We all know garlic is tasty, but it also has amazing health benefits. Many studies have shown that the allicin in garlic is healthy in many ways. Garlic is packed with vitamins; it can also limit cholesterol, boost immunity, improve bone health, and reduce the risk of heart disease. The more you cook garlic, the more it loses allicin levels, so eating it raw or stir-fried lightly for a minute will have the most beneficial effects.

If you haven’t started incorporating garlic into your diet, here are some easy ways to get started.

A Good Garlic Bulb

Look for unblemished bulbs that are firm and dry; bulbs should never feel hollow or soft. If the bulb is firm and heavy, it will be flavorful. Farmer’s markets will have the freshest local garlic that hasn’t traveled far. Late summer and early fall is a great time to find fresh garlic!

Add Garlic To Your Diet

Soup: Garlic can be added to almost any type of soup. Toss chopped garlic in your homemade soup to simmer the last 10 minutes. You can also add garlic to a can of chicken noodle soup from the store. If you are adding it at the last minute, sauté it in olive oil for 1-2 minutes first to soften it and take away some of the potency. Making French onion soup or beef soup? Garlic goes great in those, too!

Stir-Fry: Cooking Chinese food at home? Whether you’re stir frying peppers, broccoli, onions, or bok choy, toss in a few chopped cloves of garlic for a rich, robust flavor.

Garlic Bread: Homemade is better than store bought and great with soup or stew. Slice a loaf of Italian bread, then generously butter (or mix butter with olive oil) the bread. Coat bread with freshly chopped garlic and bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes.

Roasted Potatoes: Adding onion and garlic enhances the potatoes’ mellow flavor and provides a bold, rich flavor. Garlic mashed potatoes are another delicious way to incorporate garlic into your foods.

Chicken and Fish:  When cooking chicken or fish in a pan or in the oven, garlic can be added in the last few minutes. Don’t overcook it to keep the health benefits and the flavor intact.

Roast Garlic Whole: Did you know you can roast garlic? This is wonderful way to eat elephant garlic. Rub olive oil into the garlic, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and wrap in foil. Roast for about 30-40 minutes at 375-400 degrees, until soft and tender.

What are your favorite garlic recipes?