The Healing Powers of Garlic and Ginger, Cinnamon and Cilantro
Our Kripalu recipe for Coconut Yam Soup is packed with satisfying and health-enhancing ingredients. Many herbs and spices, and certainly the ones offered here, are powerful healers. This is how feeling great tastes—flavorful!
Garlic contains a sulfur-based compound called alliin. Alliin and the enzyme alliinase are separated by garlic’s cell structure, but when they mix (as when you crush or mince), they form a compound called allicin. Allicin has been shown to have strong cardiovascular and anti-cancer benefits. Optimize allicin activity by chopping or crushing garlic. Let chopped garlic stand while you do your other food prep, giving allicin time to develop.
Ginger contains antioxidants and powerful anti-inflammatories called gingerols, and also has a scientifically confirmed reputation as a carminative (gas reducer) and intestinal spasmolytic (soother). These properties make ginger useful for motion sickness and morning sickness. Cinnamon is one of our favorites for those with blood-sugar issues; a number of guests we’ve worked with at Kripalu have successfully reduced certain medications using therapeutic cinnamon. Cilantro has shown anti-diabetic, cholesterol-lowering, and anti-inflammatory effects in early studies.
Beyond their healing spices, this recipe features antioxidant-rich yams, as well as coconut, an easy-to-tolerate oil rich in lauric acid, which helps boost immune function and helps the body kill off viruses and yeast.
2 large yams, peeled and medium diced
½ onion, chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger and/or garlic
1–2 cups stock or water
1 teaspoon salt
1–1½ cans coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
Heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender. Add ginger and/or garlic. Add yams and water or stock to cover. Bring to a boil, then add salt, reduce heat, and simmer until yams are soft. Add coconut milk and blend. Heat until warmed through, but do not boil, as boiling could cause coconut milk to separate. Serve garnished with cilantro. For a thinner soup, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice.