Garlic: 4 reasons why garlic should be included in your diet this winter

Garlic: 4 reasons why garlic should be included in your diet this winter

There is a reason why our grandmothers insisted on making us chew garlic. Although it can leave an unpleasant aftertaste if eaten raw, this herb has many miraculous properties. It can make even the most delicious soups taste. The ingredient that makes regular chicken broth taste so salty and makes you thirsty for more? It is this little bulbous plant that works its magic. We’re sure that each of the “Mother’s Chicken Soup” we swear by, had a generous helping of garlic!

Aside from adding flavor to your dishes, garlic is also useful for warding off many health issues. This cooking is also a must during winter when we are most susceptible to flu, cough and cold. Garlic is known to be a powerhouse of immune-boosting nutrients like arginine, oligosaccharides, selenium, and flavonoids. Here’s why you need to include more garlic in your diet this winter:

Garlic can help your cells survive the onslaught of viruses

Eating garlic can increase the number of virus-fighting T cells in the bloodstream. A study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Florida found that people who consumed garlic showed fewer symptoms of colds and flu than those who did not consume garlic. Garlic is said to contain allicin, which when ingested turns into sulfur-containing compounds that strengthen white blood cells against viruses.

It can keep stress at bay

Did you know that the more stressed you are, the more likely you are to cough and cold? A study conducted by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University found that stress levels have a direct relationship to the body’s ability to fight disease. Garlic can help the adrenal glands produce fewer stress hormones. This helps you fight off immune-related diseases and stay active.

May improve heart health

No matter your age, heart disease is one of the worst health concerns.. but with the right diet and lifestyle, you may be able to reduce your chances of having one. A 2002 study found that garlic may be a great ingredient for keeping your heart healthy. Red blood cells convert the sulfur in garlic into hydrogen sulfide gas. This dilates the blood vessels and prevents high blood pressure levels. Furthermore, allicin (an enzyme found in garlic) is believed to reduce triglyceride levels in the blood. This may improve cardiovascular health.

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How to maximize the health benefits of garlic?

Garlic has many health benefits. But it will be more effective under certain conditions. According to the researchers, the alliinase enzyme that converts alliin to the beneficial allicin only works under certain conditions. It can also be inactivated by heat. One study found that excessive heating of garlic in the microwave can inactivate allinase. Other research found that crushing garlic and leaving it for 10 minutes before cooking it may preserve many of its medicinal properties.

Here are some ways to make garlic work for you:

  • Crush the garlic or cut it into slices before eating it. This way you will absorb more allicin.
  • Before you cook the garlic, let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Increase your garlic intake.
  • Try to eat a raw garlic clove once a day. Allicin works best when it is introduced directly into your body. However, raw garlic may lead to bad breath, so be sure to brush your teeth well afterward!

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