Garlic has made a name for itself by fighting off vampires. Whether or not there is any truth to that legend, garlic contains

Pictured is the garlic plant in full bloom with its delicate white flowers

Garlic Plant in Full Bloom

properties that may provide heart benefits, protection from cancer and defense against viral infection. Known as “the stinking rose” because of positive attributes that come with a pungent odor through the skin and on the breath, garlic has enormous healthful advantages and there are ways to deal with the odor.

First, garlic makes a flavorful addition when chopped and included in pasta meals, vegetable dishes, beef, poultry, fish and other food choices. Its pleasant taste is immediately noticeable and its powerful ingredients apparent. Indeed, if you’ve ever finished off a nice Italian meal that featured garlic rolls or bread, you can sometimes just feel the garlic ooze out of your blood and into the skin. Its strength may explain the powers it has to fight disease.

This strength may help keep blood vessels open. Garlic holds the promise of preventing arterial damage with age to combat hardening of the arteries that leads to heart disease. Garlic may reduce the so-called “bad” cholesterol, known as LDL cholesterol, in the blood that forms plaques in the arteries. It may also improve levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, which cleans the bloodstream of excess cholesterol, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Garlic contains allicin, a compound that may have antiviral properties. People who include garlic in their regular diets often avoid common colds or recover from colds faster than others. Garlic also provides antioxidants that fight free radicals, which cause cell damage to leads to cancer and other diseases. The ingredients in garlic may boost immunity to protect the body.

Because it tastes great and offers wonderful health benefits, how is a person supposed to enjoy garlic while worrying about bad breath or body odor? Fresh parsley may be one remedy that gets rid of the breath. Garlic recipes often include parsley, including garlic butter used to spread on garlic bread. Chewing on cardamom seeds has been known to avoid bad breath from garlic. Gargling or sipping lemon juice is another

Pictured is a partially opened pod of garlic full of medium to large size cloves

Fresh Garlic Pod with Separating Cloves

method. Of course, mouthwash and brushing and flossing your teeth after a meal also help.

Lemon juice may also work when rubbed on your hands to reduce the odor that comes from the skin. Some people preparing garlic in meals wash their hands with soap and water afterwards and rub them along stainless steel faucets or utensils. The sulfur in garlic is believed to rub off on the steel.

Finally… Something That Is Good And Good For You!

Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat, a healthy alternative to saturated fat when preparing or cooking foods. Too much saturated fat can increase cholesterol levels, which contributes to clogging the arteries.

Extra virgin olive oil, the oil that is good and good for you!

Tasty Brands of Olive Oil Readily Available

Monounsaturated fats improve cholesterol levels for better heart health, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Extra-virgin olive oil goes through the least processing to retain the most nutrients. Virgin olive oil is you next best bet over standard olive oils.

Use olive oil instead of butter when cooking eggs or potatoes. Sauté onions in olive oil instead of butter. Add one teaspoon olive oil in place of butter when cooking packaged rice or pasta mixes. Top broiled fish fillets with equal parts olive oil and lemon juice. Sir fry chicken or beef in one tablespoon olive oil and add assorted vegetable slices for a heart-healthy meal.

Here are tasty recipes featuring olive oil:

Honey Roasted Chicken

Serves 4

2 ½ lbs chicken, quartered
3 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs orange juice
2 Tbs honey
1 ¼ tsp paprika

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine olive oil, orange juice, honey and paprika in a small bowl. Brush chicken pieces with mixture. Place chicken in a roasting pan and bake in oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake chicken again. Continue baking and basting for about 30 to 40 minutes until skin is crisp. Serve with rice.

Rice With Lamb

Serves 6

2 lbs lamb
3 medium chopped onions
3 garlic cloves
½ Tbs tomato paste
½ tsp harissa
Salt and pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
3Tbs olive oil
2 cups water
2 cups rice
3 sliced green peppers
1 lb peas, shelled

Chop and arrange lamb in a casserole. Add onion, garlic, tomato paste, harissa, bay leaves, salt, pepper, olive oil and water. Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes. Add rice, peppers and peas and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes.

Macaroni and Bean Soup

Serves 6

½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped onion
2 medium zucchini, sliced
½ cup sliced carrots
1 cup canned whole tomatoes, chopped
1 bay leaf
Black pepper
1 cup canned red kidney beans, drained
¾ cup elbow macaroni
3 minced garlic cloves
½ cup fresh basil leaves
¼ cup olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Place celery, onion, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, bay leaf and black pepper in large soup pot. Add water to cover, bring to a boil and reduce to low heat. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add kidney beans and macaroni. Bring to a boil over heat, reducing to medium and cook another 15 minutes. Blend garlic, basil and olive oil in a blender until smooth. Add mixture to soup and garnish with Parmesan cheese before serving.