Garlic: Health Benefits And Harms

Leticia Celentano Author: Leticia Celentano Time for reading: ~8 minutes Last Updated: August 29, 2022
Garlic: Health Benefits And Harms

Composition and useful properties of garlic. Ways to deal with garlic breath. Contraindications and features of use. Recipes. Growing garlic on a windowsill.


  1. Introduction.
  2. What does garlic contain?
  3. Essential oil of garlic.
  4. Garlic breath and how to deal with it.
  5. Who shouldn't eat garlic?
  6. Garlic mask.
  7. Recipes with cloves, arrows and garlic leaves.
  8. How to grow garlic at home.
  9. Conclusion.


Not everyone loves garlic, especially children. And very in vain - this is a useful plant. Garlic has a lot of medicinal properties. Moreover, garlic cloves, leaves, and arrows are also rich in biologically active substances.

What does garlic contain?

Garlic is a perennial plant, belongs to the Amaryllis family, has been known for a long time, is grown by man everywhere. The plant has a peculiar smell and a pungent taste. Depending on the place of growth, on the variety, on the growing conditions and climatic conditions, garlic contains useful substances in various concentrations.

Approximate composition:

  • vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C);
  • macro- and microelements (germanium, iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, sodium, selenium, sulfur, phosphorus, zinc).

Germanium is an excellent antioxidant. It has antitumor and anti-inflammatory properties, improves the saturation of tissues with oxygen. In addition to garlic, germanium is found, for example, in aloe, ginseng root.

Selenium is an essential trace element for human health. Participates in the metabolism and formation of proteins in the body, is necessary for the functioning of the thyroid gland, slows down the aging process, is part of glutathione peroxidase, which protects biological membranes from free radicals.

Sulfur is sometimes called a female trace element, since it is needed for the synthesis of hormones (insulin, calcitonin), vitamins (biotin, thiamine), glutathione, taurine, as well as the amino acids cysteine ​​and methionine, which in turn are part of keratin. This is a protein that mainly consists of skin, hair, nails, joints. No sulfur - no beauty.

In addition, the composition of garlic includes:

  • phytoncides;
  • essential oil;
  • phytosterols (plant sterols that lower cholesterol levels by preventing it from being absorbed by competitively binding to receptors in the gut).

The use of garlic is very welcomed by doctors, because it has the following properties:

  • hypolipidemic (reduces the concentration of so-called bad cholesterol - low density lipoproteins) in the blood. A 2020 study of 98 people with NAFLD found that those who took 800 mg of garlic powder per day for 15 weeks experienced significant reductions in ALT, AST, LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides compared to the placebo group;
  • antiaggregatory (prevents thrombosis);
  • anti-atherogenic (reduces the risk of atherosclerosis);
  • antihypertensive (helps lower blood pressure). In one study, 84 men and women who took two capsules of aged garlic a day for 3 months saw their systolic blood pressure drop an average of 11.8 mmHg. Art., diastolic did not change in comparison with the placebo group. Of course, this does not mean that a person with cardiovascular diseases needs to give up drugs and eat only garlic. However, it should be remembered that it can enhance the effect of these drugs;
  • hypoglycemic (lowers blood glucose levels);
  • hepatoprotective (helps restore liver cells);
  • antioxidant (fights free radicals);
  • immunomodulatory;
  • anti-inflammatory;
  • anticancer (reduces the risk of oncological diseases, especially such as prostate cancer and cancer of the breast and cervix). The combination of garlic and tomatoes is especially good;
  • nephroprotective (helps preserve kidney function);
  • anti-amyloidogenic (reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease);
  • anthelmintic (used as a means for the prevention of parasitosis).


essential oil of garlic

The essential oil contained in garlic has bacteriostatic (inhibits the reproduction of microorganisms) and bactericidal (causes the death of microorganisms) properties. Garlic contains alliin. When you crack or cut a clove of garlic, it destroys its cells. Under the influence of alliinase, which is activated in the presence of oxygen, the process of formation of allicin, as well as other types of sulfur compounds, which determine the specific smell and taste of garlic, occurs. Allicin is a volatile phytoncide - a biologically active substance that has antibacterial, antiviral and fungicidal (antifungal) properties, resistance does not develop to it. Therefore, garlic extract is added to some drugs and nutraceuticals. Allicin reduces the level of cholesterol and the synthesis (formation) of triglycerides in the liver, neutralizes free radicals. In the blood, it enters into certain reactions, resulting in the formation of a small amount of hydrogen sulfide, which reduces the tension of the blood vessels, and consequently, blood pressure. This has a beneficial effect on the functioning of the heart, and tissues and organs are better supplied with oxygen.

Unfortunately, allicin breaks down very quickly when heated. Therefore, in order to achieve a good effect, it is more correct to eat raw garlic, for example, adding it to salads. You can save the beneficial properties of allicin with the help of vegetable oils. Sharing the recipe:

  • disassemble the head of garlic into cloves and cut each clove into slices;
  • put garlic and a few sprigs of rosemary or basil (optional) at the bottom of a glass half-liter bottle (made of dark glass);
  • pour unrefined olive or sesame oil;
  • put in a cool dark place for a week to infuse.

This garlic oil should also be stored in a cool, dark place. It is advisable to eat it within a month or two.


Garlic breath and how to deal with it

One of the reasons for the dislike of garlic is the appearance of bad breath, that is, halitosis.

Due to the presence of sulfur, garlic can affect the odor itself and the intensity of the smell of sweat. The volatile compound enters the circulatory and respiratory systems during the digestion of food, as a result of which breath and sweat acquire a characteristic odor. The thing is that such components of garlic as allicin and alliin are converted in our body into other substances that enhance the interaction of bacteria with sweat. Garlic enhances the body's heat transfer and stimulates perspiration.

A persistent garlic flavor can be felt for up to three days after eating a meal containing this healthy vegetable. There are several ways to avoid halitosis:

Method 1.

A common cause of long-lasting bad breath is leftover garlic stuck between your teeth. Therefore, after eating, you should brush your teeth well with a brush, use an irrigator (a device that cleans the oral cavity with a jet of water supplied under pressure), or at least rinse your mouth thoroughly.

Method 2.

After a garlic meal, it is advisable to eat a raw apple or chew mint leaves.

Many begin to eat garlic in large quantities during colds. If there are no contraindications (read about them below), this is justified. Although you always need to remember the measure. But instillation of a garlic solution is likely to harm the human body: the nasal mucosa may become inflamed, and the infection will spread to the underlying parts of the respiratory tract.

Who Shouldn't Eat Garlic

Fresh garlic strongly irritates mucous membranes, so it is not recommended to eat it for people with flatulence and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (gastritis, peptic ulcer of the stomach and duodenum, biliary dyskinesia, liver health problems), especially in the acute stage. And in general, it is better for no one to eat garlic on an empty stomach. Contraindications include epilepsy and allergies. It is necessary to observe the measure for people with reduced blood clotting, low blood pressure and low blood glucose levels.

Pregnant women can consume garlic, but no more than 2-3 cloves per day. And in any case, it is advisable to consult a doctor.

It is good for children to introduce garlic into the diet when they reach the age of two. It is clear that not all kids will like the burning taste, so you can rub a small piece of whole grain bread with garlic and give the baby a try. Usually this experiment is very successful.


Garlic mask

Women's sites often post descriptions of garlic hair masks. Garlic, causing a burning sensation, increases blood circulation, which leads to hair growth. However, such a mask can be harmful. This mainly concerns people with hypersensitivity of the scalp, individual intolerance, allergies to mask components, skin lesions, dermatological diseases. Itching, irritation, burns may occur.

Mask recipe:

Mix 1 part minced garlic cloves, 1 part honey, add some coconut oil. Apply to the scalp, massaging it. Wrap your head. Wash off after 1 hour. In case of severe burning, wash off immediately. This mask can be done no more than 1 time per week.

To rid your hair of garlic smell, it is enough to rinse it well and rinse with a lemon solution (juice of one lemon per liter of water). Nevertheless, it is advisable not to make such a mask before important meetings and after hair coloring, because individual reactions are unpredictable.


Recipes with cloves, arrows and garlic leaves

We wrote above that all parts of garlic are used by humans. Here are some recipes:


  • scroll the garlic arrows in a meat grinder along with butter (fat content of at least 82.5%). Stir, put in the refrigerator. Spread on bread or crispbread like regular butter;
  • finely chop the garlic leaves (you can add any other greens, such as parsley), mix with diced eggs, salt, pour over lemon juice, sprinkle with olive oil;
  • grate hard cheese and garlic on a fine grater, add sour cream. Cut the tomatoes into circles, put a mixture of cheese, garlic and sour cream on them.

After heat treatment, garlic has an excellent taste and does not lose its nutritional and health value. Nevertheless, raw garlic is most useful. Add it to your favorite sauces, salad dressings, soups and more.


How to grow garlic at home

Heads of garlic can always be found in stores. If you want to provide yourself with fresh green leaves, grow garlic on the windowsill from cloves, and preferably immediately from sprouted cloves. Depending on the seed, the first shoots will appear in one to three weeks. So, the process itself:

  • take a container with a depth of at least 10 cm, pour the earth, you can pour it with a weak solution of potassium permanganate for disinfection;
  • divide the head into cloves and plant them in the ground at a distance of 4–5 cm from each other so that the sharp tips peek out a little;
  • water every 2-3 days with a spray bottle;
  • usually young greens begin to be eaten when it grows to 15–20 cm;
  • first cut off the extreme leaves, then new ones will begin to grow from the middle;
  • plant new batches of cloves at weekly intervals to provide yourself with a wonderful product for the whole year.


Garlic has a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular, digestive, respiratory, immune and other systems of the body, brings many benefits, the main thing is to use it wisely. 

About | Privacy | Marketing | Cookies | Contact us

All rights reserved © ThisNutrition 2018-2024

Medical Disclaimer: All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that each post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, in which I receive a very small commission for referring readers to these companies.