Eating Garlic: What are the Health Benefits & Side Effects?

Eating Garlic: What are the Health Benefits & Side Effects?

Garlic, a kitchen must-have has also been known for its therapeutic benefits in the prevention and treatment of a variety of illnesses and in maintaining gut health. Recent studies have recognized the effects of garlic and its extracts in a variety of applications. Packed with potent chemicals, research has shown that it can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, exhibit anti-tumor and anti-microbial characteristics, and alleviate elevated blood glucose levels. 

Ways of Consuming Garlic  

Way 1: Include Them in Your Cooked Meals 

As it has been a part of Indian and many other cuisines for ages; garlic can be added to any stews, curries, some sauces, marinations, etc. 

  1. You can simply wash and finely chop the garlic, before cooking.
  2. In particular, when garlic is added to vegetables cooked in clarified butter or ghee, it doesn't increase cholesterol. 

Way 2: Consuming Raw Garlic

Although consuming raw garlic may not be the choice of most given its pungent smell and overwhelming flavour, it can be a healthy choice. Raw garlic retains allicin, a compound that contains sulfur, responsible for many of garlic's beneficial health effects making it an ideal spice to be consumed in its natural form. 

  1. Chop a garlic clove into 3-4 pieces, then place it on a spoon. 
  2. Add a few drops of honey and set it aside for a couple of minutes. 
  3. Just take a bite, chew the garlic, then swallow it. 

If you find the taste of garlic to be a little too strong, you can also take two to three sips of warm water along with it.

Benefits of Garlic 

Garlic is renowned for its many therapeutic qualities and has become a powerful natural cure in addition to its culinary abilities. It is abundant in inulin, a kind of non-digestible carbohydrate or "functional fibre" that nourishes the beneficial bacteria in the gut. It provides the necessary fuel for those bacteria to do their jobs more effectively, improving the general health of your gut. 

Here are Some of the Most Amazing Benefits of Garlic

  • Antiviral Benefits

Garlic not only promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gut but its compounds (sulfur constituents) help antiviral action against a range of viral infections. 

  • Immunity Booster Abilities

Garlic has been used for its antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties for ages. It could promote the body's ability to fight against or destroy viruses and other microorganisms, by boosting the immune system. 

  • Improves Gut Health

Digestive problems improve with the inclusion of raw garlic in the diet. It benefits the intestines and reduces inflammation. Eating raw garlic may also help in clearing out intestinal worms. Apart from these, one of the best benefits of garlic consumption is that it destroys the bad bacteria while protecting the good bacteria in the gut, which promote digestive health. 

  • May Help Reduce Blood Pressure 

According to a recent in vitro study, the primary active ingredient in garlic - allicin, is shown to help lower blood pressure. Allicin also helps in making it easier for your blood to flow freely, reducing blood pressure. 

  • May Help Manage Cardiovascular Diseases

In many parts of the world, garlic is used in concoctions that can be used to help manage cardiovascular illnesses. Garlic and garlic supplements have been linked to heart health benefits in many studies. These benefits include lowered blood pressure, cholesterol regulation, and prevention of cell damage. Eating garlic may also reduce the gathering of plaque in the arteries, according to other research.

  • Anti-tumor Benefits 

Garlic products and their components may have cancer-preventive properties, according to studies. Many strong bioactive chemicals with anticancer activities have been discovered in garlic. Research indicates that some chemicals found in garlic can aid in DNA repair, slow down the growth of cancer cells, and reduce inflammation.

Potential Side Effects 

  • Bad Breath

While there are benefits of consuming garlic raw, foul breath remains the main and most concerning side effect that is frequently linked to the herb. This makes most people sceptical about consuming it to gain the benefits. However, bad breath can be easily managed with a strong mouthwash or simply by brushing your teeth.   

  • Nausea & Vomiting

Other serious garlic side effects include nausea and vomiting, thus consuming large amounts of garlic must be avoided. Even in small amounts, the juice from a whole bulb is powerful and can function as a strong emetic. 

  • Interactions with Other Drugs

Garlic undoubtedly affects the levels of membrane transporters and the activity of enzymes that metabolize drugs in the intestine, liver, lung, and renal tissues. This suggests that supplementing with garlic may alter the therapeutic efficiency of any medications taken and result in food and drug interactions, which may lead to complications

Safe Amount of Daily Garlic Consumption

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledges the health benefits of garlic and considers it safe for consumption by people. However, if a sensitive person consumes large amounts, some adverse consequences may ensue. Therefore, it is advised to seek professional advice before adding this spice to one's daily meals. 

To Sum It Up

While garlic has many uses in cooking, it also has many positive effects on the general well-being of the body and gut health. It is an excellent addition to our everyday diets due to its strong therapeutic qualities, which include anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant actions. Garlic is a natural health powerhouse, with advantages ranging from boosting the immune system and heart health to perhaps lowering the risk of certain malignancies. 

FAQs

  • Does garlic cause gas?

Bloating and gas may occasionally be the result of a garlic allergy or intolerance. However, it can be managed by moderate consumption

  • Is garlic good for gastric issues?

Garlic can aid in stomach pain, gastritis, and ulcers. However, people who experience stomach pain should consume garlic in moderation. Garlic not only relieves stomach discomfort and epigastric pain, but it also lowers the risk of stomach cancer. 

  • Is garlic good for gas? 

People who experience frequent indigestion, particularly gas or bloating, can benefit from fresh garlic, as it’s highly effective in maintaining good gut health. Garlic's warming properties help relieve gas and bloating. One or two cloves can be eaten on an empty stomach with a glass of water, or you can make garlic soup.

References: 

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103721/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2211802011000374
Back to blog