Stinks of health

Published: Tuesday 15 September 2009

-- (Credit: MEETA AHLAWAT) Processed garlic loses its ability to protect the heart

freshly cut garlic releases hydrogen sulphide due to which it smells like rotten eggs. This discourages many from consuming the cloves fresh. Keeping in mind its health benefits, the food processing industry produces edible garlic pills and powders which do not have the smell. New research shows that the pills will not do any good, especially in protecting the heart.

Researchers from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, usa, provide the first scientific evidence that freshly crushed garlic is healthier for the heart than dried or processed garlic. The study published in the August 12 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry notes that garlic's benefits are due to the hydrogen sulphide and not antioxidants, as believed earlier.

The team studied two groups of rats: one received freshly crushed garlic while the other was given dried garlic for 30 days. One set of rats was kept on placebo. The scientists then simulated heart attacks in all three groups. "Both crushed and processed garlic reduced damage from lack of oxygen, but the group that received fresh garlic showed a significantly greater restoration of normal blood flow," said Dipak Das who led the research.

Raw, crushed garlic produces hydrogen sulphide which acts as a chemical messenger, relaxing blood vessels and increasing the circulation of blood. Processed and cooked garlic loses its ability to generate the chemical.

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