Suck on These 5 Things to Fight Inflammation, Bacteria & Viruses

We talk a lot about the benefits of eating healthy foods… but sucking them?? Yup! Sucking is just another delivery method for the nutrients, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds found in certain superfoods and herbs, and enjoying them this way has its specific perks.

For one, sucking on a food creates a slow-release effect, so instead of getting all those nutrients at once, they trickle into your body as you suck. Depending on the food, herb, or spice you are sucking, this may also help to curb cravings when you’re hankering for a snack, as well as freshening your breath or even soothing a sore throat. The following are five foods to consider sucking on, and why.

Honeysuckle Many of us remember pinching those small yellow and white honeysuckle blossoms and sucking out the nectar when we were kids. However, did you know that these flowers have been an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries?

One of the properties attributed to honeysuckle is potent anti-inflammatory activity, hence its reputation as a “cooling” herb. It has also traditionally been used to help prevent and remedy colds, fevers, and flus, and is known to freshen breath.

It is also linked to ameliorating respiratory symptoms. For these reasons, sucking on a few honeysuckle blossoms could get your mouth feeling fresh and ready for that big date, or help alleviate the swelling of a canker or other mouth sore. It might even help keep that nasty cold at bay.

To suck: If you have access to a bunch of blossoms, suck a few when you pass by! Otherwise, you can purchase a honeysuckle nectar – just make sure it is organic, with no additives, from a source you trust. You can add a few drops onto an ice cube that’s been frozen onto a popsicle stick, and enjoy.

Ginger Ginger, that spicy rhizome often called a root, is great to suck on for a variety of reasons. First of all, it has been found to be highly anti-inflammatory, and is also tied to pain relief. Therefore, if you have any dental pain… ginger to the rescue! This rhizome is probably most famous for its ability to soothe digestive distress.

Sucking on some ginger when on a road trip can help to keep motion sickness at bay, and can also calm a bad case of the burps. Ginger also has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, and may help prevent a wide range of seasonal and chronic illnesses.

To suck: Simply peel a slice of organic ginger (start with a small chunk), and pop it into your mouth! If you like, you can chew and swallow the ginger when you’re done sucking it, but be warned that it will be pungent.

Garlic For pathogen-busting powers and detoxification, it doesn’t get much better than garlic. This fragrant bulb contains a compound known as allicin, which has been linked to destroying foodborne microbes. It is also known as a highly effective broad spectrum antimicrobial agent with 39 different anti-fungal, bacterial, parasitic and viral agents.

On top of that, garlic has also been found to help stabilize blood sugar and blood pressure, and may even help reduce cancer risk. Sucking on garlic is a great idea if you feel a bug coming on, have eaten a food you suspect may not have been handled properly, or just want to turbo-charge your immune system.

To suck: You can simply suck on a clove of raw garlic, or, to make it more enjoyable (and to add even more health benefits), soak a clove, or a slice of a clove, in raw, local honey. Along with tasting great, this combo may help to soothe an inflamed throat. After sucking, chew and swallow the garlic, and follow with a sprig of fresh mint or parsley to freshen your breath.

Cinnamon Cinnamon sticks isolated on white backgroundProbably the most obvious reason to suck on cinnamon is the resulting fresh breath. However, cinnamon does more than just mask mouth odor – due to its potent antimicrobial properties, it helps to kill bacteria that lead to plaque, thus aiding in the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease. Furthermore, cinnamon has been linked to improving circulation, lowering blood pressure, and helping to prevent heart attack and stroke.

It also has some exciting benefits for diabetics, and those with pre-diabetes. A body of research has linked cinnamon with lowering blood sugar levels, and with improving insulin sensitivity.

On top of that, the scent alone of cinnamon is linked to improving cognitive abilities – and if you’re sucking on it, you’ll get a lot of the aroma! The delicious flavor of this spice can also help to beat unhealthy food cravings if you suck on it instead.

To suck: Couldn’t be simpler – just grab a cinnamon stick, and pop one end into your mouth. Kind of like a cylindrical lollipop.

Hemp lollipops If you are legally able to in your area, why not enjoy a delicious and healthy hemp lollipop? No, they won’t get you high, but they will provide some protein, skin and hair-nourishing vitamin E, and essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3s have been linked to protecting heart and brain health, as well as to alleviating depression and boosting mood. If you’re in a funk, breaking out a hemp lollipop instead of reaching for an unhealthy food fix can both get some flavor on your palate, and may help dissolve the blues faster.

To suck: Head to your local organic market for some lollipops – be sure to only get organic ones made without sugar or additives from a source you trust, and make sure the hemp oil itself is of the highest quality.

Alternatively, you can make your own, just be sure to find a recipe which does not use sugar or corn syrup. Hard candy? Cough drops? Breath mints? Who needs ’em, when you’ve got these five superfoods!

-The Alternative Daily

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