Garlic has an indisputable place in cuisines, history, and literature. One word: pesto. Garlic held away the plague (actually, it just made people stay away from you and maybe a few of the fleas). And don’t you all remember the line by JD Salinger about the salad dressing: both halves of the couple had it, or neither? While garlic has played many roles in traditional and Eastern medicine, only in the last generation have Western medical and nutrition researchers investigated the impact that garlic has on cardiovasular disease.

Garlic is a great source of certain plant chemicals (phytochemicals) and general nutrients like minerals. Research has shown that they lower cholesterol, prevent and helps dissolve blood clots (good, when you are talking about the sort of clots that lead to heart attacks and strokes), improves circulation, and reduces oxidative stress. Other benefits, like reduced blood pressure, may also occur but research has conflicting results.

Basically, eating more garlic will likely be good for you heart and circulatory system and unlikely to do any harm. Besides, it tastes good!

Five ways to eat more garlic

1. Boil it with any boiled vegetable or grain. Peel, mash or crush slightly and drop in the pot. When cooked well, it lends an earthy, nutty version of garlic that is particularly complementary to roots.

2. Pound it in a mortar and pestle for salad dressing. The mashed garlic has a bite, but is very nice on bitter or mild greens.

3.  Make Soup!  See the recipe recently posted.

4. Start any savory recipe, from pilaf to stir-fry by sauteing onions (if using) and minced garlic.

5.  Peanut sauce!  A good peanut sauce has minced garlic and ginger in it, and you’ll find that it’s a great dip and sauce for just about anything.