Garlic is important in the kitchen because of its robust taste and scent. It can enhance the flavor of bland dishes and has medicinal properties making it a popular herb for treating different health conditions.
Garlic is a popular ingredient in cooking, but there are numerous health benefits to eating it raw that are worth exploring. Let’s start by defining garlic, exploring its origins, and examining its different uses before discussing the advantages and disadvantages of consuming it raw.
Garlic, belonging to the Allium family, is a hardy perennial plant that is among the oldest cultivated plants worldwide. It is grown all over the world and is popular, just like scallions, shallots, leeks, and onions.
Allium refers to a class of monocotyledonous flowering plants. These vegetables are distinguished by their distinctively spicy flavor and pungent aroma.
This herb grows as a white bulb. Its shape is similar to that of an onion. The bulb is known as a head of garlic or knob. The bulb is the most commonly used part of the garlic plant. A single head of garlic is subdivided into multiple segments known as cloves.
Each head of garlic typically contains 8 to 20 teardrop-shaped cloves that are tightly enclosed in white parchment-like skin. In addition, each clove is covered in white papery skin. One clove of garlic yields one teaspoon (tsp) of chopped garlic, whereas a single clove is equivalent to half a tsp of minced garlic.
Garlic is grown in many parts of the world and is popularly loved for its strong smell and robust but delicious taste. It is used in many different dishes and beverages to add flavor. You can find garlic in the form of cloves, powders, paste, oils, supplements, and extracts. But other than their culinary benefits, the main use of garlic since ancient times was for its health and medicinal properties.
A Short History of Garlic Use
Garlic is a highly beneficial ingredient that has been used around the world for thousands of years. Historical records indicate that garlic was already in use before the construction of the Giza pyramids, which occurred more than 5,000 years ago.
Records found in the Journal of Nutrition show that Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician fondly known as the father of Western Medicine today, prescribed cloves of garlic to treat a wide range of illnesses and conditions.
Hippocrates recommended using garlic to treat poor digestion, respiratory issues, fatigue, and parasites.
Garlic has been used to treat various health conditions such as hypertension, liver disorders, bronchitis, TB, colic, intestinal worms, flatulence, fevers, diabetes, dysentery, and rheumatism in the Middle East, East Asia, and Nepal throughout history. The new world was introduced to garlic by the Portuguese, Spanish, and French.
The first Olympians from Ancient Greece consumed garlic cloves to enhance their performance. Seeing the many health benefits that garlic provided, the use of this herb spread quickly from ancient Egypt to the advanced archaic civility of the Indus Valley known today as Western India and Pakistan. From there, garlic quickly spread to China.
According to reports from the experts at Kew Gardens, the royal botanical center of excellence in England, ancient India’s population valued the curative properties of garlic. They also thought it to have aphrodisiac effects on users.
As such, the upper classes of ancient India avoided the use of garlic because of its pungent odor. On the other hand, widows, monks, adolescents. And others who were on a religious fast could not consume garlic due to its stimulant quality.
Scientific investigations have confirmed that garlic is a superfood that promotes health and healing. Garlic has numerous health benefits, such as improving the immune system, aiding digestion and circulation, reducing blood pressure, eliminating toxins, and preventing heart diseases. Moreover, some people use garlic to prevent breast, lung, rectal, colon, stomach, and prostate cancer.
To fully benefit from the health properties of garlic, it’s best to eat it raw rather than cooked. Consuming one clove with each of your three daily meals is recommended. You can add a small amount of salt or olive oil to your raw garlic to improve the taste.
What Makes Raw Garlic So Potent?
The healthy and nutritional properties of garlic plants are due to the presence of phytochemicals like organosulfur and Allicin compounds. These plant compounds also have immune-supportive and anti-inflammatory effects.
Scientists confirm that the sulfur compounds which make garlic potent are formed when a clove of garlic is crushed, chopped, or chewed. The compounds exert their potent effects by entering the body through the digestive tract and spreading to other parts of the body.
Another more popular garlic compound is Allicin. Allicin is an unstable compound that is only briefly active in fresh garlic after it has been chopped. Other compounds that majorly affect garlic’s health benefits include diallyl disulfide, diallyl trisulfide, and s-allyl cysteine.
Due to these compounds, long-term garlic consumption in small amounts in your daily food preparation may produce positive results at lower doses. In most studies, the concentrated equivalent is around two cloves.
Can You Eat Raw Garlic?
Garlic is commonly used in cooking or powder form in many recipes. Cooking garlic changes its taste, texture, and makes it milder, creamier, and subtler in flavor and aroma. However, prolonged cooking reduces its medicinal properties. Therefore, it’s recommended that you eat garlic raw to enjoy its full benefits. A study published in the Journal Food and Chemical Toxicology found that short-term heating reduces the anti-inflammatory effects of fresh raw garlic. So eating your garlic raw is highly recommended.
It is important to keep in mind that raw garlic has a strong and pungent flavor. If you consume a large amount of it at once, it can cause a burning sensation in your mouth and leave you with a garlicky odor on your breath. However, it is safe to eat raw garlic as long as you do not have an allergy to it.
What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Raw Garlic?
Garlic is highly nutritious. It contains several essential nutrients, all while being low in calories. A single clove of raw garlic contains :
- Vitamin B6: 2%
- Vitamin C: 1%
- Manganese: 2%
- Selenium 1%
- and small amounts of calcium, copper, phosphorous, fiber, potassium, and iron.
All these come with 4.5 calories, 1 gram of carbs, and 0.2 grams of Protein. Garlic also contains traces of various other nutrients.
Why is Raw Garlic More Potent Than Cooked Garlic?
While both raw and cooked garlic offers therapeutic benefits, raw garlic is more potent. This is because raw garlic gets its potency from its sulfur-containing phytochemicals. These compounds include diallyl disulfide, diallyl trisulfide, Allicin, among others.
The reason why raw garlic is better for your health is that it doesn’t lose the beneficial compounds through cooking or processing. The main compound that provides health benefits is called Allicin, which is a sulfur-containing enzyme. Garlic owes many of its health benefits to allicin, which possesses antioxidative, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.
This means that cooked garlic, garlic supplements, garlic oil products, garlic powder, and aged garlic preparations do not produce an odor that is as strong as that of raw garlic, nor are they as potent and fresh raw garlic. Allicin is also responsible for the characteristic garlic odor.
The characteristic smell of garlic is formed when the enzyme alliinase and the compound alliin combine. The enzyme alliinase is activated by water, heat, and oxygen.
What Are the Benefits of Eating Raw Garlic?
Since raw garlic retains most of its potent properties, it provides a bevy of benefits.
Culinary Benefits of Raw Garlic
Raw garlic can be added to nutritious foods like vegetables, beans, whole grains, and lean protein to enhance their flavor, just like onions, spices, and herbs. This can make it more pleasurable to eat these nutrient-rich foods.
Adding flavor to your food through garlic also helps you reduce the need for excess salt. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, each garlic clove contains just four calories.
Health Benefits of Eating Raw Garlic
Besides adding flavor to your salads, raw garlic is also good for your health. People in ancient times used raw garlic for its medicinal properties and health benefits.
Today, multiple medical pieces of research have linked garlic to many health benefits. Some of these studies even suggest that raw garlic is more powerful than cooked garlic. As mentioned above, the health benefits of garlic arise when sulfur compounds. These compounds occur after a garlic clove is crushed, chopped, or chewed.
Due to these compounds, garlic has been used to treat several illnesses such as:
Raw Garlic Lowers Blood Pressure
Did you know that a couple of raw garlic cloves a day can help keep a visit to the cardiologist away? Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a major factor in the development of cardiovascular diseases like strokes and heart attacks.
Cardiovascular diseases like strokes and heart attacks are the world’This can lead to damage and scarring of the arteries.Damage and scarring of the arteries are some of the biggest killers. This can result in various health conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nearly half of the adult population in America is affected by this condition.
While high blood pressure bears no symptoms, it significantly increases your heart diseases and stroke risk. Left untreated, high blood pressure causes the walls of your arteries to outstretch. This can lead to damage and scarring of the arteries.
Unfortunately, the drugs used to manage blood pressure often cause a range of troublesome side effects. This explains why many hypertensive people are looking for alternative natural remedies like garlic.
Scientists have found raw garlic to significantly impact reducing blood pressure in hypertensive people.
Recent research shows that garlic appears to be an effective natural remedy against hypertension. As a matter of fact, a number of these researches report garlic to be just as effective as standard blood pressure medications, only with much fewer and subtle side effects.
High doses of garlic extract have shown promise in the treatment of hypertension. It can lower blood pressure by about 10mmHg systolic and eight mmHg diastolic. This is similar to standard hypertension medication.
According to an Australian review and meta-analysis, garlic helps to lower blood pressure, improves arterial stiffness and gut microbiota. The studies overwhelmingly suggest that the use of garlic supplements on a daily basis significantly lowers both systolic and diastolic – the bottom number – blood pressure in hypertensive patients.
A different 2019 study published in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine showed that garlic supplements help lower blood pressure. The researchers noted that this change in blood pressure reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by about 16% to 40%. These results came from an analysis of 12 studies that involved 553 people that had been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
Both raw garlic and garlic supplements contain the compound allicin. This compound helps relax the smooth muscles in your blood vessels. Your blood vessels dilate when those muscles relax, and blood pressure drops.
Research also suggests that Allicin inhibits the synthesis of angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is a compound that causes blood vessels to contract or tighten up, leading to an increase in your blood pressure. By inhibiting the production of angiotensin II, Allicin makes it easier for blood to flow more freely, thereby reducing blood pressure.
In a different study, Allicin appeared to enhance the production of nitric oxide and hydrogen sulfide. Both of these compounds are fundamental in the regulation of blood pressure levels.
Garlic has anti-inflammatory benefits and helps blood flow more quickly through the body. In addition, it stimulates the production of nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide helps to dilate blood vessels. It also inhibits angiotensin-Converting enzyme (ACE) activity which helps to relax your blood vessels. Both of these features help promote healthy blood flow and, ultimately, normal blood pressure.
According to a recent review and meta-analysis eating, aged garlic supplements for three months can lower systolic blood pressure by at least 8 points and diastolic blood pressure by about 5.5 points. From these results, it was concluded that the effect of garlic on blood pressure was similar to that of blood pressure medications.
The study involved 12 trials and over 550 participants with high blood pressure. It was published in the Journal of Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine.
Raw garlic is also a natural blood thinner. Blood thinners (anticoagulants)help stabilize high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. For a stronger lipid profile, consider taking raw garlic on an empty stomach in the morning. Supplement doses must be fairly high to have the desired effects. The amount required is about four cloves of garlic per day.
That said, by no means should you stop taking your blood pressure medications to consume a bunch of garlic. Instead, make sure to consult with your doctor on the best way forward.
Raw Garlic Boosts the Immune System
Consider adding more raw garlic to your diet if you tend to get sick a lot, including the common cold or the flu. Generally, our bodies need antioxidants to help prevent or slow cell damage that is caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals.
Free radicals can occur naturally in the body or can come from external sources such as radiation exposure, air pollution, smoking, or chemicals. However, too many free radicals in the body can lead to oxidative stress, a condition that is linked to chronic illnesses such as heart disease.
While there is not enough evidence to prove that garlic can prevent or treat the common cold or the flu, for instance, it plays a role in your body’s defense mechanism. For starters, the Allicin in garlic provides antibacterial properties that aid in blocking the entry of viruses into cells.
They also strengthen the immune response so that it can effectively fight off potential invaders. These features help support and boost a healthy immune system overall. This information is backed up by a scientific study that found that people who took garlic every day for three months had fewer colds.
Garlic is also an excellent source of antioxidants like Vitamin C, selenium, and quercetin – a phytochemical found in plants with anti-inflammatory capabilities. It also contains small amounts of manganese, an essential component of some antioxidant enzymes.
Garlic contains antimicrobial and antiviral properties, which help to fight off harmful bacteria and pathogens. This helps to relieve the common cold, among other benefits. In a different study, it was found that garlic consumption helped reduce the length of the common cold symptoms by about 70%. This means the duration of the flu symptoms was reduced from the usual five days to just 1.5 days.
A study conducted in John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health showed that essential garlic oil might help fight Lyme disease bacteria.
Ideally, you should eat 2-3 cloves of raw garlic every day to relieve your cold or flu.
Raw Garlic for Hair
If you know the wonderful effects of onion on hair, then you should also try garlic. For starters, raw garlic helps prevent hair fall.
The antimicrobial and antifungal properties of garlic kill the bacteria and germs responsible for causing damage to the scalp and inhibit proper inhibiting hair growth. Also, raw garlic is rich in Vitamin C and B6. Both of these nutrients promote healthy hair growth.
Raw garlic also stimulates collagen production, which helps stimulate hair growth.
Rub garlic extracts on your scalp or massage the garlic with infused oil to prevent hair loss.
Raw Garlic for Super Skin
Garlic is categorized as a superfood because it has so many beneficial properties: antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant. All these properties add up to big benefits for your skin. So if, for instance, you suffer from acne, rub your raw garlic over the pimples to kill bacteria. Just be careful not to overindulge if your skin is the sensitive type.
The stimulant and antioxidant properties of garlic play a major role in protecting your skin and preventing damage from free radicals. Unfortunately, they also slow down the production of collagen, which reduces the elasticity of the skin that comes with old age.
The best part about this is that the regular use of topical garlic extract provides anti-aging benefits. This is because garlic helps boost new cells’ growth and longevity.
Eating garlic can benefit your skin from the inside out if you do not want to apply it all over your body. Garlic’s antibacterial and antifungal properties may be beneficial in treating acne. In contrast, its general anti-inflammatory benefits help improve overall blood circulation, including bringing nutrients to your skin more efficiently and effectively.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic with immune-boosting properties due to its antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, and antibacterial aspects. As such, it aids in treating fungal infections and relieving skin ailments like eczema. It is also an effective remedy for fungal infections such as measles.
Raw Garlic Boosts Libido
Eating a few garlic cloves daily can help in boosting your sex drive. The high contents of Allicin found in raw garlic help the blood flow to your sexual organs, which is beneficial for both men and women.
In addition to boosting libido, some studies show that raw garlic also promotes male fertility. For example, an animal study conducted on male mice showed an increase in testosterone production as a result of the compound S-allyl,, which is found in garlic.
Consider taking two cloves of garlic a day to benefit your reproductive organs and enhance their function.
It is Good for Your Liver
Studies have shown that garlic can protect the liver from some toxins and help lower blood sugar levels. it contains a mineral known as selenium that cleanses the liver.
Selenium triggers the production of liver enzymes and flushes out toxins more efficiently, which benefits the entire body overall.
Just make sure not to overeat raw garlic as it can be damaging to this organ.
Reduces Blood Clotting
Another perk of eating raw garlic for a healthy heart is its ability to reduce blood clotting. Some compounds that are found in the garlic and onion family have been shown to decrease the stickiness of platelets and have anti-clotting properties.
Helps Prevent Atherosclerosis
Generally, healthy arteries are elastic and flexible. But these arteries become hard, stiff, and plaque buildup as we age. All of these factors restrict proper blood flow leading to a condition known as atherosclerosis. According to the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, atherosclerosis increases your risk for blood clots that can cause heart attacks and stroke. Because garlic may help to lower high blood pressure, it also helps prevent the scarring and hardening associated with atherosclerosis.
Some research has also shown that aged garlic extract can help reduce the amount of soft plaque in the arteries. Soft plaque is more likely to break off and cause a blockage that leads to a heart attack. One small study, which involved 55 patients aged between 40 to 75 years, tracked how the garlic supplement worked for a year. In the end, the researchers found that those who took the supplement saw an 80% reduction in soft plaque.
Hence, consider consuming more raw and cooked garlic as a preventative measure to protect your arteries. In addition to garlic, the National Heart, blood and Lung Institute recommends following a heart-healthy eating plan, managing your weight, getting plenty of exercise, and avoiding or quitting smoking.
Reduces Risk of Cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute while garlic might not cure cancer, some research suggests that eating it may help prevent certain kinds of cancer.
The sulfurous compounds in garlic have been studied for other abilities, such as inhibiting cancerous cells and blocking tumors. Some studies have associated garlic -and other members of the Allium family- with a reduced risk of certain cancers. Raw garlic can aid in the prevention of:
- Brain cancer
Garlic’s organo-sulfur compounds have been identified as effective in getting rid of the toxic cells in glioblastomas. Glioblastoma is a type of lethal brain tumor. Scientists from South Carolina’s Medical University reported in the American Cancer Research Journal that three organo-sulfur compounds found in garlic -, DADS, DATS, and DAS – showed the ability to eradicate brain cancer cells.
DATS demonstrated higher potency and effectiveness in eradicating these deadly cells out of all these compounds. However, more studies are needed to prove the effect of garlic on brain tumors.
- Colon cancer
For instance, the Iowa Women’s Health study, which included more than 40,000 women aged between 55 and 69, found that garlic consumption may decrease the risk of developing colon cancer.
- Gastric cancer
In a different 30-year study of 125,000 people, it was found that garlic consumption was associated with a reduction in gastric cancer risk. There are numerous foods that can assist in promoting heart health.
- Lung cancer
Likewise, a Chinese study involving hundreds of lung cancer patients found that eating raw garlic regularly helped lower the risk of contracting lung cancer. According to a 7-year study conducted at Jiangsu Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it was found that people who ate garlic at least twice a week reduced their risk of developing lung cancer by about 44%.
- Colorectal cancer
Different research studies suggest that eating raw garlic can help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. For example, the study by IOWA Women’s Health concluded that women who regularly consumed fruits, vegetables, and garlic significantly reduced their risk of colon cancer by about 35%.
However, researchers agree that more studies are needed in this area.
- Prostate cancer
Doctors from the Department of Urology in a Chinese hospital undertook a study examining the relationship between Allium consumption and the risk for prostate cancer.
The doctors gathered and probed published study reports up to May 2013. Their findings were documented in the Journal of Cancer Prevention.
The team concluded that Alliums, especially raw garlic, helped reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. The researchers, however, noted that there were few studies to support this. As such, more well-designed researches need to be conducted to back their findings.
Raw Garlic for Cardiovascular Health
There are numerous foods that can assist in enhancing heart health. But garlic is the answer if you are looking for a way to add flavor to your food while also helping your heart.
Although there isn’t extensive concrete evidence to support the heart-healthy benefits of garlic, some studies indicate that incorporating garlic into your diet can potentially lower your blood pressure and reduce your chances of developing heart disease.For starters, garlic adds flavor to meals without the need to add salt.
Garlic is also a natural at reducing heart disease risk because it lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. It also contains active compounds that help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases like strokes and heart attacks.
Garlic reduces the risk of heart disease by relaxing constricted or hardened blood vessels. It also prevents platelet aggregation. How does it work?
Garlic increases the production of nitric oxide, which keeps blood vessels relaxed. It also events platelets from binding to Protein, which reduces blood clots. Raw garlic has also been found to be protective against cardiomyopathy.
Cardiomyopathy is the primary cause of death among patients who have diabetes. It is a chronic disease of the myocardium (heart muscle), which is abnormally thickened, enlarged, and /or stiffened. In a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Garlic oil has been found by scientists to potentially offer protection for diabetes patients against cardiomyopathy.
The team fed diabetic laboratory rats either garlic oil or corn oil. Those who consumed garlic oil recorded significantly more changes associated with protection against heart damage than those fed corn oil. More research is necessary to comprehend the impacts on humans.
Diallyl trisulfide also helps protect the heart during cardiac surgery and after a heart attack. This is according to researchers at Emory University School of Medicine. They also believe that diallyl trisulfide can be used to treat heart failure.
In a lab experiment using lab mice, the researchers noted that after a heart attack, the mice put on diallyl sulfide had about 61% less risk of heart damage than untreated mice.
Reduced Risk of Infection
Raw garlic is widely recognized for its ability to fight viruses, fungi, bacteria, and even parasites. For example, one study found that Allicin, the active component of freshly crushed garlic, had antiviral properties and was also effective against a broad range of bacteria, including multidrug-resistant strains of E. coli.
Allicin has antifungal properties, including against Candida albicans, which causes yeast infections. In addition, its antiparasitic action helps fight major intestinal parasites like Giardia. Other studies have shown that Allicin inhibits the growth of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Raw Garlic for Lowering High Cholesterol
According to the American Heart Association, cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body needs to build cells and manufacture vitamins and other hormones. This waxy substance circulates in your blood. There are two types of cholesterol:
- Good cholesterol or HDL cholesterol
- Bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol
Your body naturally makes all the cholesterol it needs in your liver. But, you can also get cholesterol in the foods you eat.
Dietary sources of cholesterol are primarily animal products such as poultry, meat, and full-fat dairy. Because most of the food we eat is loaded with these foods, rising cholesterol levels have led the way to an epidemic of health problems linked to high cholesterol.
High cholesterol is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease. So knowing what to eat is critical for maintaining a healthy lifestyle if you have high cholesterol.
Having too much LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol levels in your blood can raise your risk for severe health problems. Fortunately, raw garlic can assist in lowering your total and low-density lipoprotein LDL cholesterol. In addition, it helps reduce the production of cholesterol by the liver.
A 2016 study found that a mix of raw garlic and lemon juice can help lower cholesterol levels in the blood. The small study, which involved 112 people aged between 30 to 60, showed that garlic and lemon juice (taken together) helped decrease total cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
However, researchers recorded the result after only eight weeks.
An analysis of studies done between 1955 to 2013 also showed that garlic moderately to significantly lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. When taken for more than two months, the garlic helped reduce total cholesterol by 8%.
Scientists from Ankara University examined the effect that garlic supplements had on the blood lipid profile of people diagnosed with high blood cholesterol. The study involved 23 volunteers, all with high cholesterol. 13, out of these, also had high blood pressure. The participants were given garlic extract supplements for four months.
After these four months, the scientists concluded the following:
- The supplementation of garlic extract helped improve blood lipid profile, strengthened blood antioxidant potential, and caused a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels.
- They also noted a reduction in the oxidation product levels, which meant a reduced oxidation reaction in the body.
In simpler terms, the garlic extract supplements lowered cholesterol levels in the blood as well as blood pressure in patients with hypertension. The scientists, however, stated that more work needs to be done as theirs was a small study. Nevertheless, the research findings were published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
Although more research needs to be conducted to determine the relationship between raw garlic and cholesterol levels, a study that was published in Medicine found that taking garlic was effective in lowering both cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol levels, which are both risk factors for heart disease.
According to a study published in the journal of Nutrition, aged garlic supplements can prevent the clogging of arteries and improve heart health. In addition, a different study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that patients who consumed just half a clove per day showed a significant reduction in cholesterol levels.
While some studies have shown that garlic can benefit cholesterol levels, more research is needed. In particular, scientists are looking to learn more about the long-term effects of garlic on cholesterol and the heart.
Raw Garlic for Alcohol-induced Liver Damage
Alcohol-induced liver damage is caused by excessive alcohol consumption over long periods. Therefore, scientists at the Institute of Toxicology conducted a research study to find out the effects of diallyl disulfide (DADS) on the protection oxidative stress caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
The scientists concluded that DADS may aid in the protection against ethanol-induced liver damage. Their study was published in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta.
Raw Garlic for Ulcers
Ulcers are sores that develop in different parts of the body. Ulcers occur when various factors like infections disrupt your stomach’s environment balance. Since garlic has both antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, these properties make it effective in fighting and warding off infections.
There are studies that support the effectiveness of garlic for treating ulcers. For instance, a 2016 study showed that garlic can aid in the prevention of ulcers. It also speeds up the healing process. What’s more is that different animal, human, and lab studies report that the use of garlic extracts may help prevent the growth of H. pylori. H. pylori is one of the leading causes of ulcers.
In another more recent study, it was found that eating raw cloves of garlic per day for three or more days reduces bacterial damage in the stomach lining of people suffering from H. Pylori infection.
That said, it is important to state that not all studies agree on the effects of garlic ulcers. Scientists still need to run more studies.
Prevents Preterm Delivery
Microbial infections raise a woman’s risk of preterm delivery (PDT) during pregnancy. Scientists from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health – Division of Epidemiology studied different foods’ impact on preterm delivery risk and antimicrobial infections. The study’s findings were recorded in the Journal of Nutrition.
The researchers concentrated on dried fruits and Alliums since a different study had sighted these foods as showing the ability to prevent the risk of preterm delivery. The team of scientists conducted a study that investigated the consumption of dried fruit and garlic among a group of over 18,000 women from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort. Out of these, 5% (950) underwent spontaneous preterm delivery.
The researchers concluded, “Intake of foods with prebiotic and microbial compounds had a significant effect on the reduction of the risk for spontaneous preterm delivery. In particular, raw garlic consumption helped lower the risk of spontaneous PTD.”
Rich in Antioxidant Enzymes
Oxidative damage from free radicals contributes to the aging process. However, as per a review published in July 2020 Antioxidants, the plant compounds and nutrients found in garlic give it powerful antioxidant properties.
The antioxidant properties in garlic help reduce oxidative stress in the body tissue. These antioxidants support the body’s protective innards against oxidative damage.
Besides relaxing blood vessels and reducing inflammation, antioxidants also get rid of the damaging free radicals that lead to chronic diseases like cancer. This helps slow down the process of aging and protects the body. In combination with garlic’s effects on cholesterol and blood pressure, these properties helps to protect the heart and brain.
For Cleaning Wounds
Garlic has long been used for cleaning wounds. Applying it topically may help prevent the wound from getting infected.
Multiple animal studies show that garlic extracts speed up the healing rate of a wound. All you need to do is crush one garlic clove and add it to one-third cup of clean water. Make sure to use this solution within three hours before it loses its potency.
Improves Brain Health
Free radicals aid in the aging process—garlic’s antioxidant properties help protect the body against oxidative damage.
Also, when you increase the number of antioxidants in your diet, it helps to boost brain health. It also contains magnesium and Vitamin B6, which are both linked to boosting mood and improving brain health.
This helps prevent the development of brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. In addition, garlic shields your cells from damage. Garlic’s high antioxidant capacity slows down aging and reduces oxidative damage. This, in turn, protects the body against cellular damage, effectively reducing your chances of developing brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Improves Physical Performance
When eaten raw, garlic can reduce fatigue that is caused by exercise, improving your athletic performance and physical capacity. Garlic also helps reduce peak heart rate in people with heart disease. this helps improve their training ability, which is crucial to maintaining a healthy heart.
In fact, in ancient times, garlic was used to improve the physical performance of laborers and improve the athletic performance of Olympic athletes in ancient Greece.
Keeps Bones Strong
With aging, the risk for osteoporosis increases, especially for women. Fortunately, there is some evidence that eating raw garlic can help protect against it.
Garlic works by increasing the estrogen levels in women entering menopause. During this period, their bones are most at risk for developing osteoporosis.
A study conducted on a group of women who had hit menopause found that eating 2 grams of raw garlic aided in the reduction of estrogen deficiency. What this means is that increasing estrogen intake improves bone health, especially in women.
A different study showed that garlic consumption slows the effects of osteoarthritis. While more studies are needed to confirm this connection, eating more garlic is highly recommended for people with osteoarthritis.
Detoxifies Heavy Metals in the Body
Eating raw garlic can help protect your body from heavy metals, which can lead to organ damage. The sulfhydryl compound in raw garlic helps remove toxic substances from the body. When consumed in high doses, these compounds protect your organs from heavy metals. In turn, related symptoms such as headaches and high blood pressure are improved.
A 4-week study was conducted on the staff of a car battery company who were predisposed to high levels of lead. The study found that garlic consumption aided in the reduction of blood lead levels by about 19%.
Garlic also helped reduce most of the symptoms of over-exposure to lead, including headaches and high blood pressure. In fact, three doses of raw garlic per day worked better than the drug D penicillamine in easing symptoms.
That said, it is important to understand that to address your risk of heart and circulatory diseases, it is important to think about your diet as a whole, as opposed to just one ingredient. Therefore, do not rely on garlic alone to lower your risk of heart disease.
Increases the Longevity of Your Organs
Garlic can benefit your heart, brain, and other organs. It reduces risk factors like cholesterol, blood pressure, and heavy metal toxicity. It also boosts your immune function. These properties all help you live longer. Garlic is also a rich source of antioxidants and nutrients.
Fights Fungal Infections
Fungal infections can range from ringworm and candida to jock itch and athlete’s foot. Garlic contains antifungal properties that combat these diseases. All you have to do is apply garlic oil or gel to the affected area. If you have oral thrush, you can chew on raw garlic or use a garlic paste. Even after the infection clears, try to eat raw fresh garlic even more to prevent reoccurring problems in the future.
Besides antifungal properties, garlic is excellent for anti-inflammatory and antiviral uses. Different allergies can cause respiratory issues. But garlic helps reduce airway inflammation that results from allergic rhinitis. In addition, minced garlic provides quick relief if you have a bug bite, rash, or other itchy problem. You can take raw garlic every day during allergy season to keep your allergies at bay.
Garlic Helps Quell Inflammation
According to Havard Health Publishing, scientists believe that chronic inflammation leads to chronic diseases including diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and heart disease. While most people think inflammation needs to be stomped out at all times, it actually plays an essential role in healing and injury repair to keep your body safe and healthy. But like most things in life, too much of anything can be harmful, and this is especially true for inflammation. Some inflammation is good, but too much is bad.
The goal is to be able to recognize when inflammation is doing its job and when it can potentially cause problems. For example, garlic helps inhibit the activity of certain inflammatory proteins, according to research published in Phytotherapy Research, in a controlled, double-blind study of 70 women with inflammatory autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis.
These women were randomly divided into two groups. The group that took 1000 milligrams of garlic supplements per day for eight weeks had lower inflammatory markers, less pain and fatigue, and fewer tender joints compared with a placebo group.
If you have an aching tooth, try rubbing raw garlic on the affected area. If you do not have sensitive gums, garlic can provide relief. Crush a clove of garlic and simply rub the broken pieces on your gum and tooth. The antibacterial and analgesic properties of garlic should soothe the pain temporarily.
According to a report recorded in the Journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, women whose dietary habits involved lots of allium vegetables like garlic, leeks, shallots, onions, and rakkyo had lower osteoarthritis levels. The study authors said their findings proved the possible effects of diet on osteoarthritis and showed the potential for using the compounds found in garlic to create a treatment for the condition.
The long-term study that involved more than a thousand healthy female twins showed that those whose nutritional diet included more fruits and vegetables, especially alliums like garlic, had fewer signs of early osteoarthritis in the hip joint.
A Powerful Antibiotic
Raw garlic is one of the most effective natural antibiotics. The power rises significantly if garlic is consumed raw and on an empty stomach. Eating raw garlic exposes the bacteria in our body to the tough healing properties of garlic. This helps prevent bacterial action in the gut.
Diallyl sulfide is another phytochemical found in garlic that was proven to be 100 times more effective in fighting Campylobacter bacterium than two popular antibiotics. This study was recorded in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.
The Campylobacter bacterium is a common cause of intestinal infections. From this study, it was evident that diallyl sulfide can potentially diminish disease-causing bacteria in our food supply and the environment. In addition, the antibiotic compounds and their volatile oil also help to treat coughs and colds.
Raw Garlic for Weight Loss
Eating raw garlic on an empty stomach stimulates appetite and digestion. Smooth digestion, among other things, aids in effective weight loss.
Raw garlic also boosts energy levels, allowing you to burn more calories throughout the day. Raw garlic is also effective for tummy problems like diarrhea which are caused by poor digestion. In addition, it boosts your metabolism even when you are resting, further helping you keep fit.
Garlic is also an appetite suppressant. It helps you stay fuller for longer. Which helps prevent overeating.
Helps with Digestion
Did you know that eating raw garlic helps to promote healthy digestion? Garlic is a potent antibiotic that strengthens the gut for better absorption of nutrients from food. As a result, garlic will help your stomach to function better. In fact, garlic stimulates your stomach membrane to create more gastric juices, which aid digestion. Garlic also helps your liver to release toxins from the body. it also protects the liver from harm.
That said, this does not mean that you should consume excessive amounts of smelly spice because it can irritate your tract and lead to heartburn. In addition, overeating garlic can lead to bloating, gas, and an upset stomach.
Side Effects of Consuming Raw Garlic
Is chewing raw garlic really safe? This is a very common question that comes to the minds of people looking want to start taking fresh garlic daily. However, it is important to understand that you should not continue with a health regimen that is causing you more harm than good.
Fortunately, raw garlic intake is safe for humans. You can safely eat 3 to 4 cloves of garlic every day. But even with its many health and nutritional benefits, consuming raw garlic doesn’t come with a fair share of cons. The cons of eating raw garlic include:
Lack of proper personal hygiene might not just be the only cause of foul body odor. For example, bad breath is the leading reason why most people avoid eating raw garlic. Although garlic flavor can be wonderful in food, you may not like its effect on your breath.
Garlic contains a variety of sulfur compounds, which are often credited with many health benefits. However, these compounds may cause bad breath, especially if eaten in large amounts. While the strong characteristic smell of garlic is unlikely to ever disappear, you can try covering it up with a breath freshener.
That said, do not shy away from consuming raw garlic because of this minor drawback. There are a few ways to get rid of garlic breath. For instance, always consume garlic early in the morning before breakfast and brush your teeth. Another effective way to help ward off bad breath from garlic is by eating it with an apple or mix of apple cider vinegar, water, and Honey. A lemon wedge may also do the trick.
Nausea and Vomiting
Another common disadvantage of eating raw garlic is that it can cause nausea and vomiting. The only way to know whether garlic will interfere with your digestive system is to try it out. Eat a few cloves of garlic, preferably on an empty stomach, to see whether you will experience any negative reactions.
If you start feeling nauseated, the chances are high that you have a sensitive tummy. In such a case, try to decrease the number of cloves you are taking. you can also try to dilute the garlic concentration. If you still experience any side effects, avoid consuming raw garlic altogether.
Do you notice a lot of bloating and flatulence on your abdomen after consuming raw garlic? If yes, the raw garlic you’ve just eaten could be the cause.
This effect occurs because raw garlic is high in fructans, a type of carb that may cause gas, stomach pain, and bloating in some people. In fact, if you are fructan intolerant and eat large amounts of garlic, the fructan isn’t fully absorbed in the small intestine. Instead, it travels to the colon intact and is fermented in the gut. this may contribute to digestive issues.
Garlic also contains sulfur, which has the ability to make gas in the stomach and may even cause diarrhea. You can use an over-the-counter medication to help ease the discomfort. You can also try some natural remedies like walking or swimming to manage the symptoms of garlic.
Those with gastroesophageal reflux disease are often advised to limit their garlic consumption to prevent heartburn. In fact, there are some phytochemicals found in raw garlic that may cause irritation to your digestive tract. As a result, you may experience a burning sensation in the stomach or chest. Heartburn is a pain that is felt in the chest and upper extremities in the abdomen. Sometimes, this heartburn can persist in the throat.
Heartburn occurs when stomach acid flows back into your esophagus, causing symptoms like nausea and heartburn. Most cases of heartburn are caused by indigestion. Other causes of heartburn include smoking, Intake of spicy foods, excessive alcohol intake, and other underlying health issues.
Garlic also possesses the potential to cause heartburn. This is because it decreases the lower esophageal sphincter tone, which is the ability of the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus to close and prevent acid from entering. In turn, this may trigger heartburn. Taking an antacid will immediately solve the heartburn but will not permanently fix this side effect.
Burning Mouth Sensation
Naturally, raw garlic has a much stronger smell and taste than cooked garlic. Some people may find this pungent taste unappetizing as the taste is not very delightful to the taste buds. You can expect to experience a mild to a high burning sensation in the mouth, depending on the sensitivity of your taste buds.
To ease the burning sensation in your mouth, cut the garlic into smaller pieces. This will make it easier to ingest the recommended daily garlic dose of 2 to 3 cloves of garlic per day if you’d like to make noticeable changes to your health. The best part is that there are many positives that you will experience by consuming this potent vegetable in the long term.
Inhibits Blood Clotting
One of the more severe side effects of eating too much raw garlic is that it increases your risk of developing a bleeding disorder, especially if you are due for surgery or are taking blood thinners. This characteristic comes from garlic’s natural blood-thinning abilities. In addition, garlic contains antithrombotic properties, which means that it may inhibit the formation of blood clots.
Although over bleeding due to garlic consumption is rare, it happens. For example, one report showcased a case where a patient experienced excessive bleeding after they ate about four cloves of garlic, equivalent to approximately 12 grams each day prior to surgery.
In a different case study, the victim experienced excessive bruising and discoloration and bruising after surgery. After investigation, it was found that the person was using a dietary supplement that contained garlic concentrates and fish oil. Both of these foods affect proper blood clot formation.
If you are a regular raw garlic consumer, you should stop eating it 7 – 10 days before any surgery you have planned. Also, avoid garlic if you are already taking an anticoagulant such as Coumadin (warfarin) or Heparin because the blood-thinning action of the medication may be reduced.
Generally, it is important to consult with a professional healthcare provider before eating raw garlic. The same applies if you are taking any medication or are set to have surgery.
It is Bad for the Liver
The liver is an important organ of our body. It performs various functions like the removal of ammonia from our body, blood purification, fat and protein metabolism, blood purification, among other functions. According to several studies, it has been found that garlic contains a compound called Allicin. When taken excessively, Allicin can cause liver toxicity.
This is another common side effect of raw garlic when applied directly to the skin. Raw garlic can easily cause inflammation and irritation to the skin when applied topically. Eating raw garlic may also lead to rash and skin irritation. Garlic contains an enzyme called alliinase. This enzyme usually causes skin rashes and itchiness.
Aggravates Vaginal Infection
One of the crucial things to keep in mind while suffering vaginal infection is to avoid eating raw garlic. Garlic can aggravate yeast infection by irritating the tender tissues of the vagina.
How to Eat Raw Garlic
As noted above, the benefits of eating raw garlic far outweigh the cons. Raw garlic has a significantly better nutritive profile than cooked garlic. This is why raw garlic is one of the most common toppings and ingredients for salads and veggies. Here are a few ways to enjoy raw garlic
Raw Garlic Preparation
- Make sure the garlic is fresh. This is because the allicin compounds in raw garlic degrade drastically if the garlic is made to sit out too long.
- Carefully peel the skin off of your preferred number of cloves and put the rest in the refrigerator for storage.
- Avoid eating too much garlic as it can shock your system, making you sick. Instead, cut your peeled garlic cloves into thin slices.
How to Take Your Raw Garlic
- Wash it down with water
Swallow a small chunk of the garlic and swallow with a full glass of water.
- Add in some honey
As noted above, garlic is a natural blood thinner. In addition, it helps in stabilizing high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. On the other hand, Honey lowers LDL, which is a type of bad cholesterol, making it helpful for heart patients.
Take 2-4 cloves of garlic and chop into thin slices. Sprinkle a teaspoon of natural Honey and enjoy. Consumption of this honey and garlic mixture is best taken on an empty stomach to treat acid reflux and regurgitation cases.
- Make some homemade salsa
During winter, take home some canned tomatoes. Pour the canned tomatoes into a dish and add in some minced garlic. Drizzle some olive oil over the mixture and serve with any dish.
- Stir it into your warm pasta sauce
If you love the robust flavor of garlic, then you will love it even more when added to homemade noodles. First, prepare a tomato sauce to eat with your noodles. Then, add a few cloves of garlic to the sauce as it simmers. Once it is ready, leave it to cool for a minute or two. Once cooled, add some more minced or chopped garlic to your sauce and stir it in for some extra garlic flavor and Nutrition.
- Add to mashed potatoes
A mix of garlic plus butter plus potatoes is downright delish. Mash potatoes with butter and then add some milk before mashing it some more. Serve the mashed potatoes and let them cool for a few minutes before garnishing them with freshly minced garlic.
- Make a toast
Dice your garlic up finely and add two teaspoons of melted or softened butter. Pour the mixture over the toast or spread it over the toast. You will be extremely surprised at how melted butter mellows out the flavors of garlic. Plus, it is super sumptuous! Alternatively, butter a piece of toast and garnish it with minced garlic cloves.
- Take it as it is
If you are man enough, just chew on a clove of garlic or two, swallow and call it a day.
Tip: choose a drink with a milkshake, smoothie, or kefir consistency to help blunt the flavor and make it easier to get the garlic down.
- Garnish your guacamole
Boost your guacamole’s flavor by garnishing it with minced cloves of garlic. Seeing that the flavor of avocado is rich and creamy, it will help mellow out the more robust and spicy taste of raw garlic. So add a few garlic cloves to your favorite guacamole recipe to make consuming raw garlic more palatable.
- Sandwich it
Make your favorite sandwich and stuff in a few cloves of garlic in the middle. Enjoy your spicy sandwich.
- Throw it into your favorite veggie salad
Take a few cloves of fresh garlic. Mince them before adding them to a salad dressing. You can eat the salad as is or spin it in the food processor for a more uniform texture.
- Like a pill
To avoid the pungent effect from chewing garlic, you can try cutting the clove into four small pieces and swallowing whole just like you would a pill.
Is There a Wrong Way to Consume Raw Garlic?
While you can never go wrong with eating raw garlic, please do not bite into a whole head of garlic. Two to four full cloves of garlic are all you need to gain from this herb. Going overboard with raw garlic will only cause stomachache, among other discomforts.
Consult with Your Doctor
People taking blood thinners should check with their doctor before consuming large amounts of raw garlic or using garlic supplements. Make sure to talk to your doctor about any dietary changes or new supplements you plan to take especially if you have an ongoing medical condition or are making adjustments to your diet that may influence how well one of the drugs work.
This is because raw garlic may sometimes interfere or conflict with your medicines or treatments. Your doctor will be able to determine the best supplement for you or can refer you to a nutritionist for more counseling.
The Bottom Line
Overall, garlic is a highly nutritious herb that is associated with a variety of potential health benefits. Although more research on the effects of garlic on your health is required, modern research suggests that garlic may have health benefits. So while it may not be a cure-all, it makes a nutrient-rich addition to any diet. Adding it to your daily menu is a delicious way to enjoy the many nutrients and phytochemicals it offers.
However, if you eat too much of it, it may cause side effects like acid reflux, bad breath, an increased risk of bleeding, and digestive issues. Therefore, it is best to enjoy your raw garlic in moderation and reduce your Intake if you start t experience any adverse side effects.
That said, do not discount the power of adding raw garlic to your favorite foods, which can contain a huge variety of nutrients and chemicals that may interact synergistically together in beneficial ways. In addition, deliberately eating raw garlic on a regular basis can give you long-term benefits. So do not hesitate to load up the garlic in roasted vegetables, soups, sauces, pasta, pesto, and hummus.
Raw Garlic Consumption FAQs
Does Raw Garlic Cause Allergic Reactions?
Though not common, raw garlic intake can trigger allergies. if you are allergic to garlic, it will be more evident when consuming it on a daily basis. Some symptoms of garlic allergies to look for include:
- Face swelling
- Difficulty breathing
- Blistering – when applied to the skin (bleeding gums or nosebleeds)
- Respiratory issues
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should stop consuming garlic and consult your doctor, who should provide medical advice on the best way forward.
When is the Best Time to Take Raw Garlic?
There is a lot of debate on when is the best time to consume garlic. Some people prefer to have it first thing in the morning, while others prefer to take it at night, just before bedtime. However, we would advise you to test and try eating garlic at different times of the day to see what works best for you.
Why is It Advisable to Eat Raw Garlic on an Empty Stomach?
Raw garlic is mostly eaten in the morning on an empty stomach. This is because the bacteria and other microbes present in the stomach and gut are most vulnerable before eating anything. Also, when you consume garlic on an empty stomach, no counter-acting foods, enzymes, or liquids are present to reduce garlic’s antibiotic effect.
Take raw garlic with water on an empty stomach to fix any digestive disorders. Doing this can also help with weight loss. Garlic increases thermogenesis in our cells and helps us burn extra fats. the antioxidant properties of garlic reduce the risk of having fatty liver and hepatic injury.
How Much Raw Garlic Should You Eat?
While no official recommendation exists for how much garlic you should consume, studies show that eating 1-2 cloves per day may have health benefits. If you notice any side effects after eating more than this amount, consider reducing your Intake.
People Also Ask
Is It Better to Eat Garlic Raw or Cooked?
Eating garlic raw is more beneficial than cooking it because some of its beneficial compounds may be destroyed by cooking. However, if you find it difficult to consume garlic raw, you may lightly cook it to make it easier to swallow and digest.
Can Eating Raw Garlic Affect You?
Raw garlic consumption can impact your body in different ways. These may include acid reflux, bad breath, a potential risk of bleeding, and digestive problems in certain individuals. If you have any negative reactions to garlic, try reducing your garlic intake or consider cooking it before consuming.
How Much Raw Garlic Should I Eat a Day?
Eating 1-2 raw garlic cloves daily is believed to have health advantages, but if you encounter any unfavorable outcomes after consuming this quantity, you should decrease your consumption. Keep in mind that every person’s response to garlic may differ, so it’s recommended to assess your tolerance level and adjust accordingly.
What is the Safest Way to Eat Raw Garlic?
To safely consume raw garlic, it is suggested that you mince or crush it and let it sit for 10-15 minutes to release beneficial compounds like allicin before eating. Alternatively, you can lightly cook garlic to reduce its strong taste.