Can Garlic Improve Your Health?

By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN

I love garlic and add it to so many recipes, like my Southwestern Greek Yogurt Dip with Crudités pictured here (1 SmartPoints® value per serving). Garlic is actually a bulb from a plant that’s related to the lily, and you can eat it raw or cooked. It adds a delicious zing of a taste plus it may have some potential positive effects on health:

It may help heart health. In people with high blood pressure, garlic may slightly lower blood pressure, research suggests. And preliminary evidence has found that garlic may slow hardening of the arteries, a condition that may lead to heart disease or stroke. More long-term clinical trials are needed to further explore garlic’s potential heart-health benefits.

It might help lower cholesterol. Some research has found that garlic use for one to three months could help lower blood cholesterol levels. However, findings are mixed, as other studies show no benefit.

It may help reduce cancer risk. Certain studies have found that regular garlic intake may help reduce risk of certain cancers, such as prostate cancer. However, more research needs to be completed in this area.

Keep in mind: While regular garlic use seems to be safe for most adults, exercise caution since it can thin blood similarly to aspirin and may interfere with surgery or certain medications.

What are your thoughts on this topic? What are your favorite ways to cook with garlic? Share them with me on Connect @amy_gorin!

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