The proven health benefits of garlic for fewer sick days and a healthy weight


Nagina Abdullah


July 9, 2018

Health Benefits of Garlic - Raw Garlic__

Health benefits of garlic include the legend of repelling vampires! I notice that my immune system is stronger and I have the power to overcome colds and the flu in days instead of weeks when I’m eating lots of garlic. The health benefits of garlic make me feel like I have superpowers. Garlic is the original “superfood.”

What’s a “superfood” anyway? It’s a low-calorie, high-nutrient food with medicinal properties. Garlic checks all three of these boxes and adds a flavor and complexity to meals unlike any other ingredient.

Garlic prevents serious brain disease, heart disease, cancer and helps healthy weight maintenance.

The health benefits of garlic are plentiful. Maybe warding off vampires isn’t at the top of things you worry about, but I bet warding off disease and sickness is. It’s not just the common cold either.

Here are some of the health benefits of garlic, plus the best ways to get more garlic (without repelling your co-workers.)

Garlic Benefits a Healthy Weight

Garlic helps protect internal organs against heavy metal and other toxicity. (1) Natural detoxing sheds excess weight because you’re not as inflamed.

Essentially, when your body is inflamed, it’s harder to lose weight. And when you’re severely overweight, you’re probably inflamed! Superfoods like garlic are a key way to break this unhappy cycle.

Garlic is also linked to a healthier body weight and lower fat stores. Researchers in Korea observed obese mice who are garlic had a lower body weight and less fat than obese mice who didn’t eat garlic. They also found their livers and blood was healthier than the mice who didn’t eat garlic. (2) Turmeric is another spice with incredible anti-inflammation and other fat-storage health benefits.

Another health benefit of garlic you might not think about initially is that you’ll just plain feel better! Detoxing will help you clear your system and start afresh. You’ll have more energy and  be up for exercise. Plus, your athletic performance will be better when you do. (1)

Knock Sickness Out with Garlic

A study by European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism found that a high dose of garlic extract (2.5 grams per day) can reduce the number of days sick with cold or flu by 61%. (3) That’s a lot fewer days in bed with a box of tissues or a bucket at the ready.

Garlic is also a natural antibiotic, which means it fights off any bacterial infections your body may be dealing with. 

Garlic is a healthy heart food. It keeps you on the track to a strong heart by supporting healthy blood pressure, balanced cholesterol and stabilized blood sugar (3)

Want strong bones? Garlic is an overlooked food for promoting bone health in women. It protects against estrogen deficiency, which can lead to bone loss. (1) Garlic is also known to help prevent and ease osteoarthritis in the hips. (5)

Garlic protects against brain disease, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, with antioxidants. (1)

It’s also anti-cancer. (4) Garlic is known to be effective in specifically defending the body against lung, brain, and prostate cancer. (5)

Fast Garlic Facts

Now for the tricky part, how exactly do you get as many health benefits of garlic as possible? How about without creating a natural barrier of people who don’t want to smell you?

Tip: Garlic must be crushed or chopped before cooking to release the maximum health benefits.

Raw garlic is technically best (bust also smelliest). Try crushing it, cutting it and leaving it out for at least 10 minutes before you add it to your recipes to cook. This will minimize bad breath and you’ll still get tons of health benefits. (1)

How to Use Garlic:

Add crushed or chopped garlic or garlic paste to soups, sauces, and salad dressings.

Different Forms Garlic Comes In:
  • Whole clove (crushed or chopped)
  • Garlic paste
  • Garlic powder
  • Supplements
  • Garlic oil
  • Garlic granules
How Much do I Need?

The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends 2 to 4 cloves of minced raw garlic per day (if you’re using it as a health supplement.) But notes several epidemiological studies that found consuming garlic 3 or more times a week may help prevent disease. Find the happy medium here for your body. (6)

Garlic Shortcuts:

– Buy pre-peeled garlic cloves in the produce section of Asian (and some standard) grocery stores

– Buy ready-made garlic paste. It’s peeled and pureed garlic cloves, which makes the flavor even more intense. But check the other ingredients. Paste can be handy, and you’ll still get some health benefits of garlic, but try to find a low-sodium brand. (Salt can bloat you.) 

– Fresh garlic is much better than garlic powder or granules for health. Fresh is packed with vitamins, minerals and amino acids that barely make it through to the spice shaker. But There are trace amounts. (7)

The quality of garlic in powder form can vary depending on how it was manufactured. (8) So, if you’re in a pinch and want a shortcut to intense garlicky flavor, keep a jar of powder around, but use fresh garlic more for the health benefits.

Downsides to Garlic:
  • Garlic (particularly raw) can have a pungent smell and that affects your breath
  • Some people are allergic to garlic
  • Raw garlic may aggravate the GI tract

Talk to your doctor ifYou have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood thinners (1)

Avoid garlic if:  You have asthma, ulcers or before surgery. Do not consume more than 2-3 garlic cloves in a day without consulting a doctor. (9)

Pregnancy: During pregnancy and breastfeeding, garlic is believed to be safe in food amounts but might be unsafe in medicinal amounts. (4)

Best ways to guard against any possible negative garlic side effects:
  • Consume garlic in the normal amounts called for in food
  • Eat traditional recipes incorporating garlic
  • Avoid taking raw garlic in large amounts. (4)

Are you a fan of the “stinking rose” AKA garlic? Or do you shy away from it because of the smell? Try adding cooked garlic in small amounts and let me know if you feel a difference!

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Nagina Sethi Abdullah, BA, MBA

Nagina Abdullah is a health coach for middle-aged women and professionals. She coaches women to boost their metabolism naturally, shed pounds and keep them off. Her work with weight loss clients led to the creation of Masala Body, an online weight loss platform that provides an easy and accessible system that helps women sustainably lose weight. She has helped over 1200 women successfully lose from 10-80 lbs and create a sustainable lifestyle change. Nagina earned her degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley.

Reader Interactions


  1. Aldona says

    First heard you on Million Pound Mission Podcast-you are awesome! Thanks for sharing all your knowledge and tips. Since hearing you I have incorporated Cinnamon, Ginger, Turmeric into my daily diet. Since I’m blessed to live in Adam’s hometown of Bloomington, IN, I did lose 35lbs via his 8 Wk boot camp. Thanks so much for ALL you do for your audience!????

    • Avatar photoNagina says

      Wow Aldona! Thank you for sharing and great job for incorporating all of these flavorful, fat-burning, digestion-boosting spices into your diet!

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