A recent review of the latest studies evaluating garlic’s beneficial effects on blood pressure provided some real artery-opening results. After combining the data from 11 separate clinical trials, researchers found that garlic indeed packs an impressive blood pressure – lowering punch. For folks in the studies that had high blood pressure, the garlic reduced the top (systolic) and bottom (diastolic) numbers by a whopping 8.4 and 7.3 mm Hg respectively (BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, Online, 6-16-08). These results are similar or even better than what we observe with standard doses of high blood pressure medications!
The average garlic dose used in the studies was equivalent to ½ to 1 clove. Because high blood pressure is the single greatest contributor to upping your risks if having a heart attack, I would recommend that you get into the habit of kicking up both the flavor and heart-healthfulness of your meals by using fresh garlic regularly. For best results, chop or mince, let sit for 5-10 minutes and then add to your dishes at the end of cooking. (Heat can reduce the effectiveness of its active ingredients.)