You’ve heard this health advice before, but here it is again: garlic is good for you. Garlic is a member of the lily or Allium family, which also includes onions and leeks. It is rich in a variety of powerful sulfur-containing compounds. These compounds give garlic its distinctive odor, but are also what makes the herb a powerful alternative remedy against many diseases and conditions.
Just recently, a research team from the UK investigated whether garlic had any beneficial effect on blood glucose levels. They designed a clinical trial that looked at the effect of raw garlic on fructose-induced insulin resistance, and associated metabolic syndrome and oxidative stress in diabetic rats.
For their animal study, the research team fed one group of rats a diet consisting mostly of cornstarch, while a second group was fed a diet containing cornstarch and 65% fructose for eight weeks (do not try this at home!). A third group was fed both 65% fructose and raw garlic for eight weeks. Whole garlic cloves were homogenized with water to make a fresh paste each day.
The researchers found some alarming results at the end of eight weeks in the fructose-fed rats: serum glucose, insulin, triglyceride and uric acid levels, as well as insulin resistance were significantly increased. However, administration of raw garlic to the fructose-fed rats significantly reduced serum glucose, insulin, triglyceride, and uric acid levels, as well as insulin resistance — in effect, almost erasing the harmful effects of the fructose.
Interestingly, although body weight gain and serum glycated hemoglobin levels of the fructose-fed rats were not significantly different from the cornstarch-fed rats, a reduction of these variables was observed in the fructose-fed rats after garlic administration.
The researchers concluded that raw garlic could be effective in improving insulin sensitivity, while attenuating metabolic syndrome and oxidative stress in fructose-fed rats.
So go ahead and add some garlic to your weekly diet. Boost your nutritional health and protect yourself from the diabetes epidemic that is currently devastating North America.
Here is some health advice to increase the benefits you receive from garlic. Let it sit after you’ve chopped it or crushed it. If you give your chopped/crushed garlic time to sit before changing its temperature (through cooking) or its pH (through the addition of acidic food like lemon juice), it will give the alliinase enzymes in garlic an opportunity to work on behalf of your health.