This Garlic Soup Recipe Can Defeat Colds, Flu and Even Norovirus.


Forget the flu shot. A soup based on more than 50 cloves of garlic, onions, thyme and lemon will destroy almost any virus that enters its path including colds, flu and even norovirus.

As we sneeze and cough our way through these dark months of contagious nasties, garlic is being hailed for its powers to halt viruses in their tracks.

It has gained its reputation as a virus buster thanks to one of its chemical constituents, allicin.

A recent and significant finding from Washington State University shows that garlic is 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics at fighting disease causing bacteria commonly responsible for foodborne illness.

When the garlic is crushed, alliin becomes allicin. Research shows that allicin helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure and also helps prevents blood clots. Garlic can also reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Compounds in this familiar bulb kill many organisms, including bacteria and viruses that cause earaches, flu and colds. Research indicates that garlic is also effective against digestive ailments and diarrhea. What’s more, further studies suggest that this common and familiar herb may help prevent the onset of cancers.

‘This chemical has been known for a long time for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal powers,’ says Helen Bond, a Derbyshire-based consultant dietitian and spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association.

‘Because of this, people assume it is going to boost their immune systems. Lots of people are simply mashing up garlic, mixing it with olive oil and spreading it on bread.

‘But how or whether it may actually work has still not been proven categorically.’

Indeed, scientists remain divided on garlic’s ability to combat colds and flu. Last March, a major investigation by the respected global research organization, the Cochrane Database, found that increasing your garlic intake during winter can cut the duration of cold symptoms — from five-and-a-half days to four-and-a-half.

But the report, which amalgamated all previous scientific studies on garlic, said it could not draw solid conclusions because there is a lack of large-scale, authoritative research.

The problem is that pharmaceutical companies are not interested in running huge, expensive trials — as they would with promising new drug compounds — because there is nothing in garlic that they can patent, package and sell at a profit.

Modified Garlic Soup Recipe
Serves 4
26 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) organic butter (grass fed)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 cup fresh ginger
2 1/4 cups sliced onions
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
26 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup coconut milk
3 1/2 cups organic vegetable broth
4 lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 350F. Place 26 garlic cloves in small glass baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and toss to coat. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake until garlic is golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes. Cool. Squeeze garlic between fingertips to release cloves. Transfer cloves to small bowl.

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, thyme, ginger and cayenne powder and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add roasted garlic and 26 raw garlic cloves and cook 3 minutes. Add vegetable broth; cover and simmer until garlic is very tender, about 20 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan; add coconut milk and bring to simmer. Season with sea salt and pepper for flavor.

Squeeze juice of 1 lemon wedge into each bowl and serve.

garlic_cloves3efCan be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

If garlic were found to be a wonder drug, consumers could simply buy it in the supermarket for 30p a bulb or grow their own in the garden.

Nevertheless, garlic has a long and proud tradition as a medicine. The Ancient Egyptians recommended it for 22 ailments. In a papyrus dated 1500BC, the laborers who built the pyramids ate it to increase their stamina and keep them healthy.

The Ancient Greeks advocated garlic for everything from curing infections, and lung and blood disorders to healing insect bites and even treating leprosy.

The Romans fed it to soldiers and sailors to improve their endurance. Dioscorides, the personal physician to Emperor Nero, wrote a five-volume treatise extolling its virtues.

One of the most interesting of the recent findings is that garlic increases the overall antioxidant levels of the body. Scientifically known as Allium sativa, garlic has been famous throughout history for its ability to fight off viruses and bacteria. Louis Pasteur noted in 1858 that bacteria died when they were doused with garlic. From the Middle Ages on, garlic has been used to treat wounds, being ground or sliced and applied directly to wounds to inhibit the spread of infection. The Russians refer to garlic as Russian penicillin.

More recently, researchers have unearthed evidence to show garlic may help us to stay hale and hearty in a number of ways.

Last June, nutrition scientists at the University of Florida found eating garlic can boost the number of T-cells in the bloodstream. These play a vital role in strengthening our immune systems and fighting viruses.

And pharmacologists at the University of California found that allicin — the active ingredient in garlic that contributes to bad breath — is an infection-killer.

Allicin also makes our blood vessels dilate, improving blood flow and helping to tackle cardiovascular problems such as high cholesterol.

An Australian study of 80 patients published last week in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that diets high in garlic may reduce high blood pressure.

In 2007, dentists in Brazil found that gargling with garlic water (made by steeping crushed garlic cloves in warm, but not boiling, water) can kill the germs that cause tooth decay and gum disease.

But they hit a snag: the volunteers refused to continue the experiment, complaining that the garlic gargle made them feel sick. Looking at the garlic soup recipe certainly made me feel queasy. Still, it gave me an excuse to use up my ample supply of garlic.

Though last year’s awful weather caused crop failures on my allotment, I enjoyed a bumper harvest of garlic.

Among its many other virtues, garlic kills slugs and snails. Researchers from the University of Newcastle believe it contains oils that may cripple the nervous systems of these slimy creatures.

There are two schools of thought as to the best way of preparing garlic to make the most of its medicinal qualities.

Argentinian investigators found it releases its allicin-type compounds when you bake the cloves, while scientists at South Carolina Medical University believe peeling garlic and letting it sit uncovered for 15 minutes produces the highest levels of compounds to fight infection.

So you can simply peel half of the garlic cloves and roast the other half with the kitchen door tightly closed (to stop the pong permeating throughout the house).

The heady aroma certainly revs up the appetite and the first spoonful does not disappoint. Delicious as it is, however, one large bowl of home-made soup is a more than ample meal.

As for the soup’s cold-preventing powers, only time will tell. Regular bowlfuls may very well keep me free of winter ailments, thanks to the virus-killing compounds they contain.

Or it could just be that my nuclear-strength garlic breath will keep everyone who is infectious far out of sneezing range for months to come.

John Summerly is nutritionist, herbologist, and homeopathic practitioner. He is a leader in the natural health community and consults athletes, executives and most of all parents of children on the benefits of complementary therapies for health and prevention.

Source: Prevent Disease & realfarmacy.com

Iodine deficiencies during pregnancy linked to lower IQ in offspring.


Iodine deficiencies during pregnancy may have negative neurocognitive outcomes among offspring, according to findings by researchers in the United Kingdom that were published in The Lancet.

Pregnant women and those planning a pregnancy should ensure adequate iodine intake; good dietary sources are milk, dairy products and fish. Women who avoid these foods and are seeking alternative iodine sources can consult the iodine fact sheet that we have developed, which is available on the websites of the University of Surrey and the British Dietetic Association. Kelp supplements should be avoided, as they may have excessive levels of iodine,” Sarah C. Bath, PhD, RD, of the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Surrey, said in a press release.

Bath and colleagues analyzed stored samples of urinary iodine concentrations from 1,040 first-trimester pregnant women, measures of IQ from the offspring aged 8 years and reading ability at age 9 years. The mother-child pairs were collected from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).

The researchers defined mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency as a median urinary iodine concentration of 91.1 mcg/L (interquartile range [IQR], 53.8-143; iodine-to-creatinine ratio of 110 mcg/g; IQR, 74-170).

After adjusting for 21 socioeconomic, parental and child factors as confounders, data indicated that children of women with an iodine-to-creatinine ratio of less than 150 mcg/g were more likely to have scores in the lowest quartile for verbal IQ (OR=1.58; 95% CI, 1.09-2.3), reading accuracy (OR=1.69; 95% CI, 1.15-2.49) and reading comprehension (OR=1.54; 95% CI, 1.06-2.23) vs. those of mothers with ratios of at least 150 mcg/g. Furthermore, scores continued to dwindle when the less than 150-mcg/g group was subdivided, researchers wrote.

In an accompanying commentary, Alex Stagnaro-Green, MD, MHPE,professor of medicine and obstetrics and gynecology at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, andElizabeth N. Pearce, MD, associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, wrote that this study, along with previous research, represents a call-to-action because of the documented link between iodine deficiency and poor neurocognitive outcomes.

 “Absence of a public health policy in the face of clear documentation of moderate iodine deficiency and strong evidence of its deleterious effect on the neurodevelopmentof children is ill advised,” they wrote. “Nor should unmonitored and adventitious dietary iodine sources continue to be relied on.”

Source: Endocrine Today

Effect of inadequate iodine status in UK pregnant women on cognitive outcomes in their children: results from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)

Summary

Background

As a component of thyroid hormones, iodine is essential for fetal brain development. Although the UK has long been considered iodine replete, increasing evidence suggests that it might now be mildly iodine deficient. We assessed whether mild iodine deficiency during early pregnancy was associated with an adverse effect on child cognitive development.

Methods

We analysed mother—child pairs from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) cohort by measuring urinary iodine concentration (and creatinine to correct for urine volume) in stored samples from 1040 first-trimester pregnant women. We selected women on the basis of a singleton pregnancy and availability of both a urine sample from the first trimester (defined as ≤13 weeks’ gestation; median 10 weeks [IQR 9—12]) and a measure of intelligence quotient (IQ) in the offspring at age 8 years. Women’s results for iodine-to-creatinine ratio were dichotomised to less than 150 μg/g or 150 μg/g or more on the basis of WHO criteria for iodine deficiency or sufficiency in pregnancy. We assessed the association between maternal iodine status and child IQ at age 8 years and reading ability at age 9 years. We included 21 socioeconomic, parental, and child factors as confounders.

Findings

The group was classified as having mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency on the basis of a median urinary iodine concentration of 91·1 μg/L (IQR 53·8—143; iodine-to-creatinine ratio 110 μg/g, IQR 74—170). After adjustment for confounders, children of women with an iodine-to-creatinine ratio of less than 150 μg/g were more likely to have scores in the lowest quartile for verbal IQ (odds ratio 1·58, 95% CI 1·09—2·30; p=0·02), reading accuracy (1·69, 1·15—2·49; p=0·007), and reading comprehension (1·54, 1·06—2·23; p=0·02) than were those of mothers with ratios of 150 μg/g or more. When the less than 150 μg/g group was subdivided, scores worsened ongoing from 150 μg/g or more, to 50—150 μg/g, to less than 50 μg/g.

Interpretation

Our results show the importance of adequate iodine status during early gestation and emphasise the risk that iodine deficiency can pose to the developing infant, even in a country classified as only mildly iodine deficient. Iodine deficiency in pregnant women in the UK should be treated as an important public health issue that needs attention.

Source: Lancet