Garlic is hardly new to our diets in the 2020s – indeed, it has been noted for its health and medicinal properties since ancient times. One form of garlic in particular, however, seems to have attracted a lot of notice in recent years – and it’s another example of how sometimes in life, the best things really do come to those who wait.
We are, of course, referring to aged garlic extract, sometimes referred to by the rather appropriate acronym, AGE. This is a form of garlic produced through a cold ageing process lasting as long as 20 months, involving the pickling of the garlic in purified water or alcohol.
This ageing process is thought to have various implications for garlic’s effect on the body, including making it more digestible and boosting its potent antioxidant content.
So, poring over the scientific studies to have been conducted into the extract down the years, here are just seven ways in which your health really could get better with AGE.
It could help strengthen your immune system
We mentioned AGE’s antioxidant richness above, so we might as well pick up that one for our first point. Garlic has long been used as a home remedy for colds and flu, but you might not have seen the evidence that aged garlic extract may be even more beneficial to your immunity than the raw version.
Indeed, antioxidants have a key role in our natural killer cells’ efforts to combat viruses and bacteria.
One interesting study on AGE’s impact on the immune system involved 51 obese adults. It was found that when taken consistently, AGE may help to prevent the development of chronic diseases linked to low-grade inflammation in such individuals.
It can support all-round cardiovascular health
Various studies have found that taking aged garlic extract could also be a good thing for your general cardiovascular health – including by helping to lower the build-up of plaque in the arteries and stop platelets from sticking together.
A 2020 study, meanwhile, found that AGE didn’t merely slow the progression of coronary artery calcification, but also helped lower blood pressure and had a positive effect on inflammation.
It even works as a gum disease treatment
Yes, you read that correctly. Trial outcomes published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry in 2018 showed that the daily consumption of aged garlic extract could be a useful weapon in the fight against the common gum disease, gingivitis.
It has anti-tumour effects
A paper published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2001 noted that AGE and its constituents potentially helped to prevent the growth of chemically induced tumours in animals’ bladders, colons, lungs, skin, breast tissue, esophagus and stomachs.
It may help balance your ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria
With our bowels containing up to 100 trillion bacteria, it’s crucial to do everything you can to prevent bacterial imbalance in your digestive tract – a condition known as gut dysbiosis.
The good news, though, is that aged garlic extract might help to bring your bacteria back into balance. A 2018 Australian study looking into the effect of AGE on patients with high blood pressure discovered that it brought about improved gut microbiota, characterised by heightened microbial richness and diversity.
It’s more absorbable than other forms of garlic
The greater ‘bioavailability’ of this form of garlic is an important point to emphasise.
The pickling process for AGE turns the harsh and unstable compounds that characterise raw garlic into milder and more stable substances. This helps to make it the more ‘gut-friendly’ and absorbable option for those wishing to easily tap into garlic’s many health benefits.
It doesn’t have that garlicky odour
It’s the thing that many of us most associate with garlic, even beyond the health advantages: that potent smell and taste that might leave you fearing its effect on your dating prospects (or at least reaching for mints at the dining table).
Fortunately, the process by which raw garlic becomes AGE causes changes to allicin, the sulphur-based compound responsible for that distinctive smell and taste, effectively rendering AGE odourless.
There you go – seven ways in which garlic punches well above its size and weight when it comes to the benefits it can have for human health and wellness. Embrace the medicinal qualities of aged garlic extract, and you’ll soon realise that garlic can be so much more than mere food flavouring.
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