What’re the Health Benefits of Garlic?

Last updated on July 16th, 2023 at 12:39 pm

10 minutes read.     

Image Credit: istockphoto            

Garlic has been used in many cuisines for its unique flavor and as a home remedy for many health concerns in different countries right from ancient times to date.

Unfortunately, some persons are totally ignorant of all the natural value packed in this healing plant.

I hope you’re not one of them.

Even if you already heard enough about garlic, believe me, scientists are at work. More new discoveries about garlic are coming out.

In this article, you’re going to learn everything you need to know about garlic for your health and how to blend it well with all your favorite recipes in 10 minutes.

Feel free to skim through if any of the topics interest you most.

My friend, if you haven’t been eating garlic, you’re missing a whole lot.

Garlic has been part of kitchens for centuries. This herb has curative and medical properties because of its antibacterial and antiseptic nature.

Overall, garlic may have positive effects on your heart health, immunity, and much more.

What Is Garlic?

Garlic is an aromatic and flavorful bulb-shaped plant. It’s a perennial plant botanically known as Allium sativum which belongs to the family amaryllis (Amaryllidaceae), examples include chives, leeks, onions, and scallions.

Have you heard of garlic clove before?

You see, the garlic bulb is covered with several layers of inedible papery skin that when peeled away reveal the edible partitioned fleshy part called cloves. Take a look at the picture below;

Garlic cloves

Image Credit: Getty

The garlic plant is native to some countries of the world and grows wild in Italy as well as Southern France while some countries in Africa naturally cultivate it for its essential health benefit.

You know what, eating garlic regularly is not only good for us, many researchers have proved that it has been linked to reducing or even helping prevent four of the major causes of death worldwide, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and infections.

I know you would want me to go straight telling you all the health benefits of garlic.

 But do you know there’re kinds of garlic and their curative nutrients may vary as well?

7 Types of Garlic

There’re various kinds of garlic bulbs grown in different parts of the world, however, they’re only two main subspecies: sativum (softneck) and ophioscorodon (hard neck).

Anyways I won’t go into a detailed explanation of each type, let’s just run a list with pictures.

  1. German porcelain garlic
Image Credit: istockphoto

One of the best hard-neck garlic for flavor and keeping.

It has large bulbs containing 4-5 huge cloves.

Its wrappers are splashed with purple and the cloves are striped and easy to peel. It has a rich, mildly hot flavor.

Sub specie: porcelain hard neck 

Hardiness: 3-8

Storage: up to 6 months

2. Northern white garlic

Image Credit: istockphoto

Very easy-to-grow porcelain, hard-neck garlic-producing large bulbs.

 It has thick, paper-white outer wrappers encase 6 to 8 large, fat, elongated cloves. Its full-bodied spicy flavor makes it superb for roasting.

 Easy to peel. Winter is hardy and stores well.

Sub specie: porcelain hard neck

Hardiness: 3-8

Storage: up to 8 months

3. Chesnok red garlic

Image Credit: istockphoto

An outstanding hardneck garlic hailing from shvelisi in the Republic of Georgia.

 It is the best for cooking and baking as it retains its shape, and has a very creamy texture, and full-bodied flavor.

Whitish, purple-stripe wrappers enclose 8 to 12 cloves. Easy to peel.

Sub specie: HAardneck

Hardiness zone: 3-8

Storage: up to 12 months

4. Musik garlic

Image Credit: istockphoto

A hardy, high-yielding, hard-neck porcelain variety out of Canada that grows well in the northern climates.

It has very large bulbs yielding 4 to 5 buff-colored cloves.

 It has a good flavor, easy to peel.

Sub specie: hard neck

Storage: 6 months plus

Hardiness zone 3-8

5. Vietnamese red garlic

Image Credit: GettyImag

It is all about flavor with this hard-neck rocambole garlic.

The easy-to-peel purple-striped cloves have a smooth, creamy texture and a flavor that’s a perfect balance of sweet and savory.

Stores well.

Sub specie: hard neck

Hardiness zone: 3-8

Storage: 6 to 8 months

6. Italian late garlic

Image Credit: Getty

 A softneck artichoke garlic with tight, light-colored wrappers surrounding fat, round-out cloves.

 It has a pleasing rich garlic flavor. It is very productive and can be braided.

 Contains 8 to 12 cloves per bulb.

Sub specie: soft neck

Storage: up to 6 months

7. Elephant garlic

Image Credit: Getty

This isn’t a true garlic variety but a type of leek.

It has a mild flavor good for soups, salads, and sauces leaving no garlic aftertaste.

It is actually a member of the Leek family. Elephant garlic bulbs can grow up to one pound or more, each with 5 to 7 huge pound ore, each with 5 to 7 huge cloves.

Hardiness zone: 3-9

Storage: 6 to 10 months

Now you know all varieties of garlic. Are you wondering which one will provide you with maximum health benefits and flavor?

That shouldn’t bother you, all varieties of garlic contain similar health benefits.

Now let’s dive into the reality of garlic.

7 Proven Health Benefits of Garlic You never knew                                                      

Garlic has many claimed health benefits, however, here am going to explain seven solid scientifically proven health benefits of garlic that you should take seriously.

1. Can Protect Your Hearth

Evidence from clinical trials had showed that garlic has a role to play in either preventing or delaying cardiovascular disease.

 However, more research is still required to convince health workers, consumers, and regulatory bodies.

If you’ve never thought about the health of your heart, now is the time to give it some attention especially if you’re up 50 years.

Your so-called ‘ticker in tip-top-top shape‘ simply means the healthy status of your heart is at risk when the flow of blood is blocked off to a section of the heart muscle, causing oxygen deprivation.

If blood isn’t returned quickly, it may lead to a heart attack.

So daily seasoning of your food with garlic can help to reduce your blood pressure, which is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

More so, garlic has been reported to decrease unstable angina, that’s lack of blood flow and oxygen to the heart.

It increases the elasticity of blood vessels and reduces peripheral arterial occlusive disease (lack of blood flow to the limbs).

If you’re taking a cholesterol-lowering medication, seasoning your food with garlic regularly, either heated or raw will help to slow the progression of calcium buildup in the arteries.

However, a landmark March 2006 review in The Journal of Nutrition, which is still the most comprehensive on the topic says, the number of trials in these areas is limited.

2. Has an Anti-inflammatory Effect

Research from American Heart Association has shown that a high intake of garlic powder can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar due to its anti-inflammatory agent.

An older but frequently referenced January 2007 study in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry found that garlic may have anti-thrombotic effects, meaning it could play a role in preventing blood clots.

Do you think garlic makes your blood thinner?

Maybe, but only temporarily and slightly according to an older review from JAMA Internal Medicine on March 2001

As a result, if you’re taking a blood thinner like warfarin or planning surgery, it’s advisable to talk to your doctor before taking garlic supplements because it tends to be more concentrated than the normal garlic you take.

Garlic supplements increase the risk of bleeding, and thin the blood aspirin says research from the National Institute of Health.

The powerful antioxidants and sulfur compounds found in garlic may help reduce inflammation and protect your cells against aging, oxidative stress, and damage.

Allicin an organosulfur compound found in garlic could have anti-inflammatory properties says a preclinical review from Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center.

That’s very important because chronic inflammation seems to be the underlying cause of many major degenerative diseases, including heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

3. Can Support Your Liver Function

Your liver is the key to digesting food and eliminating toxic substances, said Mayo Clinic

Why is garlic good for your liver health?

 Garlic can activate liver enzymes that help your body flush out toxins naturally, says Fisher-Titus Medical Center a hospital in Ohio.

Generally, if you’re getting a wide range of vegetables and fruits, daily consumption of garlic as well as eating a balanced diet that limits high-calorie meals, saturated fat, sugars, and refined carbohydrates, this can keep your liver healthy according to American Liver Foundation.

What’s more? Garlic powder supplements may help to decrease body weight and fat in people with fatty liver disease according to  January 2016 study in Advanced Biomedical Research.​

Though most experts don’t recommend garlic supplements for the majority of people.

4. Lung Cancer Risk

A study conducted at the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China says people who ate raw garlic at least twice a week during the 7 years study period had a 44 percent lower risk of developing lung cancer.

Could you imagine this, researchers who published their study in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, carried out face-to-face interviews with 1,424 lung cancer patients and 4,543 healthy individuals.

They were asked about their diet and lifestyle, including questions on smoking and how often they ate garlic.

The study authors wrote: “Protective association between intake of raw garlic and lung cancer has been observed with a dose-response pattern, suggesting that garlic may potentially serve as a chemo-preventive agent for lung cancer” as per medical news today.

5. High blood pressure

A study published in 2014 in the National Library of Medicine found that aged garlic has “the potential to lower blood pressure in hypertensive individuals similarly to standard blood pressure medication.

Really interesting.

The study further explains that garlic’s polysulfide component promotes the opening or widening of blood vessels and, hence, blood pressure reduction.

If you’re already taking anti-hypertensive medication and still having uncontrolled hypertension.

Guess what! You’re covered with aged garlic.

According to Dr. Axe, one study looked at the effect of aged garlic extract as an adjunct treatment for people already taking the anti-hypertensive medication yet still having uncontrolled hypertension.

Another study published in the Scientific Journal Maturitas evaluated about 50 people with “uncontrollable” blood pressure.

 It was uncovered that simply taking four capsules of aged garlic extract (960 milligrams) daily for three months caused blood pressure to drop by an average of 10 points.

That’s a good range, right?

6. Colds and Infection

One scientific study published in the Jundishapur Journal of Microbiology showed that fresh garlic extract displayed evident inhibition properties against some microbial infections such as candida albican and can be used to improve the efficacy of some antibiotic drugs on infection.

Scientific experiments have shown that the supper biochemical compound contained in garlic called allicin, is highly effective at killing countless microorganisms responsible for some of the most common infections, including the common cold.

In a study conducted on people during the cold season between November and February, some were placed on garlic supplements for 12 weeks while some were placed on a placebo(normal cold drugs) for the same period.

Guess what! those supplemented with garlic spice were less likely to get a cold, and if they did get a cold, they recovered faster than the placebo group.

The study recorded that garlic’s ability to prevent the common cold is dependent on its biochemical active component called allicin.

 Its antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal properties which are linked to allicin, also can help relieve the common cold as well as other infections.

7. Can Improve Athletic Performance

Do you know anybody who’s Athletic?

Garlic was one of the earliest “performance-enhancing” substances.

It was traditionally used in ancient cultures to reduce fatigue and improve the work capacity of laborers.

Most notably, it was originally given to Olympic athletes in ancient Greece.

 Much scientific research suggested that exercise-induced fatigue may be reduced with garlic.

Studies conducted on rodents have shown that garlic helps with exercise performance, but very few human studies have been done.

More so, another scientific study carried out on people with heart disease showed that those who took garlic oil for 6 weeks had a 12% reduction in peak heart rate and better exercise capacity.

However, a study on nine competitive cyclists found no performance benefits.

Other reasons you should consume garlic include;

Skin and Ear Infections

You can use garlic oil for infections. Using the oils of the garlic plant is an excellent natural remedy for many types of infections, including ear and skin infections.

Evidently, traditional cultures that don’t typically struggle with these types of diseases receive regular intake of garlic in their diets.

 Weight Loss

If you want a flat belly.

Garlic may be the best option for you.

This herb helps boost your metabolism. That’s to say, it helps to increase the rate of food digestion which is linked to a flat belly.

Adding raw or cooked garlic to healthy and well-balanced meals every day can promote your weight loss.

In addition to this plant benefit, it may help sexually too.

Because allicin promotes blood flow to reproductive organs and stimulates circulation, you may find that adding this spice to your diet improves your sexual health.

How to use garlic for maximum benefits

There are different methods you can use to take garlic and still get all the health benefits.

It has been observed that some people don’t like eating garlic cloves raw, probably to avoid body odor, mouth odor or stomach upset that often arises when taking raw garlic cloves.

However, for some health conditions, garlic cloves are best consumed raw.

For Microbial infection, Cold, Heart Health, and Diabetes.

You can crush, chew, or slice some garlic cloves, then allow it to stand for a few minutes before taking it with a warm glass of water on an empty stomach.

Allowing it to stand for a few minutes helps to activate alliinase enzymes. 

These enzymes then convert some of the clove’s allin into allicin.

Allicin rapidly breaks down to form a variety of organosulfur compounds which is responsible for its microbial effect.

But if you can’t take garlic with this method, relax I have another procedure for you.

It’s called garlic tea.

To make this tea, get two cloves of garlic crush it, transfer it to a pot, pan, or kettle as the case may be, add one cup of water, and boil for 5 minutes, add a half teaspoon of cinnamon if there’s any, stir and allow the mixture to boil for extra 2 minutes, then tune off the flame.

Pour it into a cup and add one teaspoon of honey, if you have lemon juice, add half a teaspoon, then tweak the tea to your taste and drink.

Garlic tea

Image Credit: Getty


Cooked garlic still has a lot of value. In fact, the antioxidant value is equal (or sometimes even higher) when cooked, unlike in most foods, cooking tends to decrease nutritional content.

Let’s make garlic stew.

Garlic stew

Image Credit: Getty

Do you like this recipe?

Wash one chicken breast and cut it into small cubes. Take a pressure cooker, add one teaspoon of butter, add 4 garlic cloves, and minced garlic, toss it nicely, and add one onion chopped, then add four peppercorns, and one teaspoon of parsley, and toss nicely for a minute.

Then add in the chicken cube and four whole garlic cloves, one inch of ginger minced, and three cups of water.

Slow cook the stew and pressure cook the stew, allow to cook for 3 to 4 whistles, and serve hot with coriander leaves.

In some part of Africa, you can crush, pound, or grind some cloves of garlic, and use it to spice your tomato stew, jollof rice, or porridge yam.

 You can also grind garlic and mix it with ground beans to spice your bean cake, porridge ground beans (moimoi), or beans stew.

 Also, you can use crushed garlic to cook meat, chicken, chicken stew, or paper soup.

In some countries like America, you can add raw garlic to recipes that are sauteed, roasted, or baked.

You can also toss some raw garlic into your next homemade salad dressing, marinade, tomato sauce, soup, or stew.

When you add raw garlic spice to any vegetable, fish, or meat dish, is sure to intensify the flavor and offer health benefits.

Of course, cooked garlic benefits are also impressive and offer a mild flavor when added to meals, like garlic aioli (sauteed garlic with olive oil).

You can as well roast the garlic before cooking it.

Simply chop off the top heads until the cloves are exposed. Then drizzle it with olive oil and wrap it with foil.

To roast garlic, leave it in a 400-degree oven for about 30 minutes, until the cloves become brown and tender.

Here are other recipes where you can get a blend of garlic spice to your taste

Garlic Baked Chicken, Garlic Sweet Potato Soup, Basil Pesto, Heart Health Juice, Garlic bread (best with a sprouted and fresh-baked loaf of bread).

Others include Garlic with olive oil on gluten-free or whole wheat pasta, garlic mashed potatoes, and even garlic butter that can be added to bread or veggies for extra flavor and benefit.


Maybe you’re wondering, how many cloves of garlic you suppose to eat to maximize the health benefits.

Let’s check it out.

For general health promotion for adults, the World Health Organization recommends a daily dose of one of the following:

  • Two to five grams (about one clove) of fresh garlic (could be raw, sauteed, or roasted garlic)
  • 0.4 to 1.2 grams of dried garlic powder
  • Two to five milligrams of garlic oil
  • 300 to 1,000 milligrams of garlic extract

how to Store garlic

The best way you can preserve garlic is to store it at room temperature and should always be kept dry (to prevent it from sprouting).

Risk and Side Effects,

Do you think some people don’t need to eat garlic?

Oh yes, some persons may not need to eat garlic due to one reason or the other.

Let’s analyze it.

Generally, garlic in any form can increase bleeding risk because it acts as a natural blood thinner.

So consult your doctor before consuming raw garlic if you take blood thinners.

Similarly, if you’re planning for surgery, stop taking the spice at least two weeks before the surgery or speak to your doctor about it.

If you have any gastrointestinal problems, like ulcers avoid this spice, especially on an empty stomach. It can cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract (stomach upset).

Talk to your doctor before consuming raw garlic if you have low blood pressure, thyroid problems, or any other ongoing health concerns.

Has your skin ever been touched by garlic juice directly?

 If yes, you must have noticed, it can cause severe skin irritation if applied to the skin alone directly.

If you’re pregnant or a nursing mother, this spice is believed to be safe in food in a little quantity but might be unsafe in medicinal amounts.

 However, it should never be given to children in large doses.

When you take raw garlic orally, it can cause a burning sensation in the mouth or stomach, bad breath, heartburn, gas, bloating, nausea, vomiting, body odor, diarrhea, etc.

If you have made it to the end, I appreciate the time you spend with me.

let’s summarize.


Ultimately, whether you’re using cloves of garlic raw or cooked, you can increase the benefits of garlic by chopping or crushing it and allowing it to stand for a few minutes before eating. It’s true.

Based on scientific proof, it’s no doubt that garlic is a home remedy for so many health concern condition.

The better way to get the best out of garlic is to begin now to make it your daily spice.  

You can start taking garlic tea at least once a week.

 Or try blending the spice with 3 to 5 cloves in your recipe once a week just like I do.

Don’t wait until a health issue arises before you consider eating garlic.

Garlic is my favorite spice right from childhood. I am a living testimony of some of the health benefits of garlic I mentioned here.

Indeed, garlic is such a value-based vegetable plant you should give attention to.

I hope you get the value worth your time, I appreciate the time you spend with me. Leave a comment below if you find this article helpful and don’t forget to drop your question, opinion, or criticism if any. Cheers!


The content provided in Living Good is for informational and educational purposes only. It’s not intended to provide medical advice or take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal doctor. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Living Good takes no responsibility for possible health consequences of any person(s) reading or following the information in this educational content. Viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medication, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

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