Did you know that right in your kitchen you have a wide variety of immune boosting ingredients?
From homemade apple cider vinegar to homemade yogurt, the food in your kitchen is so much more than breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s an arsenal of weapons ready to fight against the cold and flu season!
Personally, my two favorites are garlic and honey. A seemingly odd combination, but once you hear about the ways these two foods can boost your immune system – and how you can turn potent garlic into somewhat of a tasty treat – I know my two favorites will soon be yours too.
Health Benefits of Garlic
First up, let’s talk about garlic. Not only does it help your body maintain proper blood pressure, improve heart function, and fight fungal infections, but it has been found to boost your immune system and ward off colds and the flu. Goodness! Maybe we should eat more!
As you all may know, garlic is most potent in its raw form. Allicin is the part of garlic that makes it so beneficial, but unfortunately, it’s also the part that makes it taste and smell so strong. The fresher it is, the stronger it will be!
Instead of shying away from the potency of garlic, let’s embrace it and harness its healing power. Growing your own garlic and curing it yourself is an excellent way to preserve the root and retain the most nutrients so that it lasts well beyond its typical shelf life.
I think we can all agree that it’s not very appealing to just pop a clove of garlic in your mouth when you feel a cold coming on, right? Fortunately, it can easily be paired with another health boosting ingredient in your kitchen to make it a bit more appetizing: raw honey.
Health Benefits of Raw Honey
Raw honey is full of enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, and acts as an antioxidant to fight off free radicals. Although some give it a bad rap because it’s a sweetener, it earns its keep from the incredible nutrients packed into just one tiny tablespoon. Plus the balance of those nutrients won’t spike your blood sugar like refined sugars do.
Before I keep going, let me point out a very important key word: raw.
Typical commercial honeys found at the grocery store are refined and far from their original state. They’re first heated, then watered down and finally filtered to remove any remaining traces of pollen. This process also kills the enzymes and makes the resulting honey void of any vitamins or minerals. If you don’t have the nutrients, you aren’t getting any benefit from eating the honey.
Note from Tiffany: Let’s discuss the issue of raw honey vs. pasteurized honey and your grocery budget for just a moment. This post is talking about honey in terms of healing and immune-boosting properties. You won’t get that from pasteurized honey and there’s no way around that. Raw honey also tends to cost more than pasteurized honey, and there’s no way around that either.
However, I believe pasteurized honey is still a fine (and sometimes better) alternative to granulated white sugar for most baking and cooking needs. Of course raw and unpasteurized is always best, whether it’s for cooking or for medicine, but I know that sometimes there just isn’t the funds for that.
One way to strike balance in the grocery budget is to use pasteurized honey for baking and raw honey ONLY for health and medicine purposes. Raw honey ranges anywhere from $6-10 for one pound in my area, and since you’d only be using a tablespoon or two at a time, that one jar will last you a VERY long time when you’re only using a tablespoon or so on each occasion.
With immune-boosting garlic and antioxidant raw honey at our fingertips, let’s combine them to create a super-power of food for medicine!
The best way to combine the healing benefits of both garlic and honey is to infuse raw honey into crushed garlic. Crushing the garlic first allows the natural enzymes to reach their maximum potential. Soaking garlic cloves in honey will make the garlic much more palatable and increase the immune boosting power.
DIY: Immune-Boosting Honey Infused Garlic
- a small jar (these 4 oz glass jars are perfect)
- one head of garlic
- raw honey (if you’re unable to find it locally, I recommend Tropical Traditions or Vitacost)
- large knife
Take your garlic and peel all the papery wrappings off each clove. Take the flat side of a large knife and crush the garlic cloves and let sit for at least fifteen minutes.
Place your garlic into your jar and cover with raw honey. Screw the lid on the jar and let it rest on your counter for 3-5 days. The garlic will absorb some of the sweetness and nutrients from the honey, and the honey will absorb some of the beneficial properties of the garlic. Once it has finished sitting, place in the refrigerator to keep fresh throughout the season.
If you start to feel under the weather this cold and flu season, simply reach for a clove of honey infused garlic. You’ll be getting the awesome benefits of both foods, and believe me, the honey makes eating the raw garlic so much better! I like to just take a spoonful of honey with a clove of garlic and chew it all up together. It tastes good and it’s so good for you!
What foods do you regularly reach to for medicine? Have you tried combining the benefits of honey and garlic?
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