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Before there were fancy marinades, medicines and appetite suppressants, there were herbs. But don't start chomping on various bushes and weeds just yet! Take a look at these nutritious -- and delicious -- au natural ways of getting them in your system...   

How many herbs can help lower blood pressure, aid in cancer prevention, AND keep away vampires? An apple a day may not keep the doctor away, but a clove of garlic just might. Besides raising helpful good cholesterols and lowering evil ones, this "stinking rose" also acts as an antibiotic and anti-cancer agent. And like most herbs, it's bursting with vitamins and minerals -- manganese, calcium, iron, vitamins B1, B6 and C... the list goes on and on. And on. Garlic's even been shown to help prevent weight gain!

Get Your Garlic On!

To maximize garlic's benefits, lightly crush the cloves, and let 'em sit at room temperature for a few. Then, the possibilities of what to do with this herb are as endless as its benefits...

* Zazzle up low-cal salad dressing by dropping a crushed clove or two inside the bottle.

* Spice up that low-fat soup, sauce, or stir-fry with a bit of your fragrant friend.

* Stir up some of HG's Crazy-Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip, which calls for a couple of cloves.

* Bake a clove in the oven, and then smear its contents over your favorite 100-calorie pack of crackers!

Parsley is more than a pretty face. Studies suggest that parsley could actually prevent tumors from forming. The herb also acts as a "chemoprotective" food -- that means it can help counteract the effects of secondhand smoke and everyday pollution. It's also high in antioxidants and vitamins A, C, K and B9 (B9 = folate = good for your heart).

Playing with Parsley...

Other than simply sprinkling it on foods to add a little zip and using it as a pretty green garnish, here are a few other parsley tips...

* Like garlic, parsley's perfect for stirring into soups and tomato sauces.

* Parsley + Fish = Delish!

* Flavor your Egg Beaters with the stuff BEFORE you cook 'em for a super-tasty scramble!

As long as you're not just gobbling down Peppermint Patties, mint can do a whole lot more for you than simply make your toothpaste taste good. It can sooth an upset stomach, clear your nose (asthma and colds), and fight nausea. It's also chock-full of manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin A. But that's not enough for this after-dinner staple. It's a cancer-fighter, bravely defending your skin, colon, and lungs. For an extra bonus, plant it around your place -- ants hate it as much as we hate having them in our homes (this is a good tip, people!).

Minty Fresh Ideas...

Spit out that toothpaste (after you brush, of course)! We've got some better ideas for how to get your peppermint fix... 

* Drink your mouthwash. Kidding! Spit that out, too. Instead, sip sweet peppermint by enjoying some of the many tasty teas out there made with the stuff.

* Use pepp extract to enhance your beverages. Why not make an iced version of our White Hot Mint Mocha Cocoa?

* Peppermint and tomatoes are BFFs that taste GREAT together. Pop some peppermint leaves into your favorite tomato-based soup (ours is Amy's Chunky Tomato Bisque!) or toss some on to low-fat pizza.

Dill weed may sound like an insult, but this herb is an all-star in the spice rack. It's an antibacterial spice, and it keeps your bones strong (thank you, calcium!). Dill also serves up plenty of iron and even fiber. And just like its pal parsley, dill helps neutralize smoke damage in the body.

Dill 'Er Up...

Both the seeds and leaves of dill are used for seasoning food. Go for fresh dill if you can get your paws on some -- then your dishes will not only taste good, but they'll also smell amazing. 

* One of dill's best roles is as special guest star in creamy potato salad. But since that mayo-laden stuff can be super-fatty, whip up HG's I Can't Believe It's Not Potato Salad! instead. 

* Bring boring fat-free ranch dressing to a whole new level by stuffing some dill in the bottle. It's also good mixed with some fat-free plain yogurt for a super-delicious dip. Mmmm! 

* Add dill to salads, slaws, and grilled or steamed salmon. Or add some to canned salmon with a little Miracle Whip Free for a tangy, tasty alternative to tuna salad.
HG Thanks! A giant gracias goes out to our pal George Mateljan and his super-fantastic book, The World's Healthiest Foods. That info-packed food bible is full of facts on nutritional powerhouses like many of the ones featured in today's email!
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*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe, or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints® trademark.

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