Wondering how to spice up a marinade or add extra flavor to a dip? Just add garlic! This "stinking rose" has a myriad of health benefits—and you'll be happy to know that the sexy vampires from the popular Twilight series aren't the least bit turned off by it. According to Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, a nutritionist with the wellness program, garlic is especially great for your cardiovascular health.
"When it comes to protecting our vascular system, garlic is king," says Kirkpatrick. "One of garlic's many wonders is its ability to make our platelets less sticky. That leaves us less prone to deadly clots that may cause a heart attack or stroke. Garlic has also been shown to help in the fight against high blood pressure and may even assist to lower cholesterol and increase immunity towards infections."
To reap the most health benefits, she suggests cutting and crushing garlic (this allows an enzyme in it to react). Some experts also advise letting the garlic sit for about 15 minutes before cooking with it.
As for the bad breath issue, Kirkpatrick says you can try chewing on a fresh sprig of parsley or mint—but admits that sometimes you just have to wait it out. "The oils from garlic do enter the blood stream and may be exhaled from lungs for several days after consumption, so completely ridding your breath and body from garlicky smells may simply take time," she says.
What's your favorite way to use garlic?
—Barbara Brody, Health Editor