We’re all familiar with garlic and most of us actually love to eat it, though our dates might not feel the same after dinner with it’s less-than-pleasant effects on our breath. However, putting up with this slight inconvenience may actually be one of the best decisions you can make due to the major health benefits of garlic. It’s A Natural Antibacterial Have you ever washed your hands with antibacterial soap and thought about how amazing it would be if we could use the same type of simple procedure to rid the insides of our bodies from germs? With garlic, this might actually be possible. Studies have shown that garlic packs 1% of the potency of penicillin in regular-sized servings and it can therefore be used to ward off such infections as E. coli, salmonella, staph and others before they’ve had a chance to become symptomatic. Talk about a serious immune booster! That garlic and herb marinade you prepared last night may actually be protecting you from the salmonella that was lurking on this morning’s eggs. Related: 5 Ways Prevention Can Be Worth More Than The Cure Lowers Blood Pressure and Prevents Blood Clots Another one of the underrated health benefits of garlic is that it does a great job of lowering blood pressure and preventing blood clots throughout the body. Blood pressure regulation will not occur immediately, however; you may need to use garlic for several weeks before you notice any significant changes. Clinical trials that were published in the Journal of Hypertension showed that volunteers’ blood pressure dropped by as much as 1% to 5% after being treated with supplements and while this may not sound like a huge improvement, even a change of this size can reduce the chances of heart attack and stroke by as much as 40%. Antioxidant Properties A compound found in garlic that is known as allicin produces enzymes within the body called glutathione peroxidase and atalase. These two compounds work as antioxidants, which have long been known to protect against certain types of cancers, fight the aging process and even protect the liver by protecting the lipids—or fats—that comprise it. Foods that contain antioxidants, including garlic, can also improve the immune system function by preventing damage from outside sources. Related: Top 21 Ways To Stay Healthy & Live Longer (Free eBook Download) Tips for Using Garlic In order to enjoy the greatest health benefits of garlic, there are some things you should keep in mind. First, remember that garlic is most powerful when it is crushed or chopped and consumed in its raw form. One clove of garlic per day is a proven way to improve immune system function and two to three cloves per day can even help prevent the common cold. You should use caution when consuming garlic in large amounts as it can bother your digestive system and you should check with your physician before starting any routine garlic therapy as it can interact with certain prescription medications. It is also worth mentioning that bad breath is not a necessary part of enjoying the health benefits of garlic — it is available in commercially-prepared and sold capsules that are just as effective as eating the stuff. However, garlic is mighty tasty, so you may as well tickle your taste buds with this fantastic food that provides phenomenal immune support.