One potential health benefit from garlic might be obtained by chopping or crushing it and letting it sit before heating it along with other recipe ingredients. Chopping will activate alliinase enzymes in some of the cells, and sitting will allow those enzymes to convert some of the garlic’s allin into allicin. Both alliin and allicin are sulfur-compounds and while both provide health benefits, the health benefits of allicin are especially well-documented in research studies.
It might also: Provide cardiovascular benefits. Garlic contains more than 70 active phytochemicals, including allicin, which many studies have shown decreases high blood pressure by as much as 30 points. Garlic may help prevent strokes as well by slowing arterial blockages, according to a yearlong clinical study at UCLA. In addition, patients’ levels of homocysteine, a chemical that leads to plaque buildup, dropped by 12%.
Maximize the benefits: Crushed fresh garlic offers the best cardiovascular and cancer-fighting benefits, says Duke. But you’ll need to down up to five cloves each day.Try Kyolic aged garlic extract capsules (1,000 mg), the product used in many of the studies.