Top Health Benefits of Garlic

The health benefits of garlic, or Allium sativum in botanical and scientific terms, are extensive and it one of nature’s culinary and medicinal wonders. This root vegetable has palate-pleasing qualities similar to herbs that enhance the flavor of any dish. In addition, it has natural ingredients that provide a variety of health-related benefits and treatment applications. Like some root vegetables under the genus Allium, garlic has a bulbous layer of fleshy leaves with roots growing at the underside and a stem flowering at the opposite end. Other vegetables belonging to the same genus, like the onion, chive, and Chinese scallion, share similar characteristics, including a strong odor and flavor that intensifies when the clove is crushed or chopped.

Basic Garlic Facts and History

Garlic is purported to have its origins in the Central Asian Region. The oldest recorded history extolling the benefits of this root vegetable dates back several thousands of years. The ancient Sanskrit texts of India, dating back to 5000 B.C., mentioned the health benefits of garlic. Other similar ancient civilizations in the Asian, European, and African continents are reported to have cultivated the root crop for food, medicinal, and even ritual purposes.

The Mediterranean region, in particular, has continued its age-old gastronomical tradition of utilizing garlic as a vegetable or herb ingredient, in order to acquire its healthful and flavorful benefits. In addition, the ancient Egyptians and other advanced civilizations also used its extractions to treat various wounds and infections, fully aware of the garlic’s antimicrobial and antibiotic properties.

Today, several hundred varieties of garlic are cultivated in different regions around the world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the four major garlic-producing countries in 2005 consist of China, India, South Korea, and the United States. In the United States, the majority of domestic garlic farm production and product processing is centered in the state of California.

Garlic thrives in temperate climatic conditions. In tropical regions, garlic is often cultivated in higher locations where cooler temperatures promote production. In terms of soil condition, this root vegetable has a preference for loam or sandy loam, which has enough drainage capacity to hold the ideal amount of moisture required for crop growth.

Culinary Uses of Garlic

Garlic is now a staple vegetable in almost every kitchen. It is widely used in different cuisines as an ingredient and herb flavoring. The cloves are commonly used for cooking but other parts of the vegetable, including the flowers and immature bulb, are also used as a culinary ingredient. As a flavor enhancer, it is prepared and cooked with different types of meat, fish, and vegetables. In its uncooked form, the garlic may be added as a herb to certain sauces and condiments.

Garlic cloves and leaves are sautéed or stir fried with onion, ginger, and other vegetable or meat ingredients in the Southeast and other regions of Asia. In Spanish, Greek and other types of Mediterranean culinary traditions, garlic is often paired with staple ingredients such as onion, tomatoes, and olive oil to enhance the flavor of the dish. Garlic infused olive oil is also a popular addition to bread and pasta dishes. In the Valencia and Catalonia regions of Spain, garlic infused olive oil is mixed with egg yolk and mustard to produce aioli.

Medicinal and Health Benefits of Garlic

Garlic is said to produce a variety of medicinal and health benefits. This root vegetable is reputed to facilitate cardio-vascular health due to its capacity to prevent hypertension, cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and other conditions. The component in the garlic which is responsible for this health benefit is allicin, a remarkable compound derived from alliin and allinase.

Aside from producing cardiovascular benefits, allicin is also said to have antibacterial, antimicrobial, and even antifungal properties. Allicin also promotes the development of certain types of antioxidants like glutathione and catalase. These two antioxidant enzymes are said to detoxify the body, boost the immune system, and prevent the risk of cancer and other diseases.

As a soluble compound, its potency is significantly reduced when cooked or exposed to the acids in the gastro-intestinal system reducing the health benefits of garlic. To help maintain the optimum benefits of this compound and improve absorption into the body, it is often extracted from the garlic and processed into food supplements.

Aside from allicin, garlic has diallyl disulfide or DADS, a more stable compound that can survive high cooking temperatures. DADS is said to have anti-cancer and immune-boosting properties. Together with allicin, DADS also improve cardiovascular health by promoting blood circulation and reducing cholesterol. As an anti-cancer compound, DADS is purported to facilitate decrease in growth of certain types of cancer cells.

In terms of antifungal and antimicrobial benefits, garlic is often added as an ingredient in topical lotions, oils, and creams to treat specific skin conditions. These medicated solutions are used as spot treatment for acne, pimples, and recurring fungal conditions like athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm. Garlic is also used as a natural remedy for parasitic infections inside the body. It is said to be the best anti-parasitic treatment option for roundworms and other gastrointestinal dwelling parasites.

Although a standard dosage for garlic has not yet been established, some recommend a daily intake of one or two raw cloves per day to achieve the optimum benefit of this root vegetable. However, the strong compounds in the garlic could have an adverse effect on the gastrointestinal area, especially when eaten raw. Taking garlic supplements is an alternative and safe way to fulfill this requirement. The best supplements usually contain all the essential compounds without the strong garlicky odor.

Risks and Warnings

There are individuals that are garlic-intolerant and experience allergic reactions upon consumption. The allergy symptoms may be moderate to severe, depending on the intake and the tolerance level of the individual. Stomach aches, heartburn, and even flatulence may occur as an allergic or digestive reaction to the garlic. Over-consumption of uncooked garlic also produces similar effects.

As a dietary supplement, less is known about its contraindicative properties if taken with other types of medication. Although, medical advise on appropriate dosage and intake is recommended for individuals planning to take garlic supplements while on anti-coagulation or any cardiovascular treatment medicines.

Exposure to crushed garlic juice may also cause skin irritation characterized by a slight burning sensation and reddening of the area. The level of discomfort and severity of the irritation depends on the individual’s tolerance to the substance. In some moderate to severe cases, burning and blistering of the skin happens as a result of prolonged exposure to the garlic juice.

Summary

One of the marvels of the vegetable world, the health benefits of garlic can be enjoyed by including it in your essential store cupboard and goes well with many meats and vegetable dishes or via garlic extract supplements.

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Drinking Tea – The Health Benefits

Herbal teas have been used for centuries to cure minor ailments. Whether or not you believe that they do have specific medicinal benefits, one thing the teas do have is a high vitamin content. Why not substitute your coffee or diet drink for a delicious fruity tea instead. Who knows, they may have those hidden health benefits after all.

1. Anise Tea is antioxidant rich and is said to relieve stomach ache and flatulence.

2. Apple Tea is also antioxidant rich.

3. Anise Fennel & Caraway Tea is said to have many benefits. It is said to relieve stomach ache, relieve flatulence, help relieve griping pain and indigestion. It is also used to encourage milk supply when breastfeeding and as a remedy for colic and digestive disorders.

4. Aniseed, fennel & licorice tea is said to help ease the discomfort of rheumatism. It is said to aid digestion, help relieve griping pain and also indigestion. The tea is said to provide relief from stomach ulcers, improve digestion, and can help with headache reduction.

5. Apple & Cinnamon tea has a high level of antioxidants. It is often used to help with the symptoms of colds. It is also used to ease flatulence, the feeling of nausea, diarrhoea, and painful menstrual periods.

6. Apple & Ginger tea is a powerful antioxidant. It is used to treat upset stomachs, travel sickness, general low-grade fevers. It is also used as a digestive aid. It may help reduce dizziness and limit flatulence.

7. Artichoke Tea has a very high antioxidant level. The tea is also used to aid digestion. It has also been used to strengthen the liver and the gall bladder function.

8. Bai Mu Dan tea has a fuller flavour and has more potency than normal white tea.

9. Blueberry & Acai tea has numerous health benefits as a result of its high levels of antioxidants.

10. Breathe Deep tea helps clear the airways and relaxes the body.

11. Camomile tea’s health benefits may include the reduction of anxiety and insomnia.

12. Camomile & Spearmint tea is said to reduce anxiety and insomnia. It is also used to ease a stomach ache and reduce nausea. It has also been used to treat heartburn and mild indigestion.

13. Caraway Tea is a great remedy for colic, it can counteract a loss of appetite and can calm digestive disorders.

14. Cat’s Claw Tea is used as an anti-inflammatory and is said to provide immune support.

15. Chamomile, fennel & marshmallow tea is drank in order to relieve digestive problems. It is also said to alleviate tension, help relieve griping and indigestion pain and encourages milk supply when breastfeeding.

16. Cho-Yung Tea is drank in order to promote weight loss.

17. Chun Mee China Green tea has high levels of antioxidants. Some of its health benefits may include weight loss and improved cholesterol levels.

18. Cinnamon tea is said to give relief from colds, flatulence, nausea, diarrhoea, and painful menstrual periods.

19. Cinnamon, cardamom & ginger tea may relieve indigestion, prevent stomach pain, colds, flatulence, nausea, diarrhoea, and painful menstrual periods.

20. Classic Earl Grey is a tea that contains oil of bergamot, or the flavour of bergamot.

21. Cycleplus Tea’s health benefits may include an improved circulation and it may also ease the symptoms of Pre Menstrual Tension.

22. Dandelion tea is said to relieve indigestion, heartburn, stomach aches and constipation.

23. Easy Night Tea’s health benefits may include relaxation and the encouragement of a restful nights sleep.

24. Echinacea & Cranberry tea is drunk as a preventative measure against colds. It is also used to reduce cold symptoms. This is due to its high antioxidant levels.

25. Elderflower & Lemon tea is said to fight the signs of cold and flu. The tea is rich in Vitamin C and is a strong natural antioxidant. It is also said to aid digestion and can help clear skin.

26. English Breakfast tea is a black tea, which is full-bodied, robust and goes very well with milk and sugar.

27. Fennel Tea helps relieve griping and indigestion pain. It is also used to encourage milk supply when breastfeeding.

28. Figuro Tea boasts health benefits, which may include weight loss.

29. Genmaicha tea is a green tea which is combined with roasted brown rice.

30. Ginger tea is said to relieve an upset stomach, travel sickness and general low-grade fevers. It is also used as a digestive aid, to reduce dizziness and to limit flatulence.

31. Ginger & Lemongrass tea is used to help with an upset stomach, with travel sickness and general low-grade fevers. It is also used as a digestive aid. It reduces dizziness, limits flatulence, and helps with sleep disorders. The tea is said to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and it may relieve symptoms of nausea and menstrual cramps.

32. Ginger Hibiscus Tea is said to help reduce high blood pressure.

33. Gingko Tea helps improve memory. It is also said to improve blood circulation and oxygen to the brain.

34. Ginseng Tea is said to increase libido and improve male erectile dysfunction.

35. Green Tea has high levels of antioxidants. It is also used to aid weight loss and improve cholesterol levels.

36. Green Tea with Lemon and Myrtle has a high level of antioxidants. It is said to help with weight loss, improve cholesterol levels and provide anti-bacterial and immune boosting qualities.

37. Green Tea with Echinacea’s health benefits may include cold prevention and cold symptom reduction.

38. Green Tea with Gingko is said to help improve memory, improve blood circulation and improve oxygen levels to the brain.

39. Green Tea with Ginseng’s health benefits may include increased libido and treating male erectile dysfunction.

40. Green Tea with Lemon is rich in Vitamin C and is a strong natural antioxidant. It aids digestion and clear the skin.

41. Green Tea with Manuka Honey is antioxidant rich. It’s health benefits may include weight loss and improved cholesterol levels. It may also have antibacterial, anti-microbial, antiseptic and anti-fungal properties.

42. Green with Aloe Vera Tea’s health benefits may include an improved immune system, additional anti-bacterial properties, relief from constipation and bowel discomfort as well as being a digestive aid.

43. Hawthorne tea is said to improve cardiovascular function. It may also increase the blood supply to the heart and improve circulation.

44. Hibiscus Ginger & Goji berry is said to reduce high blood pressure and hypertension.

45. Himalayan Darjeeling is a black tea from the Darjeeling region.

46. Hojicha tea is drunk to improve the immune system, to ease cardiovascular diseases, to aid weight loss and improve relaxation.

47. Honeybush tea is antioxidant rich. Its potential health benefits may include reduction in irritability, reduction in headaches, as a relief from insomnia. It is also used to relieve hypertension, nervous tension and mild depression.

48. Horsetail tea is also an antioxidant rich tea. It has a mild diuretic effect and it increases the activity of the kidneys and bladder. it is also said to promote weight loss.

49. Huang Cha China Yellow tea is a delicate tea. When brewed it is a pale yellow liquid.

50. IMUPLUS Tea’s health benefits may include a strengthened immune system.

51. Jasmine Green Tea is rich in antioxidants. it is used to aid weight loss, to promote cholesterol reduction and to aid relaxation.

52. Kukicha Tea is a Japanese blend of tea made of stems, stalks, and twigs.

53. Lapsang Souchong is a tea, which aids digestion, helps the immune system and helps lower your cholesterol. The tea is also said to aid relaxation and help with weight loss.

54. Lax Plus tea health benefits may include a natural relief from the effects of constipation.

55. Lemon tea is rich in Vitamin C and is a strong natural antioxidant. It is said to aid digestion and clear the skin.

56. Licorice tea is said to help stomach ulcers, combat diarrhoea, ease sore throats, and relieve viral liver inflammations.

57. Licorice & Cinnamon tea is used to combat stomach ulcers, diarrhoea, sore throats, colds, flatulence, nausea, diarrhoea, and painful menstrual periods.

58. Licorice Fennel & Orange is antioxidant rich. Health benefits may include the treatment of stomach ulcers, relief from diarrhoea, sore throats, viral liver inflammations. It is also used to help relieve griping and indigestion and also to encourage milk supply when breastfeeding.

59. Lime & Mint Tea is vitamin c rich. It is said to rejuvenate the skin, relieve constipation, reduce ulcers, gout, piles and gum problems.

60. Liquorice & Oriental Spice tea is said to reduce stomach ulcers, combat diarrhoea, sore throats and viral liver inflammations.

61. Lotus Tea’s health benefits may include the treatment of diarrhoea and abdominal cramps. It may also be helpful when trying to treat gastric ulcers and haemorrhoids.

62. Mint & Chilli tea is said to help with irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and headaches.

63. Mocha Spice tea is a rich tea with the added sweetness of carob.

64. Moroccan Mint Green tea is said to treat irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and headaches.

65. Natural Strawberry tea is used as a diuretic, to help relieve diarrhoea and sore throats.

66. Nettle & Peppermint tea is used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, nausea and vomiting. it is also used to treat diarrhoea, headaches, bad breath, arthritic or rheumatic conditions. It is also used as an adjuvant in treating allergies, anaemia and kidney diseases.

67. Oolong Tea is a traditional Chinese tea, which is withered in the sun and maintains a high antioxidant level.

68. Orange & Coconut Tea is said to increase metabolism, help with weight loss and is also vitamin c rich.

69. Pau d’arco tea has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties.

70. Peppermint tea is said to relieve irritable bowel syndrome, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches and bad breath.

71. Pomegranate tea has high levels of antioxidants. It is also used in order to reduce bad cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

72. Pu’er Tea health benefits may inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol and also weight loss.

73. Quebra Pedra tea may dissolves kidney and gall stones. It is also anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.

74. Raspberry Leaf tea is antioxidant rich.

75. Rooibos tea health benefits may include the relief from nervous tension, allergies and digestive problems.

76. Rose, chamomile & lavender tea has high levels of vitamin C. It is used for colds, flu, anxiety and insomnia. It is also used to treat stress and headaches.

77. Rose, vanilla & shatavari tea has high levels of vitamin C and it is used for colds and flu. It is used to improve digestion, immune system, memory loss, depression, anxiety and stress reduction.

78. Rosehips & Hibiscus tea has a high vitamin c content and a high antioxidant level. It improves digestion and the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

79. Sage Tea health benefits include the treatment of throat infections, dental abscesses, infected gums and mouth ulcers.

80. Sencha Japanese green tea has high levels of antioxidants. It is used for weight loss and to improve cholesterol levels.

81. Sencha Green Tea is a Japanese green tea. It is used as an antioxidant. It is used for weight loss and to improve cholesterol levels.

82. St John’s Wort Tea is used to treat depression or mild depression.

83. Thyme Herbal Tea is used as a treatment for colds and flu.

84. Tulsi tea is an immune system boosting tea. It is said to reduce stress and improve mental clarity.

85. Valerian tea is said to relax the central nervous system and smooth muscle groups.

86. Vervain tea is used to relieve tension and stress. It is also used to treat depression.

87. Wild Berry Tea is antioxidant rich and therefore is used to improve the immune system.

88. Wild Blackcurrant tea is antioxidant rich immune system booster.

89. Yarrow Tea is said to speed recovery from severe bruising.

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Communicate Health Benefits Information More Effectively

All employers have responsibility of guiding their employees about the health benefit schemes offered by them. Even the employees on the other hand also have the right to receive information about the health benefit schemes offered to them. Therefore an employer has the right to inform the employees about certain information regarding the health benefit schemes. For this reason, organizations have created the position of Health Benefit Manager having communication as one of the responsibilities for health benefit related schemes and procedures.

Key information heads to be shared by employer

There is a plethora of information available for communication. It is the skill of the Health benefit Manager to present them in a structured manner on behalf of the employer.

- Employers need to provide a detailed list of information to the employees about what health benefit schemes are provided to them or the scheme they are entitled to.
- Providing information regarding cost sharing as well as arrangements
- To take up necessary steps to resolve problem as well as to deal with appeals.
- To provide and guide its employees about the status of accreditation, certification as well as licensure.
- Provide sufficient and necessary information about the composition of the provider network too.
- To use the emergency care services as when required by the employees of the organization.
- To obtain referrals to specialists
- Most importantly provide all the information regarding the quality, safety of the health benefit plan and the cost of the employer sponsored plan.

Regulatory directives
According to the Employer Retirement and Income Security Act of 1974, it is necessary to provide all detailed information that the employees are entitled to that includes plan rules, covered benefits, documents about the plan management and operation as well. The employees are also entitled to receive a document with the summary plan description, known as SPD. The SPD contains

- Information of the health care services that are covered in the plan.
- Description of what services are being provided by the plan and how these schemes function.
- It provides information also on how to calculate the benefits.
- Explanation on the cost that the plan covers and the cost that the beneficiary has to pay.

Tools and Methods for communicating
There are various methods by which the Health Benefit Manager, on behalf of the employers, can communicate health benefit information to the employees:

- One of the best ways is to communicate with the employees about the health coverage plan but providing too much information of it should also be avoided. The employees should be given the required time to understand the scheme and ask questions if any.

- It is best to explain the changes in simple terms to the employees to make them understand.

- Apart from the employees it is also necessary to explain the health benefit plans to the health benefit managers so that they can explain it to the employees to.

- Employers should be ready to face any questions asked by employees regarding the health benefit scheme and clear their doubts.

- It is equally important as well to be direct and honest when discussing about the coverage plan especially if employees face cost increase due to the coverage plan.

- Discussing the 5C’s too is essential with the employees. This 5C’s include cost, changes in plans, coverage of the plan, comparison of the previous year’s plan and also the current option.

- It is necessary to provide information the employees about the health care providers that are available in the revised and new plan option.

- Providing testimonials of other employees about the changes in health benefit plans can also be quite helpful for the present employees.

- Taking the help of various means like internet, face to face discussions, telephonic conversations, office intranet as well as printed materials can be helpful too. However it is also necessary to use materials that are easily understood by employees.

Using health communication campaigns

What are its advantages?

- It is important for the employers to conduct communication campaigns to educate the employees about the need of health benefit schemes and how they operate.

- The responsible manager’s aim should be to identify the objective and aim of the health care campaign.

- To develop health care message that meets the objectives and aim of the campaign.

- Setting up the criteria for evaluation of the campaign and also the degree to which it is getting conveyed among the employees.

- To implement and the campaign and make sure that the employees understand message that is being conveyed by the employer.

- It is also necessary to make sure that the employees also to address the education need of the employees with language barrier, literacy issues etc.

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