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8 Benefits of Garlic That Will Surprise You (+Healthy Recipes)

8 Benefits of Garlic That Will Surprise You (+Healthy Recipes)

Garlic, lovingly known as stinking rose, is a very popular ingredient in Latino-American, Mediterranean, Asian, African and European cuisines. Cousin of onions and leeks, it has been part of humanity’s lives for over 7,000+ years, being used for both medicinal and culinary purposes. What is know about garlic, aside the fact it is a very efficient repellent of vampires, is that it is as helpful as it is delicious. Allium sativum, scientific name of garlic, has several benefits which are to be taken into consideration next time you go grocery shopping.

Health benefits of garlic:

1. It is highly nutritious

Garlic contains nutrients such as:

  • Manganese: 23% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B6: 17% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin C: 15% of the RDA.
  • Selenium: 6% of the RDA.
  • Fiber: 1 gram.
  • Decent amounts of Calcium, Copper, Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron and Vitamin B1.

And most importantly, garlic has very low calories.

2. It can combat common cold

To include garlic, or even supplementation, can even help to prevent illnesses like flu and common cold by strengthening the immune system. If you prefer to try this, then mince a clove of garlic and added to your tea next time you get a cold. Add a few drops of honey or lemon if the garlic alone is too strong for you and take notes on how your body responds.

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3. It can reduce blood pressure

Studies have proved that including a high dose of garlic, or -again- supplementation, helps improved the high blood levels (hypertension). The recommended amount would be about four cloves a day.

4. It reduces cholesterol levels and the risk of heart diseases

The supplementation seems to have a positive reaction in reducing total and LDL cholesterol. However, a valid point to include here, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides do not seem affected by garlic’s properties.

5. It helps fight Alzheimer’s and dementia…

…by protecting brain cell’s damage and aging with the antioxidants it contains.

6. It may help you live longer

Effects on longevity are basically impossible to measure in humans but if garlic helps lower blood pressure, protects the heart and brain from sickness and damage, along with strengthening the immune system and the overall body with different vitamins and minerals, it would make sense to say that it helps you live a little longer, right?

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7. It improves your performance in sports

Back in Rome and Greece, garlic was given to both athletes and soldiers to enhance productivity. Egyptians would also give it to enhance productivity and performance, but to their labourers instead. Recent studies have shown this is true, but it is more noticeable in performers with heart diseases.

8. It helps detoxify the body

Sulfur compounds in high quantities of garlic have shown signs of protecting organs against heavy metal toxicity. And it even helped reduced symptoms like high blood pressure and headaches.

In conclusion, garlic is one of those things most homes should have at least in small quantities, but of course not even this magical plant is perfect. It is not recommended to be eaten in very large quantities, as it can give bad breath (two words: garlic bread) and it can also affect your body odor. And please, also keep in mind some people can show signs of allergies, such as diarrhoea, rash (which can ironically be treated with garlic), fever, headaches and digestive track irritation. So the important thing here is to pay close attention to your body and act accordingly.

Here are some recipes, for those interested in adding some spice to their lives at the expense of this delicious plant. Happy cooking!

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Old-school garlic bread

garlic-bread

    Sautéed Swiss chard with garlic and lemon

    sauteed-swiss-chard-with-garlic-and-lemon-940x560

      *recipe that works well with kale and also spinach

      Garlic shrimp with chiles de árbol

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      garlic-shrimp-with-chiles-de-arbol-940x560

        Roasted sweet potatoes with garlic and chile

        SWEET-POTATOES-940x560

          Green garlic and pea soup with whipped cream

          green-garlic-and-pea-soup-with-whipped-cream-940x560

            Bonus: the truth is garlic is so versatile you can add it to basically anything and, most the time, it’ll cause some improvement. My kitchen style is yet very young but my amateur recommendation is to shred a garlic head until you have a paste and then add that to different things until you find what you like best. Works great with chicken, salmon, pastas, salads and in case your store-bought (spinach or red-salsa) dip is a bit too bland for your taste, just add a few spoonfuls and mix well. The paste can be put on the fridge on a covered container and since garlic itself has a very long shelf life (whole 3-6 months, cloves 1-2 months), the paste can last you up to three months.

            Featured photo credit: spicyPXL via shutterstock.com

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            Milady Diaz Cabello

            hobbyist writer

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            Last Updated on December 9, 2019

            5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

            5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

            Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

            Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

            Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

            1. Get Rationally Optimistic

            Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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            This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

            In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

            The result: no more mental stress.

            2. Unplug

            Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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            How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

            It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

            Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

            3. Easy on the Caffeine

            Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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            Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

            4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

            That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

            How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

            • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
            • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
            • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

            While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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            5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

            This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

            The result: mental stress will be gone!

            So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

            More to Help You Feel Relaxed

            Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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