Liz Moody, a writer and healthy living expert, recently shared her go-to $1 immune booster on Instagram. She eats garlic on toast once a day whenever she's sick. The recipe is simple: All you need to do is chop 4 to 5 cloves of garlic (make your life easier by using this peeler!) and put it on sourdough toast "with a bit of butter or olive oil, a pinch of salt, and whatever herbs I have around, just to make it taste good," she writes. The result is an intense garlic bread that's (somehow) easy to stomach when when you're at the peak of your cold or flu.
So, what's the secret to this toast's ability to heal? After chopping the garlic, Moody lets it sit for 20 minutes before putting it on the bread in order to activate the allicin—a powerful antiviral and antibacterial compound found in garlic. And the tactic checks out. While garlic has been shown to provide many health benefits on its own, its the chopping that really unleashes its cold-fighting powers.
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"A whole garlic bulb contains alliin, which is a sulfur-based compound. Once garlic is cut up, chopped up, or chewed, a chemical reaction is started where the enzyme alliinase converts alliin into allicin. Allicin is the active form of the compound that will provide the benefits," says Allison Scheinfeld, RD, a Brooklyn-based registered dietitian. "It has been found that after you chop the garlic up, you should wait at least 10 to 15 minutes to consume it, as it allows for the reaction to fully occur and the compound to become most beneficial. If the garlic is cooked or heated too long, the allicin will no longer be beneficial."
All things considered, a quick (and affordable) toast is a super effective way to snag those health benefits. "Eating fresh, chopped-up garlic on toast—or however you like it—daily can prevent and treat oncoming colds/flu. It has been said to be a treatment since the Ancient Greek times, but scientific studies have found that you would need to eat at least three cloves per day to receive benefits."
Your breath might be horrendous, but anything that speeds up the process of getting better is totally worth it.
This vegan miso immunity broth will help when you're feeling sick, too:
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