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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 March 25, 2020

            How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

            How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

            When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

            So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

            1. Exercise

            It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

            2. Drink in Moderation

            I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

            3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

            Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

            4. Watch Less Television

            A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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            Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

            5. Eat Less Red Meat

            Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

            If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

            6. Don’t Smoke

            This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

            7. Socialize

            Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

            8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

            Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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            9. Be Optimistic

            Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

            10. Own a Pet

            Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

            11. Drink Coffee

            Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

            12. Eat Less

            Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

            13. Meditate

            Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

            Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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            How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

            14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

            Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

            15. Laugh Often

            Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

            16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

            Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

            17. Cook Your Own Food

            When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

            Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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            18. Eat Mushrooms

            Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

            19. Floss

            Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

            20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

            Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

            Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

            21. Have Sex

            Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

            More Health Tips

            Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

            Reference

            [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
            [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
            [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
            [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
            [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
            [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
            [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
            [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
            [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
            [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
            [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
            [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
            [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
            [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
            [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
            [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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