They say a nutrient in garlic offers the brain protection against ageing and disease.
It could even prevent age-related neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The University of Missouri researchers found a carbohydrate in the superfood is key.
‘Garlic is one of the most widely consumed dietary supplements,’ said Zezong Gu, associate professor of pathology and anatomical sciences at the MU School of Medicine and lead author of the study. ‘Most people think of it as a ‘superfood,’ because garlic’s sulfur-containing compounds are known as an excellent source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection.
‘Scientists are still discovering different ways garlic benefits the human body,’ he said.
‘Our research focused on a carbohydrate derivative of garlic known as FruArg and the role this nutrient plays in protective responses.’
Gu’s team looked at the nutrient’s ability to inhibit ― and even possibly reverse ― brain cell damage caused by environmental stress.
Environmental stress could include the aging process, smoking, pollution, traumatic brain injury or excessive alcohol consumption.
‘Microglia are immune cells in the brain and spinal cord that are the first and main line of defense in the central nervous system,’ Gu said.