Top | Sift

Keeping vampires at bay

(article, Caroline Cummins)

Tara Parker-Pope keeps a wellness blog for the New York Times, featuring short updates on the latest in health research. Every so often, one of these articles pops up on the newspaper's "most emailed" list, and recently that honor went to a snippet about garlic.

The article, published way back on October 15, gets to the point fast:

bq. In a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers show that eating garlic appears to boost our natural supply of hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is actually poisonous at high concentrations — it’s the same noxious byproduct of oil refining that smells like rotten eggs. But the body makes its own supply of the stuff, which acts as an antioxidant and transmits cellular signals that relax blood vessels and increase blood flow.

So, yes, all that stinky stuff is actually good for you — so long as you eat at least two fresh cloves of garlic a day. (The verdict is still out on whether garlic pills do any good.) Parker-Pope even offers cooking tips:

bq. Many home chefs mistakenly cook garlic immediately after crushing or chopping it . . . to maximize the health benefits, you should crush the garlic at room temperature and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. That triggers an enzyme reaction that boosts the healthy compounds in garlic.

Still can't handle the smell? Parker-Pope suggests crunching on some fennel seeds (available at any spice counter) after downing garlic to counteract the dreaded garlic breath.