The protective pros of garlic
Garlic is hardly new, but it might be time to add it to your list of superfoods.
A recent study has discovered the pungent cloves can protect against ageing and disease, even preventing against Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Whether taken as a supplement or eating it as a tasty addition to your dinner, the University of Missouri claims garlic can work wonders.
"Garlic is one of the most widely consumed dietary supplements," Zezong Gu, associate professor of pathology and anatomical sciences at the MU School of Medicine and lead author of the study said. "Most people think of it as a 'superfood,' because garlic's sulphur-containing compounds are known as an excellent source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection."
It was a carbohydrate found in the cloves that really sparked the researchers' interest.
"Scientists are still discovering different ways garlic benefits the human body," he continued.
"Our research focused on a carbohydrate derivative of garlic known as FruArg and the role this nutrient plays in protective responses."
FruArg could even reverse the damage caused by things such as smoking, pollution, brain injury and the natural process of ageing.
Immune cells in the brain called microglia are normally the first line of defence in the nervous system. However, a by-product of their function as protectors is the production of nitric oxide, which can be harmful. And this is where garlic comes in.
"When stress was applied to the model, there was an expected increase in microglial cells and their by-product, nitric oxide," Zezong explained.
"However, once we applied FruArg, the microglial cells adapted to the stress by reducing the amount of nitric oxide they produced.
"Additionally, FruArg promoted the production of antioxidants, which offered protective and healing benefits to other brain cells.
"This helps us understand how garlic benefits the brain by making it more resilient to the stress and inflammation associated with neurological diseases and ageing."
Want more kitchen inspiration? The Rush University in Chicago recently found spinach can knock up to 11 years off brain age, so start stocking up on those leafy greens, too!