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Monday, November 26, 2007

Two cloves a day keeps the oncologist away

garlicLong touted as having health benefits, garlic has released some of its secrets to recent studies by scientists.

Researchers at the University of Alabama in Birmingham found that consumption of garlic boosts production of hydrogen sulfide, which acts as an antioxidant in small doses but is toxic at higher levels. Hydrogen sulfide is the same chemical that gives off a distinct rotten-egg smell during oil refining — if you've driven by the site of the old Rock Island Refinery just west of 86th Street and Michigan road, you're familiar with the aroma.

A diet rich in garlic has been shown to be effective in combating various cancers, including breast, prostate and colon. Additionally, researchers at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine discovered earlier this year that injecting hydrogen sulfide into mice almost completely prevented the damage to heart muscle caused by a heart attack.

The required consumption of garlic to achieve health benefits is surprisingly low: Just two medium-sized cloves per day should do the trick. To maximize health benefits, garlic should be crushed at room temperature and allowed to sit for 15 minutes before using, researchers say. And the dreaded "garlic breath" can be avoided by eating fennel seeds afterwards or by munching on fresh parsley. (As the old saying goes, He who eats parsley need not eat garlic sparsely.)
Anonymous, 8:58 AM