A Moment of Science

Garlic, Revealed

Everyone knows that garlic is good for you. It lowers cholesterol, prevents cancer and heart disease, and even makes mosquito bites stop itching...right?

Garlic Cloves

Photo: Ian-S (flickr)

There's some evidence that eating garlic can prevent blood clots and it could have other health benefits that we don't know about yet.

Everyone knows that garlic is good for you. It lowers cholesterol, prevents cancer and heart disease, and even makes mosquito bites stop itching…right?

Unfortunately, that stuff is mostly folklore, not science. Some studies have found evidence that garlic could lower risks for digestive and prostate cancers, but other studies found no benefits. According to one study, garlic does nothing at all for cholesterol.

It is true that garlic contains something called allicin, that’s released when garlic is crushed. It’s supposed to be good for stopping cholesterol production in cells. Which it is, in the lab, but it’s a different story when you eat garlic. Then, evidently, it doesn’t do much to lower cholesterol.

There’s some evidence that eating garlic can prevent blood clots and it could have other health benefits that we don’t know about yet.

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