Including garlic and lemon in your diet is a simple, low-cost way to improve your health. You may not realize it, but these foods are more than just flavor enhancements for your favorite dishes. Garlic and lemon may be able to lower cholesterol and provide a host of other health benefits to boot.
Garlic and Cholesterol
The Journal of Nutrition cites a study from Pennsylvania State University which found that garlic extract supplements had to ability to lower LDL cholesterol by 10 percent and total cholesterol by 7 percent in men with high cholesterol levels. According to the results, several types of garlic supplements may be able to slow the synthesis of cholesterol in the body, including those in pill form and those which are dissolved in water.
However, the true relationship between garlic and cholesterol is disputed by some researchers. While some studies claim that garlic can lower cholesterol, more recent studies have found different results. According to a 2007 study at Standford University, garlic does not have a significant effect on cholesterol. The study, cited by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, explained that participants experienced little to no change in their cholesterol levels regardless of whether they took a garlic supplement or ingested raw garlic.
Lemons and Cholesterol
According to the American Dietetic Association, the terpenoid compound called limonene found in lemons may lower LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels. This, in turn, can also help to prevent heart disease. Other elements of the lemon may contribute to lowered cholesterol as well. Vitamin C, found in high amounts in lemons, has an antioxidant effect which keeps cholesterol from sticking to artery walls, explains Reader's Digest. These benefits have been linked to lemon juice.
Garlic and lemon may also offer several other health benefits. Studies are being conducted to explore the potential anticancer abilities of limonene. According to Reader's Digest, lemon rinds also contain rutin, which can strengthen the walls of capillaries and veins. Lemon juice contains citric acid, which can reduce the risk of kidney stones.
Meanwhile, some people take garlic to help control their blood pressure levels and prevent the hardening of the arteries. According to Medline Plus, raw garlic has been linked to a reduced risk of certain types of cancer, including colon, prostate and breast cancer.
Although there have been studies that link garlic and lemon to lowered cholesterol and other health benefits, these foods should not be taken in place of other medications. Consult a doctor before beginning a regimen of either food to treat a health problem.
Fresh garlic may increase bleeding, so anyone with a bleeding disorder should be very careful about how much of this food they ingest. Garlic supplements are not recommended for children and women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, explains Medline Plus.