Crushed garlic boasts anticlotting compounds

By Tom Fortner • Published: May 16th, 2007
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Maybe you want to ward off vampires or make sure you won’t be kissed. Or you want to spice up a recipe or even help prevent blood clots. Whatever the reason, just grab a kitchen staple… a bulb of garlic.

If you want to thwart blood clots, a new study suggests you crush the garlic first and then don’t cook it too long. Argentinian researchers say that’s the best way to preserve the pungent herb’s healthy compounds, including antiplatelet agents that can help prevent blood clots. But overcooking garlic damages its anticlotting properties.

The researchers cooked raw, uncrushed garlic for three minutes… either by boiling it in water or baking it in an oven at four-hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Garlic cooked either way had the same amount of anticlotting compounds as raw garlic. But cooking the uncrushed garlic for six minutes completely suppressed the herb’s anticlotting properties.

Crushing garlic by running it through a garlic press before cooking helped preserve the compounds, but anticlotting effects were lost after three to six minutes of cooking.

A couple of words of warning… if you’re already taking an anticoagulant like Coumadin or an antiplatelet like aspirin, check with your doctor before adding garlic to your diet. Using garlic in combination with blood-thinners could increase the risk of bleeding, especially during surgery.

Nursing mothers also should consult with their practitioners about using garlic. Other side effects may include allergic reactions, gastrointestinal symptoms and a pungent odor on the breath and skin.