Garlic may very well be one of THE most important ingredients within the Mediterranean diet that helps give the diet its fame for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, lowering blood pressure, thinning the blood to prevent the formation of blood clots, preventing atherosclerosis and other chronic diseases.
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a spicy relative of the onion. a head of garlic is a clump of bulbs, each clove an individual bulb.
It has also been harvested for thousands of years for its flavor and also is one of the earliest known plants to be cultivated for medicinal reasons.
It was thought by ancient cultures to be a great purifier, i.e., anything that smelled that bad had to kill whatever bad was inside you.
This bulb’s famous health benefits had even ancient Greek athletes eating it before they competed in the original Olympic games.
According to a 2007 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the diet staple boosts our body’s supply of hydrogen sulfide, an antioxidant. It may also help reduce blood pressure, which could prevent a heart attack.
The catch? Study participants had two garlic cloves a day. This may not be an issue for consumers of garlic-heavy Italian cuisine, but everyone else should try this trick: Let crushed or sliced garlic sit for at least 10 minutes to increase its antioxidant potential. Also, beware of garlic pills—they may interfere with medications, especially blood thinners.