GARLIC & YOUR IMMUNE RESPONSE
Flora Says: All medicine is food & all food is medicine.
This is the first in a series about boosting our immune response naturally.
When I was little, my Grandfather used to keep a concoction of mushed up raw garlic & yogurt in the refrigerator. It smelled to high heaven, but he didn’t care. He ate it every day, and he lived to be 94 years old! I’m not saying it was ONLY the garlic & yogurt, but according to current research, garlic can have some serious immune boosting effects…!
FIRST: Get fresh local organic garlic. You can used processed or dried in a pinch, but all sources are finding fresh is best!
SECOND: Start small. Garlic and other organosulfur concentrations can be irritating. If you are getting tummy troubles cut back your consumption.
THIRD: Figure out a way, like my Grandpa did, to get some garlic in your diet every day. If you really hate the flavor and aftereffects of eating fresh garlic (smelling like garlic!), then this is probably not for you 😊
RECIPE: FLORA’S ORGANIC YOGURT with CRUSHED GARLIC
1 Quart Organic Yogurt
1 Whole Clove Organic Garlic – peeled and crushed.
INSTRUCTIONS: Scoop the yogurt into a wide mouthed glass jar. Always use glass & make sure the lid is nice and tight otherwise you whole refrigerator will smell like garlic!
The quickest way to process the fresh garlic is to pull the clove apart and discard the root end. (NOTE: If there is NO root end, do not buy / use that garlic – it’s been imported and is not fresh). Using a large bladed knife, place the garlic pieces on your cutting board and using the flat of the knife, push down hard & crush the garlic. This will not only mash up the garlic quite nicely, it will release the skin, so now you don’t have to peel them! Remove all of the skin and any hard bits. If you are noticing large pieces, crush or cut the garlic up a bit more.
Once you are happy with the size of your garlic mash, scoop it all up and add to your yogurt jar. Mix well, cover tightly and enjoy. Adding a pinch of salt can add to the flavor, but be careful you only use a pinch.
HOW TO USE THIS MAGIC CONCOCTION:
Yogurt & Garlic make a delicious side dish that can be combined with any number of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern meals.
Use instead of sour cream for a creative, delicious and low fat alternative in baking and cooking.
Use as a base for dips, marinades or sauces.
Or, be like Grandpa Nahabed and grab a spoon and have at it!
If you don’t have any yogurt, you can add the crushed garlic to high quality olive oil or avocado oil and add to salads or use to add flavor to your cooking and baking. It’s delicious on toast or added to your morning eggs.
You can always add a little flavor by grating lemon zest into your concoction, or even adding different chopped fresh herbs. Just make sure everything is nice and dry – adding water to your jar can create a microcosm of bad, so just be careful and keep everything really clean.
Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Compounds (Published April 2015)
The benefits of garlic to health have been proclaimed for centuries; however, only recently have Allium sativum and its derivatives been proposed as promising candidates for maintaining the homeostasis of the immune system. The complex biochemistry of garlic makes it possible for variations in processing to yield different preparations with differences in final composition and compound proportion. In this review, we assess the most recent experimental results, which indicate that garlic appears to enhance the functioning of the immune system by stimulating certain cell types, such as macrophages, lymphocytes, natural killer (NK) cells, dendritic cells, and eosinophils, by mechanisms including modulation of cytokine secretion, immunoglobulin production, phagocytosis, and macrophage activation. Finally, because immune dysfunction plays an important role in the development and progress of several diseases, we critically examined immunoregulation by garlic extracts and compounds isolated, which can contribute to the treatment and prevention of pathologies such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disorders, gastric ulcer, and even cancer. We concluded that A. sativum modulates cytokine secretion and that such modulation may provide a mechanism of action for many of their therapeutic effects.
Garlic: An Immunity-Boosting Superstar
For thousands of years, people all over the world have hailed garlic as an elixir of health. Its cloves are said to help treat the common cold, keep the plague at bay, and even ward off vampires. Despite its notorious odor, this veggie is the bulb of a plant in the sweet-smelling lily family. Ancient writings show that garlic was used as an aphrodisiac in India and as currency in Egypt.
Today, at just 4 calories per clove, it’s a low-cal immunity-boosting superstar. One clove contains 5 mg of calcium, 12 mg of potassium, and more than 100 sulfuric compounds — powerful enough to wipe out bacteria and infection (it was used to prevent gangrene in both world wars). Raw garlic, not cooked or dried, is most beneficial for health, since heat and water inactivate sulfur enzymes, which can diminish garlic’s antibiotic effects. In clinical trials, the toxin-fighting staple seems to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and kill parasites in the body.
Aged Garlic Extract Modifies Human Immunity
Garlic contains numerous compounds that have the potential to influence immunity. Immune cells, especially innate immune cells, are responsible for the inflammation necessary to kill pathogens. Two innate lymphocytes, γδ-T and natural killer (NK) cells, appear to be susceptible to diet modification. The purpose of this review was to summarize the influence of aged garlic extract (AGE) on the immune system. The author’s laboratory is interested in AGE’s effects on cell proliferation and activation and inflammation and to learn whether those changes might affect the occurrence and severity of colds and flu. Healthy human participants (n = 120), between 21 and 50 y of age, were recruited for a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel-intervention study to consume 2.56 g AGE/d or placebo supplements for 90 d during the cold and flu season. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated before and after consumption, and γδ-T and NK cell function was assessed by flow cytometry. The effect on cold and flu symptoms was determined by using daily diary records of self-reported illnesses. After 45 d of AGE consumption, γδ-T and NK cells proliferated better and were more activated than cells from the placebo group. After 90 d, although the number of illnesses was not significantly different, the AGE group showed reduced cold and flu severity, with a reduction in the number of symptoms, the number of days participants functioned suboptimally, and the number of work/school days missed. These results suggest that AGE supplementation may enhance immune cell function and may be partly responsible for the reduced severity of colds and flu reported. The results also suggest that the immune system functions well with AGE supplementation, perhaps with less accompanying inflammation. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01390116