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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 13, 2018

            12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

            12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

            Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of people not only tend to ruin their usual diets, but they also gain a few extra pounds. Based on studies, the majority of people tend to gain additional weight during the holiday season that starts at the Thanksgiving Day and ends with the New Year celebrations. Excessive eating is claimed to be the main cause for the additional weight gain, but it is also due to lack of physical activity and exercise.

            A lot of individuals out there tend to set aside their fitness routines during the holidays since they believe that they do not have enough time to perform their workouts. And because they feel guilty after the holiday season, most of the gyms and fitness centers are packed with fresh members. Always bear in mind that you can still enjoy the holidays and stay fit at the same time. If you want to stay fit during the holiday season, especially during Christmas and the New Year’s Eve, here are some useful tips that might help you:

            1. Eat Before Heading Out

            First, it is best that you eat something before heading out to visits, trips or family dinners. By doing so, you will no longer be tempted to eat a lot or overindulge yourself since you have already eaten. Skipping on meals is not a good idea either, because you will only be forced to eat more later.

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            2. Select The Treats

            Make sure to select the treats that you eat in a wise manner. You should choose something that you can only enjoy during the holiday season and not something that is readily available all the time.

            3. Avoid Skipping Meals

            Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Even though it can be tempting to skip on certain meals, believing that it will make up for the treats you consumed in the previous day, don’t do it because it will only lead to counterproductive results.

            4. Drink With Moderation

            It is best to regulate your drinking since alcohol, coke or other juices will only add more calories to the ones you already eaten!

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            5. Be Active

            You should still perform your fitness routine whenever possible and if you can’t do that, simply walk more, park your car some distance away from the store or just use the stairs!

            6. Get Out Of The House

            Make the holidays a family affair and plan outdoor activities where everyone is involved. Even a snowball fight in the backyard will burn a lot of calories and will keep the children entertained.

            7. Don’t Skip Your Strength Workouts

            Always remember to perform your strength training in order to maintain that muscle mass you worked hard to get. You might be tempted to use lightweights and just do some cardio, but you can burn just as many calories by lifting weights. And with all of those extra stakes you had on the holiday meals, you might even gain some extra muscle. And this is much better than gaining some extra fat.

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            8. Set Realistic Goals

            You should set realistic exercise objectives. Aim for at least half an hour per day and you will be very happy when you will achieve that. If you plan one hour or more and not achieve it, you will only end up disappointed.

            9. Enjoy Yourself

            Also make sure to set realistic diet plans! Trying to restrain yourself totally from some foods will only make you eat more. Feel free to enjoy the treats that you really love, but in small portions.

            10. Drink A Lot Of Water

            This can satiate your appetite as well as keep you hydrated at all times. And it will also prevent a possible hangover if you overdo it with alcohol.

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            11. Eat Less And More Often

            Distribute your meals evenly throughout the day, and do not eat everything at once.  Instead of having 2 enormous meals, have 5 small ones.  Eat your dinner earlier and have a nice walk before going to bed.

            12. Prioritize Your Workouts

            Try to do them early in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. This way you will also avoid remarks like “Oh, come on! It’s Christmas…”

            So there you go! Twelve simple tips that will help you avoid gaining weight during the winter holidays, but will also allow you to enjoy yourself and have a great time with your loved ones.

            Happy Holidays everyone!

            Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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