Sometimes it’s the simplest ingredients that pack the biggest punch.
This holds true for garlic, lemon, and ginger— a trio that have potent health benefits separately and give your body an even bigger disease-fighting boost when combined into a “super tonic”.
There’s nothing exotic about this trio (though ginger is technically a tropical plant). You can easily find them at the grocery store and likely already have at least one in your cupboard.
But that just goes to show how powerful “ordinary” foods and spices can be, and you may be astonished at all this trio can do.
Garlic, Lemon, & Ginger: A Powerhouse Trio
It would be hard to find a more potent trio flavor-wise than garlic, lemon, and ginger.
The strong, vampire-repelling fragrance of garlic is matched by the spicy heat of ginger, and both get taken up a notch by the sour and refreshing presence of lemon.
However, the powerful flavors of this trio aren’t just there for your taste buds. They give you a hint at the mighty plant compounds hidden within each spice and fruit that have massive benefits for the human body.
To give you a hint at what they can do together, it would be fair to say that any garlic-lemon-ginger recipe would be full of immune-boosting, cancer-fighting, heart-helping, and brain-protecting potential— a true tonic against disease.
For a more in-depth look at what each member of the trio brings to the table, here are some of the most outstanding benefits of garlic, lemon, and ginger. (Followed by a super-powerful and super-simple recipe.)
Top Benefits of Garlic (A Heart & Brain Protector)
Enhances Immunity & May Work as an Antibiotic
One of the most notable benefits of garlic is its immune-boosting power. Not only can it strengthen your immune system to fight off illness, it may also have direct action against specific pathogens.
To the first point, several studies have found that supplementing with garlic during cold and flu season can reduce your chance of getting sick.
In one trial, participants taking garlic were less likely to catch a cold than the placebo group and had a faster recovery time if they did get sick. Another large study found that garlic extract reduced the severity of cold and flu symptoms specifically by improving immune cell function.
Certain compounds in garlic can also directly fight infectious pathogens, including diallyl sulfide, which was found to be 100 times more effective than two common antibiotics at fighting Campylobacter bacterium.
Reduces Blood Pressure & Supports Your Heart
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide, and high blood pressure is a big risk factor for cardiovascular conditions.
This is a top reason to regularly consume garlic because it has been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure in multiple studies. In fact, one long-term study found that garlic was just as effective as atenolol, a commonly used drug for high blood pressure!
To add to its heart benefits, other research has shown that garlic can lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
May Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Garlic is packed full of antioxidants that protect your body against oxidative damage. Researchers have found that these antioxidants specifically possess neuroprotective properties that may slow age-related cognitive decline, keeping your brain sharper for longer.
Even better, there’s some indication that regularly consuming garlic could cut your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Researchers believe that these findings are due to the antioxidants present in garlic as well as its ability to lower blood pressure and cholesterol— both of which are associated with a greater risk of dementia, not just heart disease.
We live in a world that constantly overloads our bodies with toxins. This means that detoxification has never been more important, but often our bodies can’t keep up without some outside help.
Garlic is a top natural detoxifier because it’s rich in sulfur compounds that can help your body rid itself of heavy metals and enhance the action of glutathione, the “master antioxidant” heavily involved in detoxification.
Research shows that garlic is particularly effective at detoxifying lead, reducing blood levels by as much as 19% in one study. The participants— who all had lead poisoning— even experienced fewer symptoms of lead toxicity when taking garlic.
Significant Cancer-Fighting Potential
The powerful compounds within garlic give it cancer-fighting properties that have been demonstrated in numerous studies.
Just to give you a quick overview, researchers have linked the consumption of garlic to a decreased risk of lung cancer, breast cancer, and pancreatic cancer. Sulfur compounds within garlic have also shown an ability to increase cancer cell death and destroy cells in glioblastomas (a deadly type of brain tumor).
Because it enhances immune response, garlic may also cut your cancer risk by helping your body to stop malignancies from gaining a foothold.
Top Lemon Benefits (The Original Immune Booster)
High in Vitamin C that Boosts Immunity
Lemons remain one of the best sources of vitamin C. This essential nutrient became well known for scurvy prevention back in the 18th century and is involved in the production of certain white blood cells that help ward off infection.
A vitamin C deficiency can leave your body more susceptible to infectious diseases (particularly respiratory ones), so it’s vital to get enough of this nutrient. Boosting vitamin C intake may even shorten the duration of respiratory tract infections, including the common cold.
Vitamin C also enhances your body’s natural detoxification process, which makes it a key nutrient for getting harmful toxins out of your body.
Full of Cancer Fighting Compounds
Lemons are rich in antioxidants and other plant compounds with documented cancer-fighting properties. This includes D-limonene, a compound concentrated in the peel of lemons, which has shown antitumor and chemopreventive activity in studies.
Overall, lemon juice and lemon compounds have been shown to inhibit breast cancer cells, suppress tumor growth, and suppress cancer cell proliferation. Some research even indicates that consuming citrus fruit regularly could lower your risk of certain cancers.
Help Prevent Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are small, hard deposits that form when waste products crystallize in your kidneys. They can be very painful to pass and large stones may require medical intervention.
Lemons and lemon juice can be extremely helpful for kidney stone prevention because they contain citric acid. Citric acid increases urine volume and raises the pH of urine, which creates a less favorable environment for kidney stone formation.
Studies have shown just 3-4 ounces of fresh lemon juice a day can be enough to stop kidney stones from forming. Even lemonade seems to help prevent kidney stones, though you really don’t want to overdo it on sugar.
May Lower Your Stroke Risk
Lemons and other citrus fruits contain a specific group of antioxidants known as flavonoids that are linked to a lower risk of ischemic stroke. (This is the type of stroke caused by a blood clot that blocks blood flow to the brain.)
According to one study, women who consumed the highest amount of citrus fruits had a 19% lower risk of ischemic stroke, which is fairly significant. Researchers put this effect down to an increased intake of flavanones, which are a subgroup of flavonoids.
High flavonoid intake is also associated with better heart health— another point in favor of lemons.
Anti-Aging Effects for Skin
The vitamin C inside of lemons isn’t just beneficial for your immune system. It also acts as a natural collagen booster, which is critical for keeping your skin looking firm, plump, and wrinkle-free.
In addition to boosting collagen— one of the most critical proteins for young-looking skin— vitamin C also helps to protect your skin from something known as photodamage.
Photodamage occurs when your skin is exposed to too much UV radiation. The result is skin damage at the cellular level that shows up (often years later) as wrinkles, dark spots, uneven skin tone, etc. Because this type of damage is difficult to reverse, preventing it with nutrients like vitamin C is the best way to go.
Key Benefits of Ginger (A Digestive Superstar)
Eases Indigestion and Nausea
Ginger has been used for thousands of years to support digestive health. It can help relieve many symptoms of indigestion, including gas, bloating, and stomach cramps and has also shown an ability to speed up stomach emptying.
But perhaps the biggest digestive benefit of ginger is its anti-nausea effects. Multiple studies have confirmed that it can ease nausea associated with chemotherapy, surgery, motion sickness, and pregnancy (aka morning sickness) with minimal side effects.
In short, ginger is one of the best “digestive tonics” you can take.
Lowers Cholesterol and Blood Sugar
Ginger is an all-star when it comes to protecting your heart and lowering your risk of metabolic disorders.
Several studies have found that ginger can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol by up to 17.4% and may increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels. It has also shown an ability to lower fasting blood sugar levels AND dramatically improve HbA1c, which are risk factors for both diabetes and heart disease.
If that weren’t enough, one study found that daily ginger consumption may reduce your risk for a number of chronic diseases, especially coronary heart disease.
Fights Infections and Supports Immune Health
Ginger and ginger extracts have shown activity against numerous infectious pathogens. Most notably, they can inhibit a viral strain that commonly causes respiratory infections, bacteria that cause gum disease, and multiple strains of drug-resistant bacteria.
Ginger further helps your body to fight off infection by providing immune support, including strengthening antibody response. Overall, it’s a great herb to include in your daily diet during cold and flu season— and the rest of the year, too.
Combats Pain and Inflammation
Gingerol is the main active compound in ginger, responsible for giving the spice much of its heat. Research has shown that this one compound alone has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant power.
Because of its gingerol content, ginger can help to ease inflammation in your body and has shown some pretty incredible potential for combating pain. Studies have shown that it appears to be particularly effective for osteoarthritis and menstrual-related pain, sometimes with comparable effectiveness to NSAID pain relievers.
Ginger likely combats other types of pain as well— like exercise-induced muscle soreness.
May Protect Against Alzheimer’s and Cancer
The antioxidants present in ginger, including gingerol, provide powerful protection for your body against disease.
As a prime example of this, several studies indicate that ginger has potent neuroprotective properties that may prevent Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. One study even found that daily ginger consumption improved working memory and reaction time in middle-aged women.
Along with protecting your brain, ginger has shown potential for fighting various types of cancer. So far, it has proven to be most powerful against gastrointestinal cancers, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer, although quality human trials have yet to be completed.
Simple Garlic, Lemon, & Ginger “Shot” Recipe
Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse of the individual benefits of garlic, lemon, and ginger, you can see why they make the ultimate disease-fighting tonic when combined together.
Following is a simple recipe for a garlic-lemon-ginger “shot” that will boost your immune system, heart health, and much more. Be sure to take it daily for the best results!
- 2-3 organic lemons, peeled or unpeeled (*see notes)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- A few chunks of fresh ginger, peeled
- Filtered water (optional— *see notes)
- Raw honey to taste (optional)
- Add all ingredients, except the honey, to a blender, including 1/4-1/2 cup of water if using.
- Blend until the mixture is smooth, adding more water if desired to get your preferred consistency.
- Add honey if using and blend or stir until it’s incorporated.
- Store the mixture in your refrigerator, and drink a small glass daily. It will be most potent if you warm it first and take it on an empty stomach.
*Notes: Leaving the peel on your lemons ensures that you get all the highly potent compounds (including D-limonene) found only in the peel, but please make sure to buy organic lemons if you do so to avoid pesticide residue. If you don’t want the entire peel, at least grate some of the zest into the blender.
You can make this recipe without any water, but it will be more of a paste than a liquid. In this case, you only need to take 1-2 teaspoons daily to get the full effects, since it will be more potent.*
This incredibly simple recipe is sure to wake you up and will provide your body with countless compounds that help you to stay at peak health. Consume it regularly, especially when you feel under the weather or feel like your body needs an extra boost. It makes a great before-meal digestive tonic, too!
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