Oddly enough, some of the cardiovascular benefits are rooted in the gut health benefits of the vegetables. Garlic is rich in prebiotic fiber, which is essential for probiotics (also known as good bacteria) to flourish in the gut.
According to a study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Disease Research, probiotics have been shown to control blood cholesterol by lowering cholesterol production, breaking down liver bile acids, and even eating excess cholesterol as a food source. Other studies have shown that pre-, pro-, and synbiotics can play a role in overall cardiovascular health.
"(Garlic) is not only a great prebiotic, it has antibacterial properties," adds Gundry. "If you like the contagious theory of heart disease – which I do – it may explain why garlic eaters have little plaque in their arteries," he says.
The infectious theory of heart disease states that exposure to certain infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites can lead to plaque build-up (atherosclerosis) and eventually coronary artery disease.
However, because garlic contains anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, eating it can lower the risk of infection, and therefore the risk of heart problems.