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Garlic Fights Hypertension

If you read my eHealthy News You Can Use newsletter regularly, you know how much of a fan I am of garlic. It's antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal and the one food you should be eating every day. New research has shown allicin, the key ingredient in garlic, improves pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure in the arteries that bring blood to the lungs of rats and assist breathing.

Scientists induced a form of high blood pressure in rats with a drug that triggers the constriction of the arteries feeding the lungs. (The human form of the disease -- primary pulmonary hypertension -- puts strain on the heart and can be fatal.) Then, some rats were divided into two groups:

Those that weren't given allicin-laced garlic developed pulmonary hypertension, while the rats that received allicin largely did not. How allicin works: Researchers believe this chemical causes constricted blood vessels to relax, thus preventing damage to the blood vessels. Scientists warn, however, humans would need to eat two cloves of garlic every day to approximate the dosage given to rats during the study.

The trick about eating garlic: It must be fresh to give you optimal health benefits. The active ingredient is destroyed within one hour of smashing the garlic, so taking garlic pills are virtually worthless and should not be used. When you use the garlic, compress it with a spoon prior to swallowing it, or put it through your juicer to add to vegetable juice. Just be careful not to put too much in as it can cause some unpleasant surprises. A single medium size clove or two is usually sufficient.

If you need any more incentive about eating garlic daily, I urge you to review an article I wrote last year about the six ways it can improve your health.

Yahoo News April 4, 2005

Forbes.com April 3, 2005

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