While the health benefits of eating garlic have been well known for a while, according to new research, garlic not only helps slow down the aging process, but could also be effective at preventing brain disease like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The research, carried out at the University of Missouri, found that a carb found in garlic is key to its classification as a “superfood.”
As Zezong Gu, associate professor of pathology and anatomical sciences at the MU School of Medicine, who headed up the study told reporters, “Garlic is one of the most widely consumed dietary supplements. Most people think of it as a ‘superfood.”
Gu added that, “Scientists are still discovering different ways garlic benefits the human body. Our research focused on a carbohydrate derivative of garlic known as FruArg and the role this nutrient plays in protective responses.”
According to Gu, garlic can inhibit brain cell damage caused by stress, “Microglia are immune cells in the brain and spinal cord that are the first and main line of defense in the central nervous system. Unlike other mature brain cells that seldom regenerate themselves, microglial cells respond to inflammation and environmental stresses by multiplying,” he said.
In explaining the more technical side of the study, Gu went on to discuss in more detail how garlic is healthy, “Although important to brain cell health, microglial cells also produce nitric oxide in reaction to their function as protectors,” Gu said. If we simply increased the number of microglial cells, we also would increase the amount of nitric oxide in the brain.”
Other health benefits of garlic include treating acne, hair loss, the common cold, lowering blood pressure, and lowering the risk of heart disease.
Moving forward, Gu and his team hope to carry out more research on superfoods in order to better understand how healthy eating can help to prolong or even save lives.
[Image credit: nritribune]