Why Eating Whole Foods is Far Better Than Taking a Supplement

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January 23, 2007 | 13,381 views

A study of 90 overweight smokers suggests that garlic supplements have no effect on a number of heart disease risk factors.

Taking garlic powder supplement for three months resulted in no changes in cholesterol levels, C-reactive protein levels (which indicate arterial inflammation), or levels of other blood substances that indicate how well blood vessel walls are working.

Some studies have found that garlic supplements may help lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure, but other studies have failed to find these benefits.

One-third of the study participants were randomly assigned to take 2 grams of garlic supplement each day. Another third took 40 milligrams of Lipitor each day, and the rest were given placebos. There were no clear differences between the garlic group and the placebo group.



This European study is an excellent example that beautifully illustrates the problems associated with favoring synthetic supplements over whole foods.

It makes perfect sense that the people who took the garlic supplement showed no improvement in their cholesterol levels or any other signs of heart disease, while those taking Lipitor experienced drops in C-reactive protein and TNF-alpha (both signs of inflammation) and their cholesterol levels.

But the catch about the aforementioned study: People benefit the most from garlic and onions when eating them fresh. Also, the active ingredient in garlic -- allicin -- tends to dissipate an hour after cutting or chewing it, meaning a typical garlic pill won't do your health much good.

Garlic is truly one of nature's most impressive foods, and I am a big fan of it (assuming you can get by the smell). It can protect you from hypertension, has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, and also comes with a host of additional health-promoting characteristics. The benefits you can gain from garlic seem quite profound.

If you enjoy garlic you will want to consider using it fresh and cutting or chewing it shortly before swallowing it to obtain the maximum benefits. If you are a carb type you can also consider adding it to your vegetable juice.

On Vital Votes, Mary from Cabool, Missouri believes these principles apply to more than just garlic:

"Most supplements are processed in one way or another.  Any type of processing can destroy many of the nutrients and bio-active materials in our food.  Heat destroys B Vitamins. Pressure destroys other vitamins. The best way to get the beneficial effects of something is to eat it after taking it from your garden, wash off the dirt and eat it."

Other responses to this article can be viewed at Vital Votes, and you can add your own thoughts or vote on comments by first registering at Vital Votes.




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