Publix GreenWise Market Magazine - June 2008
True or False?
Does crushing garlic make it less healthful? We've got that answer and more.
Crushing garlic destroys most of its delicate heart-protective compounds.
False. A recent study by scientists at the USDA Agricultural Research Service and their collaborators in Argentina put this to the test (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, February 21, 2007). The researchers boiled, baked and microwaved both crushed and uncrushed cloves of garlic, then tested the garlic's ability to keep platelets from forming clumps. Platelets are sticky cells in the blood that can clump together and initiate clots, leading to a stroke or heart attack.
Crushed garlic retained most of the antiplatelet benefits of raw garlic when baked or boiled for just a few minutes. In fact, crushed garlic fared better than uncrushed, perhaps because crushing helps release compounds that are responsible for the antiplatelet effects. But cooks, take note: Cooking longer than 10 minutes stripped garlic, whether crushed or not, of almost all of its heart-healthy properties, as did microwaving even for brief periods.
If you're having trouble getting a restful night's sleep, a nightcap will help.
False. Alcohol is a sedative, so it may help you fall asleep faster. However, according to the Sleep Foundation, it also increases the number of times you wake up during the night once the effects have worn off. Plus, alcohol robs you of restorative deep sleep and REM "dream" sleep, which stimulates the brain areas involved in learning and laying down new memories. It's not just your shut-eye that suffers, either, say experts at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Drinking alcohol before bedtime relaxes the tissues of the throat and mouth, which can lead to snoring. If you suspect that alcohol might be keeping you or your bed partner awake, skip the drink and rest easier.
Hardwired phones are the number one cause of indoor lightning injuries.
True. Summer is the peak season for lightning-related injuries, and phone use is the leading indoor cause. That's because lightning can travel through phone and electrical wiring. People struck by lightning may suffer long-term effects of memory loss, sleep disorders, dizziness, fatigue and other symptoms. To play it safe, stay off hardwired phones, computers and other electrical equipment during a thunderstorm.
LEARN MORE: National Lightning Safety Awareness Week is June 22-28. For more details, visit www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.