Forget the flu shot.
This article will explain how to make the soup and why it works!
By John Summerly. Originally published on PreventDisease.com
As we sneeze and cough our way through these dark months of contagious nasties, garlic is being hailed for its powers to halt viruses in their tracks.
It has gained its reputation as a virus buster thanks to one of its chemical constituents, allicin.
The amazing benefits of Allicin
A recent and significant finding from Washington State University shows that garlic is 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics at fighting disease causing bacteria commonly responsible for foodborne illness.
When the garlic is crushed, alliin becomes allicin. Research shows that allicin helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure and also helps prevents blood clots. Garlic can also reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Compounds in this familiar bulb kill many organisms, including bacteria and viruses that cause earaches, flu and colds. Research indicates that garlic is also effective against digestive ailments and diarrhea. What’s more, further studies suggest that this common and familiar herb may help prevent the onset of cancers.
‘This chemical has been known for a long time for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal powers,’ says Helen Bond, a Derbyshire-based consultant dietitian and spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association.
‘Because of this, people assume it is going to boost their immune systems. Lots of people are simply mashing up garlic, mixing it with olive oil and spreading it on bread.
‘But how or whether it may actually work has still not been proven categorically.’
Indeed, scientists remain divided on garlic’s ability to combat colds and flu. Last March, a major investigation by the respected global research organisation, the Cochrane Database, found that increasing your garlic intake during winter can cut the duration of cold symptoms — from five-and-a-half days to four-and-a-half.
But the report, which amalgamated all previous scientific studies on garlic, said it could not draw solid conclusions because there is a lack of large-scale, authoritative research.
The problem is that pharmaceutical companies are not interested in running huge, expensive trials — as they would with promising new drug compounds — because there is nothing in garlic that they can patent, package and sell at a profit.
Garlic as medicine
Nevertheless, garlic has a long and proud tradition as a medicine. The Ancient Egyptians recommended it for 22 ailments. In a papyrus dated 1500BC, the labourers who built the pyramids ate it to increase their stamina and keep them healthy.
The Ancient Greeks advocated garlic for everything from curing infections, and lung and blood disorders to healing insect bites and even treating leprosy.
The Romans fed it to soldiers and sailors to improve their endurance. Dioscorides, the personal physician to Emperor Nero, wrote a five-volume treatise extolling its virtues.
One of the most interesting of the recent findings is that garlic increases the overall antioxidant levels of the body. Scientifically known as Allium sativa, garlic has been famous throughout history for its ability to fight off viruses and bacteria. Louis Pasteur noted in 1858 that bacteria died when they were doused with garlic. From the Middle Ages on, garlic has been used to treat wounds, being ground or sliced and applied directly to wounds to inhibit the spread of infection. The Russians refer to garlic as Russian penicillin.
More recently, researchers have unearthed evidence to show garlic may help us to stay hale and hearty in a number of ways.
Last June, nutrition scientists at the University of Florida found eating garlic can boost the number of T-cells in the bloodstream. These play a vital role in strengthening our immune systems and fighting viruses.
And pharmacologists at the University of California found that allicin — the active ingredient in garlic that contributes to bad breath — is an infection-killer.
Allicin also makes our blood vessels dilate, improving blood flow and helping to tackle cardiovascular problems such as high cholesterol.
An Australian study of 80 patients published last week in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that diets high in garlic may reduce high blood pressure.
In 2007, dentists in Brazil found that gargling with garlic water (made by steeping crushed garlic cloves in warm, but not boiling, water) can kill the germs that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
But they hit a snag: the volunteers refused to continue the experiment, complaining that the garlic gargle made them feel sick. Looking at the garlic soup recipe certainly made me feel queasy. Still, it gave me an excuse to use up my ample supply of garlic.
Though last year’s awful weather caused crop failures on my allotment, I enjoyed a bumper harvest of garlic.
Among its many other virtues, garlic kills slugs and snails. Researchers from the University of Newcastle believe it contains oils that may cripple the nervous systems of these slimy creatures.
Best way to prepare garlic
There are two schools of thought as to the best way of preparing garlic to make the most of its medicinal qualities.
Argentinian investigators found it releases its allicin-type compounds when you bake the cloves, while scientists at South Carolina Medical University believe peeling garlic and letting it sit uncovered for 15 minutes produces the highest levels of compounds to fight infection.
So you can simply peel half of the garlic cloves and roast the other half with the kitchen door tightly closed (to stop the pong permeating throughout the house).
After an hour-and-a-quarter’s industrious soup-making, sprinkle lemon juice over a bowl of steaming, grey gloop andÂ tuck in.
The heady aroma certainly revs up the appetite and the first spoonful does not disappoint. Delicious as it is, however, one large bowl of home-made soup is a more than ample meal.
As for the soup’s cold-preventing powers, only time will tell. Regular bowlfuls may very well keep me free of winter ailments, thanks to the virus-killing compounds they contain.
Or it could just be that my nuclear-strength garlic breath will keep everyone who is infectious far out of sneezing range for months to come.
Garlic Soup Recipe
- 26 organic garlic cloves (unpeeled)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) organic butter (grass fed)
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1/2 cup fresh ginger
- 2 1/4 cups sliced onions
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 26 organic garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 3 1/2 cups organic vegetable broth
- 4 lemon wedges
Preheat oven to 350F. Place 26 garlic cloves in small glass baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and toss to coat. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake until garlic is golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes. Cool. Squeeze garlic between fingertips to release cloves. Transfer cloves to small bowl.
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, thyme, ginger and cayenne powder and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add roasted garlic and 26 raw garlic cloves and cook 3 minutes. Add vegetable broth; cover and simmer until garlic is very tender, about 20 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan; add coconut milk and bring to simmer. Season with sea salt and pepper for flavour.
Squeeze juice of 1 lemon wedge into each bowl and serve.
Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
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d) Hip Flexors
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Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?
For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.
Fluffy biscuits, crusty baguettes, flaky croissants… even a simple slice of toast topped with melted butter can taste like heaven.
And that smell… few scents are quite as pleasant as fresh bread baking in the oven.
But there is a lot of confusion as to where bread fits into a healthy diet.
The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”
Of course, there are some who disagree…
Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”
And for a poison, we sure eat lots of it…
The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”
So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?
- Is it the perfect poison… or an essential daily food?
- Is “gluten-free” bread better for you than regular bread?
- And can you still eat bread… while maintaining a lean body and optimal health?
The answers to these questions may surprise you!
Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!
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Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.