Garlic and cholesterol

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: May 17th, 2007
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Everybody knows garlic tastes great. Just try imagining seafood linguini without it!

But as good as it tastes, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest garlic is good FOR you, too. People have been writing about its health benefits for… well… for almost as long as people have been writing. And a number of scientific studies have supported garlic’s effectiveness as a boon to the immune system, a natural decongestant and an anti-blood-clotting agent.

But the evidence for garlic’s healthful properties is not as strong as it used to be in one area of medicine.

Stanford University researchers recently evaluated garlic’s ability to lower cholesterol, a claim for which there was strong popular support but no definitive scientific proof. Their study involved one-hundred-ninety-two people with moderately high levels of the type of cholesterol that contributes to cardiovascular disease.

Some of the test subjects ate approximately a clove of raw garlic a day, typically chopped up and included in a condiment on a sandwich. Others took an equivalent amount of garlic in pill form, and still others took a placebo or dummy pill.

After six months, cholesterol levels were virtually unchanged in all the participants.

The researchers speculate garlic still might be beneficial in higher doses or for people whose bad cholesterol is especially elevated. Also, garlic might play a role in helping people maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Maybe it’s poetic justice. When you think about what garlic adds to the flavor of alfredo sauce, how could we ask for more?