Five health reasons to eat more garlic and an immune-boosting Caesar salad recipe

garlic, recipes, Caesar, salad

Julie Daniluk, R.H.N.

This time of year when the weather goes from mild to cold and back again, you may find you are more susceptible to colds and flu. We may set out with a lighter coat and by evening, the night chill can take a toll on our immune system. Recent research suggests that there may be a connection between getting a chill and the cold virus’s ability to take a hold and cause symptoms to develop.

And this is where garlic comes in. Garlic contains more than 100 biologically-useful chemicals (including alliin, alliinase, allicin, S-allylcysteine, diallyl sulfide and allyl methyl trisulfide), which do everything from lower cholesterol to fight off viruses. Garlic has been shown to protect against the common cold, so next time your co-worker shows up to work when they should stay in bed, try the tasty Caesar salad dressing below with lots of raw garlic to keep you healthy.

Five reasons to put up with garlic breath:

1. Garlic is antiviral and antifungal: Garlic has been used for centuries for its antibacterial and antiviral properties, but did you know that it can also prevent yeast infections? The chemical component of garlic (allicin) has been shown to prevent the growth of the candida albicans fungus in humans.

2. Garlic can reduce cholesterol: The powerful antioxidant properties of garlic prevents free radical damage to the arterial lining and prevents the formation of scar tissue on the arteries. This stops the initiation of plaque build-up. Garlic has also been shown to reduce homocysteine levels in the blood. High levels of homocysteine are directly linked to high cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease.

3. Fight off the cold and flu with garlic: Garlic has the ability to boost your immune system by increasing the rate at which your natural killer cells are made. Natural killer cells are a fundamental part of our non-specific immunity. This means that these cells will kill off all invaders without the specific targeting that antibodies use to kill pathogens.

4. Eat garlic to lower your blood pressure naturally:
Garlic has the ability to decrease platelet aggregation. This means that garlic doesn't let your blood cells stick together, and allows them to move more freely through your system. Consider eating more garlic instead of Aspirin to lower blood pressure and increase circulation.

5. Garlic can regulate blood sugar levels: The exact mechanisms by which this occurs are still under investigation, but consumption of garlic has been shown to have a regulatory effect on the blood sugar levels of type 2 diabetic patients. Combine this with its antioxidant properties and it's the ultimate prevention food.

Immune-boosting Caesar salad

This salad is a great departure from the standard offering of croutons and creamy dressing. The dressing uses the fibre from the celery and the date to create a creamy texture without using dairy - it can be served to anyone with lactose intolerance. The sweetness helps cut the extra raw garlic and balances all the taste buds leaving you healthy and deeply satisfied.

Ingredients

Salad:
1 head Romaine hearts (1 heart = 232 g)
1 head purple endive, leaves separated (1 leaf = 15 g)
1/2 fresh pineapple, diced
10 flax crackers (gluten-free if possible), broken into pieces
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

Caesar dressing:

Makes enough dressing for two to three salads so store leftovers in the fridge and consume quickly.
1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
1 celery stalk, chopped fine
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp wheat-free tamari
3 anchovy fillets
1 date (1 tsp of honey works if dates are unavailable)
1/2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Directions
1. Wash and dry romaine hearts and endive leaves.
2. Chop pineapple and layer on top of the greens. Top with a light dusting of capers, flax crackers and grated hard cheese if desired.
3. Using a blender, whip all the dressing ingredients together.
4. Top the salad with the dressing and enjoy.
Makes two full salad servings.

Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts the Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her soon to be published first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process.

For more amazing recipes visit Chatelaine.com’s recipe section.

More from Chatelaine:

Five surprising and natural ways to fight a cold or flu
Garlic scapes: What they are and five health reasons to eat them
Five reasons to add healthy watercress to your salad
Healthy Recipes: Garlic steamed artichokes with dip
Five plant-based sources of protein and a quinoa-beet veggie burger recipe

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