Garlic found to help fight acute illness AND chronic disease through its support of the immune system

Researchers from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have found that aged garlic extract can significantly reduce inflammation among obese patients. Their findings, published online in the latest edition of Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, highlight the importance of a healthy diet — one that includes a variety of foods including garlic — in the prevention of diseases related to obesity. The condition of carrying excess weight is associated with low-grade systemic inflammation. This, in turn, increases the risk of developing cardiovascular conditions in the future. Nevertheless, supplementing one’s diet with garlic may decrease this risk.

As part of the study, the team observed 51 obese but healthy patients who had an average age of 46 and a mean body mass index (BMI) of 36. The participants underwent a parallel, double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized study to determine the effects of aged garlic extract on the immune system. Researchers saw that the participants who took a divided daily dose of 3.6 grams of aged garlic extract had reduced inflammation levels after six weeks. This was seen in dramatically improved blood lips markers assessed at the baseline and after the six-week timeline.

Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were also isolated to determine any changes in the immune cell populations based on the secretion of cytokine. ANCOVA analyses uncovered that aged garlic extract improved these levels as well.

“We found that six weeks of [aged garlic extract] supplementation was able to modulate immune cell distribution and prevent the increase of serum concentrations of…factors that play important roles in the development of obesity-induced inflammation,” the authors wrote in their study. “Moreover, blood LDL levels, which often increase with obesity and are a major health concern were significantly lower after [aged garlic extract] supplementation.”

The implications of this study are exciting. Obesity is one of the biggest risk factors in the development of other chronic diseases such as hypertension and Type 2 diabetes. These illnesses have been associated to be related to the level of inflammation in the body. These results suggest that simply eating more garlic, or taking garlic supplements, can be enough to reduce your risk of developing these conditions.

Inflame your passion, not your gut

Alas, poor Yorick! He died of a weakened immune system — or he would have if he ate the way we do these days. Our unhealthy eating habits, combined with our sedentary lifestyle, has caused most of us to be obese. There are now an estimated six million obese adults around the world. This number is only expected to grow as we grow more lazy and indulgent with our food. However, it’s never too late to prioritize your health now and start eating more foods that fight off inflammation. Here are some great suggestions:

  • Fatty fish — Loaded with omega-3 acids, these items promote a stronger immune system.
  • Green leafy vegetables — Eat more spinach, kale, and collards.
  • Nuts — Almonds and walnuts have been studied to promote heart health and help with weight loss plans.
  • Ginger and turmeric — These spices are some of the more powerful anti-inflammatory foods out there. Numerous studies have shown that using the two liberally in dishes can reduce your risk of diseases, including cancer.
  • Pineapple — Perhaps not on pizza, but this fruit contains all the necessary nutrients you need for a healthier body. Pineapples are also rich in bromelain which reduces inflammation.
  • Fermented foods — These have the dual function of suppressing inflammation and building the immune system.

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