Need another incentive to eat garlic? Well, how about this: New research shows garlic is one of the healthiest foods you can consume.

Garlic has a variety of potent sulphur-containing compounds, which is the reason behind its characteristic pungent odor. Allicin, the vital compound among them, is known to have great antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antioxidant properties. Allicin’s benefits are most available when it’s finely chopped, minced, or pureed, then allowed to sit for some time.

Garlic is a reliable source of selenium as well. And allicin, along with other compounds (ajoene, alliin, etc.), found in garlic, also has an effect on the body’s circulatory, digestive, and immunological systems, helping to lower blood pressure, detoxify, heal, etc.

Some aficionados may opt for taking garlic capsules, which is easier than consuming masses of garlic cloves. Another interesting finding about capsules is that they may help you achieve better muscle pumps in the gym, through enhanced nitric oxide production.

For 24 weeks, more than 200 subjects with high blood pressure were asked to consume garlic (300, 600, 900, 1,200, or 1,500 mg), atenolol, or a placebo daily, with researchers monitoring diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Result: By week 24, blood pressure had significantly improved with garlic use. Garlic brought improvements in both a dose-and duration-dependent manner, and even in ways comparable to drug use.

How garlic influences blood pressure is unclear, but researchers speculate it has to do with garlic’s ability to produce hydrogen sulphide; its high allicin content; or its influence on nitric oxide production. – FLEX