Health

Garlicky Caesar salad: Superfood recipe Day 18

Five health benefits of garlic and an immune-boosting salad with dairy-free dressing

Caesar salad with croutons

Julie Daniluk

Garlic contains more than 100 biologically-useful chemicals (including alliin, alliinase, allicin, S-allylcysteine, diallyl sulfide and allyl methyl trisulfide), which do everything from lower cholesterol to fight off viruses – and has been shown to prevent the common cold.

Five reasons to put up with garlic breath:

1. Garlic is antiviral and antifungal: Garlic has been used for centuries for its antibacterial and antiviral properties, but did you know that it can also prevent yeast infections? The chemical component of garlic (allicin) has been shown to prevent the growth of the candida albicans fungus in humans.

2. Garlic can reduce cholesterol: The powerful antioxidant properties of garlic prevents free radical damage to the arterial lining and prevents the formation of scar tissue on the arteries. This stops the initiation of plaque build-up. Garlic has also been shown to reduce homocysteine levels in the blood. High levels of homocysteine are directly linked to high cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease.

3. Fight off the cold and flu with garlic: Garlic has the ability to boost your immune system by increasing the rate at which your natural killer cells are made. Natural killer cells are a fundamental part of our non-specific immunity. This means that these cells will kill off all invaders without the specific targeting that antibodies use to kill pathogens.

4. Eat garlic to lower your blood pressure naturally:
Garlic has the ability to decrease platelet aggregation. This means that garlic doesn’t let your blood cells stick together, and allows them to move more freely through your system. Consider eating more garlic instead of Aspirin to lower blood pressure and increase circulation.

5. Garlic can regulate blood sugar levels: The exact mechanisms by which this occurs are still under investigation, but consumption of garlic has been shown to have a regulatory effect on the blood sugar levels of type 2 diabetic patients. Combine this with its antioxidant properties and it’s the ultimate prevention food.

Immune-boosting Caesar salad
This salad is a great departure from the standard offering of croutons and creamy dressing. The dressing uses the fibre from the celery and the date to create a creamy texture without using dairy.. The sweetness helps cut the extra raw garlic and balances all the taste buds leaving you healthy and satisfied.

Ingredients:

Salad:
1 head Romaine hearts (1 heart = 232 g)
1 head purple endive, leaves separated (1 leaf = 15 g)
1/2 fresh pineapple, diced
10 flax crackers (gluten-free if possible), broken into pieces
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

Caesar dressing:
Makes enough dressing for two to three salads so store leftovers in the fridge and consume quickly.
1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
1  celery stalk, chopped fine
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp wheat-free tamari
3 anchovy fillets
1 date (1 tsp of honey works if dates are unavailable)
1/2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Directions:
1. Wash and dry romaine hearts and endive leaves.
2. Chop pineapple and layer on top of the greens. Top with a light dusting of capers, flax crackers and grated hard cheese if desired.
3. Using a blender, whip all the dressing ingredients together.
4. Top the salad with the dressing and enjoy.

Makes 2 full salad servings.

Julie Daniluk hosts Healthy Gourmet (OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network), a reality cooking show that highlights the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation (Random House) is now available and will help people enjoy allergy-free foods that taste great and assist the body in the healing process.