Staying Healthy Through the Season- Part 2

Monday, January 13, 2014

Welcome back! Have you been drinking your water this week?  I slacked off majorly on Friday which led to a terrrrrrible dehydration headache. No fun.  Anyway, this week we are talking about one of my favorite cooking ingredients.  It not only adds flavor to food, but can also provide tremendous health benefits during the thick of cold & flu season.

Garlic! Have you ever thought about it in a medicinal sense? I hadn't until I read up a bit on this miracle food and then tried it out myself.

First some facts: garlic is both antibacterial and antiviral, meaning it can help fight off common ailments and perhaps even food poisoning.  It is packed with antioxidants and also acts as an anti-inflammatory.  It is loaded with vitamin B6 and can aid in cancer prevention.  It enhances the level of insulin in the blood and can therefore help regulate blood sugar.  The sulfur-containing compounds present in garlic prevent plaque from building up in the arteries and contribute to a healthy heart.  Garlic has been said to cure athletes foot, headaches, bronchitis, and ringworm.

Now for my personal experience: when we went up north for Christmas I noticed one evening that I was beginning to get a sore throat. We were going wine tasting the next day so it was a terrible time to be getting sick. (When's a good time, really?) So before I went to bed I pressed a clove of garlic and ate it raw.  It tasted terrible and made my stomach burn a bit.  I later learned that you are not supposed to eat it on an empty stomach... whoops! The burning subsided within five minutes and I immediately started burping. I've gotta be honest, it smelled awful! (That's those sulfur-containing compounds I mentioned earlier.) However, I went to bed that night and when I woke up my sore throat was completely gone.  I was sold!  Since then I have eaten a clove of garlic every time I feel a sniffle coming on or whenever I know I am going to be around someone who is ill, and it has come through for me every time.

Interested in giving it a shot?  Here's how. 
(Note: Raw garlic is not recommended for kids and pregnant women. And of course, contact a doctor before making any big changes to your health routine.)
Mince a fresh, medium-sized clove or push through a garlic press.  Let is sit for 15 minutes to maximize the potency of the allium.  Swallow the garlic without chewing, if possible, and wash down with water.  Learn from my mistakes and don't do this on an empty stomach or right before you're going to give your husband a New Year's kiss (never gonna live that one down.)  It takes a couple of hours for the garlic to fully metabolize and you'll have stinky breath until then but it's worth it! 

Have you ever tried using garlic as a health-booster? What was your experience?

Sources: WebMD//NaturalBlaze//India Health//Medical News Today//WH Foods

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