Wellness Encyclopedia: Benefits of Garlic

Wellness Encyclopedia: Benefits of Garlic

Our first line of defense for fending off colds and flu…

It’s officially cold season. At least in my house. Yes, it’s early… not even officially fall yet, but while it may occasionally still feel like summer outside, the weather has that noticeable bite in the air and more and more friends are reporting coming down with something. Cold, flu, what-have-you, whatever it is, I don’t want it, so I’ve been filling up on immunity boosters like ginger, lemon, raw honey, and tons of fresh garlic. The latter may have more of a reputation for making your breath a special kind of pungent, but when seasonal illnesses are making the rounds, a clove or two of garlic should be our first line of defense for fending off colds and flu. Used for centuries to stave off viruses, garlic is prized for its antibacterial and antiviral properties that could potentially improve immunity and shorten sick time. Read on to learn why you should be stocking a few heads of garlic in your pantry all year round, and learn how to make an immunity-supporting garlic tea:

What is garlic?

Native to Central Asia and in the same genus as onions (Allium), garlic has been used for thousands of years as both a seasoning and herbal remedy in traditional medicine. Garlic’s scientific name is Allium sativum and the plant is characterized by its white bulb, which grows underground; purple pom pom flowers; and curly scapes, which can also be harvested and eaten (and should be harvested and eaten — they’re delicious). While garlic plays a role as a key seasoning all year ‘round, it’s especially valuable come autumn and winter, when temperatures and immunity are low. Similar to root vegetables, the garlic bulb is where all the plant’s energy is stored, making it an ideal addition to your cold-weather nutrition and wellness arsenal.

What are the benefits of garlic?

Besides adding a spicy, pungent aroma and flavor to all variety of culinary exploits, garlic has been used for thousands of years to treat everything from cold and flu, to acne, to yeast infections. Prized for its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties largely thanks to allicin, the sulphur compound found in garlic, which could help the body detoxify from heavy metals, prevent acne, support immunity, and could prevent oxidative damage to cells. Studied since the ‘40s for its ability to fight disease and bacterial infection, allicin is responsible for garlic’s pungent smell. The allicin found in garlic is a cold-season must-have, and can be consumed as either an over-the-counter supplement or fresh in the form of whole garlic added to teas, soups, and broths. While supplements are a good second defense when fresh garlic isn’t available, fresh garlic is always the way to go for flavor and effectiveness.

How do I use garlic?

My favorite way to use garlic is fresh, tossed into all manner of soups, stews, sauces, sautes, stirfrys, salads… pretty much any- and everything that could use a savory boost. Fresh cloves are always strongest, with the most potent amounts of allicin, but when in a pinch, pre-chopped garlic can be used for flavor. However, there are plenty of ways to harness the power of garlic specifically for cold season. Try pressing several cloves and adding to a simple broth, or making the tea below for when your immunity needs a little (or a lot) of extra support:

Garlic Immunity Tea

[serves 1]

Ingredients

1-2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and sliced into pieces

Juice from ½ lemon

Small chunk fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

Raw honey, to taste but generous

8-10 oz filtered water

Method

Place the garlic, ginger and water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Strain into a mug and add lemon juice and honey.

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Wellness Wednesday: The Coconut Cure-All

Wellness Wednesday: The Coconut Cure-All

If you haven’t yet adopted at least one of these five tropical quick-fixes, consider embracing the benefits of coconut ASAP…

If you could only live off of one ingredient, coconut would make for a quality choice. The superfruit is packed with natural fats and nutrients that deeply nourish you from the inside out. Still, if you’re like me, you might be new to experimenting with this food-grade beauty find. Can you really slather it on your toast in the morning AND the tips of your hair? I’ll admit that concept took me a minute to get used to. But after cracking into a jar of Kiki Health’s Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil, I’ve become a coconut convert. For the newbies out there, here are 5 fun ways to embrace this tropical wonder.

Mix it into your smoothies.

Add a tablespoon to your go-to recipes — it’s especially great alongside slightly bitter-ish greens like spinach and alfalfa. And thanks to its high concentration of antibacterial, anti-viral lauric acid, coconut helps support your immune system. Cheers to that.

Swap it for butter.

One of the amazing things about coconut oil it how it can change states, morphing from a liquid to a creamy salve, depending on the temperature at which you store it. If you put it in the fridge, coconut oil hardens into a butter-like consistency, which makes it ideal for spreading on everything from toast to bagels.

Blend it into your coffee.

Brew your favorite cup and while it’s still hot, put in the blender along with a tablespoon of coconut oil. Combine and you’ll end up with a delicious frothy concoction that you’ll want every morning for a bit of long-lasting energy.

Drizzle it on popcorn.

Turn regular popcorn into a gourmet experience — just pour a tiny bit of melted coconut oil into a just-popped bag, shake and voila: movie popcorn like you’ve never tasted it before.

Let it cool down your skin.

After a long day at the beach or an intense workout, store your coconut oil in the fridge and scoop out a little bit to spread over your limbs. You’ll instantly rehydrate your skin and bring down your body temperature. Plus, the subtle scent doubles as your perfume.

What else makes coconut so amazing? Here’s a quick recap of its wellness benefits:

Supports immune system 

Deeply hydrates skin and hair 

Boosts energy

Promotes digestive health 

Increases nutrient absorption 

Maintains a healthy heart 

 

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