There Are Several Hidden Health and Beauty Benefits of Garlic…
Garlic is found as an ingredient in many sauces and other foods because of the oils it contains that are used for flavor but it’s a versatile plant. Did you know that there are also several different health and beauty benefits of garlic?
Garlic is an Allium – a group of plants that includes onions, shallots, and leeks. Allicin, the main compound in garlic, has potent medicinal properties. It has been used throughout history by all major civilizations for its healing properties, including Egyptians, Bablylonians, Greeks, Romans and Chinese.
Allium and other compounds contained in garlic have been proven to reduce blood pressure. One study found that garlic supplements equaling about 4 cloves a day were just as effective as the drug atenolol in reducing blood pressure in study subjects.
Garlic is also great for Spring detoxifying and health-rebooting efforts. At high doses the sulfur compounds in garlic have been shown to protect against organ damage from heavy metal toxicity. One example of this is a recent 4 week study of employees at a car battery plant, where there was excessive exposure to lead. The study found that garlic reduced lead levels in the workers blood by 19%. It also reduced many clinical signs of toxicity, including headaches and high blood pressure.
Another benefit of the plant is that it can be used preventatively for fighting a cold by boosting the functions of the immune system. Three doses of garlic each day even outperformed the drug D-penicillamine in symptom reduction. Garlic may also improve bone health, by minimizing bone loss through increasing estrogen in women and has also been shown to have beneficial effects on osteoarthritis.
The minimum effective dose for therapeutic effects is 2 -3 cloves (or supplement equivalent) every day but it doesn’t have to be taken in the standard medicinal herb sense. It can be added to soups, salad dressings, main dishes of all kinds, and at every meal from breakfast to dinner. However you decide to use it – make sure that you are taking advantage of the many natural health and beauty benefits of garlic!
Here are my two favorite recipes that feature garlic. Feel free to add even more garlic than is called for, if you really want to up the flavor quotient!
Garlic Cauliflower Mash
- 1 head of cauliflower (florets)
- 4 – 6 cloves of roasted garlic
- 1 t. olive oil
- 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese (or other hard, aromatic cheese)
- 1 T. milk substitute (soy, almond, or rice)
- 1/2 t. course or flaky sea salt (like Maldon)
- 1/8 t. freshly ground pepper
- Prepare roasted garlic by cutting off the end of a bulb of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil, wrap in a foil packet and roast at 350 for 30 minutes, or until garlic is soft and spreadable.
- Meanwhile, steam cauliflower until tender, roughly 10 minutes.
- Once the garlic and cauliflower are ready place half the cauliflower into the food processor and blend on high until smooth. Add remaining cauliflower florets, roasted garlic, Parmesan cheese, milk product, a pinch of the salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.
- Garnish with fresh chives and the rest of the salt flakes.
Edamame Dip with Garlic and Smoked Paprika
- 2 packages (9 oz. each) frozen edamame, steamed and shelled
- 2 – 4 cloves roasted garlic, minced (see method above for roasting garlic)
- ¾ tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp water (possibly more)
- Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or a blender.
- Pulse until fairly smooth, leaving a few small chunks of edamame, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- If the mixture is too thick while pulsing, add extra water by the teaspoonful.
- Serve with raw vegetables, such as red bell peppers and jicama, spread on toast or bread, crackers or bagels.
Garlic Beauty Treatments
Acne, Pimples and Spot Treatment
The allicin in garlic has anti-fungal properties which can be used to get rid of stubborn acne.
a. Cut and peel a fresh piece of raw garlic and apply a little pressure on it to release some juice and then rub this garlic pod onto the affected area. Leave it for 5 minutes and was off with cold water. You’ll see a reduction in redness and swelling within the day.
b. Another simple technique to get rid of acne using garlic is mixing juice from 2-3 pods of garlic with equal quantity of white vinegar and applying it to the affected area. The white vinegar helps in maintaining the skin’s pH levels while garlic fights infection. Dab mixture onto affected areas with a cottonball.
Cut open a raw clove of garlic and apply it directly to the sore. It will sting for a moment, but it will help in healing the sore in no time and will also make sure that it does not get infected.
The strong anti-oxidants present in garlic help in reducing the free radical build up in the skin thus keeping it firm and youthful. It also contains sulphur, which helps the body to produce collagen which in turn helps in fighting wrinkles. Garlic also contains a large number of skin-protective polyphenols. Just crush some garlic pods and add the juice into your regular face masks for added goodness and preventing premature aging.