If you're the kind of person who thinks any savory dish can be improved by a bit of garlic — fresh breath be damned! — then you're going to feel great about recent research highlighting the possible benefits of a garlic-heavy diet. In fact, before you read this quick synopsis about garlic's purported health benefits, you might even want to grab one of your favourite dishes: garlic bread, garlic fries, or even a head of roasted garlic. (Yum!) OK, now that your pungent snack is in hand, here's what you need to know.
University of Nottingham researchers published a narrative review — in other words, an in-depth analysis of a collection of related studies — in the Trends in Pharmacological Sciences scientific journal, which surmises that because garlic and its close family members are sulfur-rich, it likely possesses many benefits for people who consume it regularly. "Major roles for garlic and its sulfur constituents include the regulation of vascular homeostasis and the control of metabolic systems linked to nutrient metabolism," reads its summary.
The narrative review analysed recent studies about garlic, highlighting the fact that it (and other members of the allied plant species) affects levels of specific gases "associated with the cardiovascular system, inflammation, and neurological functions." The studies analysed in the new review expand our knowledge about the biological benefits and effects of garlic and its edible, sulfur-rich cousins in the allium family.
Based on their analysis of modern garlic studies, the University of Nottingham researchers believe that the sulfur-rich food's benefits could help reduce the risk of certain cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. While their review didn't reveal anything groundbreaking, as it isn't an actual scientific study in its own right, its excellent synopsis of other study findings is garnering plenty of buzz from garlic-lovers.
So next time somebody drops a passive-aggressive, "Do you want some pasta with that garlic?" when scoping out your office lunch, just send them the link to this full narrative review and keep on eating your delicious, oh-so-stinky meal. It could really benefit your body in the long run!