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US study: Garlic good for your heart
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Garlic is a well-known, loved food ingredient, easy to introduce in daily meal and is moreover good for the cardiovascular system, according to a new study in US quoted by media reports Wednesday. (photo:

The study, conducted by scientists at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, found that garlic is rich in allicin, an organic polysulphides. When allicin is broken down into sulphur compounds, these react with red blood cells and produce hydrogen sulphide which relaxes the blood vessels, keeps blood flowing easily and prevents blood clots and oxidative damage.

When hydrogen sulphide is at low concentration level, the study said, it helps cells communicate with each other. Within a blood vessel, hydrogen sulphite stimulates cells on its lining to relax, causing the vessel to dilate. In this condition, blood pressure comes down  enabling blood to carry more oxygen to essential organs and reduces pressure on the heart.

Hypertension -- high blood pressure -- is known to be a major risk factor for heart disease. The study, researchers held, may lead to a standardized garlic diet that may have healing results for cardiovascular diseases and even cancer.

Lead researcher, Dr. David Kraus from the university, said: "Our results suggest garlic in the diet is a very good thing. Certainly in areas where garlic consumption is high, such as the Mediterranean and the Far East, there is a low incidence of cardiovascular disease."

(Agencies via Xinhua News Agency October 17, 2007)

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