumption is that it can:

    • Help reduce levels of LDL (“bad”) and total cholesterol
    • Slow down atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
    • Discourage platelet aggregation (the grouping of platelets in the blood which ultimately forms clots)

    There doesn’t appear to be a difference whether garlic is consumed in a raw or cooked state.  For optimal results in terms of active compounds, though, fresh garlic should always be used (as opposed to pre-minced, jarred varieties).

    One garlic clove a day, once a day, provides the above-mentioned health benefits. An additional clove or two won’t pose any harm.

    I am not a fan of garlic supplements.  Firstly, since supplements are unregulated, you never know what you are truly getting.

    Number two — in the event that these supplements pack in high amounts of concentrated garlic, they may overly thin the blood.

    PS: If you take garlic supplements, you must stop taking them at least three weeks prior to any kind of surgery to prevent excessive bleeding.

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