Should You Eat a Clove of Garlic a Day?

Allicin, a compound found in garlic, is purported to have a whole range of health benefits. However, the scientific evidence doesn't back up a lot of those claims.
Should You Eat a Clove of Garlic a Day?
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Have you ever heard people recommend a clove of garlic a day to prevent illnesses? It’s a popular natural preventative remedy, but is it effective?

While garlic can be an important part of a balanced diet, it isn’t a foolproof solution or treatment in and of itself. Popular opinion suggests otherwise, but available scientific evidence does not appear to support claims of garlic as a cure-all.

Garlic isn’t “powerful”

Garlic has become wildly popular in recent years due to the belief that it contains certain compounds that prevent illnesses such as anemia, heart failure, sinusitis, and all kinds of infections. Not only that, it’s supposed to be antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antioxidant, etc.

This idea of garlic as a miracle food is a product of some rushed conclusions based on a variety of published studies.

The anecdote of carrots and their supposed “power” to guarantee good vision is similar to the myths about garlic. In both cases, people attribute all manner of health benefits to the foods without any scientific basis.

Whether you eat it whole, with water, crushed, with vegetable oil, etc., at the end of the day it’s just food. It doesn’t have any extraordinary powers. It doesn’t help “strengthen” the immune system, it doesn’t “cure” or prevent illnesses, nor does it “detox” the body or get rid of parasites.

Neither will eating a clove of garlic a day give your body some kind of super ability to function. It can’t stimulate liver function, as some people claim.

What do the studies say?

Available studies about the properties of garlic show the following:

  • It doesn’t help prevent disease. Consequently, eating a clove of garlic a day doesn’t have any extraordinary benefits.
  • Certain components in garlic could potentially be beneficial to your health.
  • There’s no consensus about the correct dose of these components, or what is the best way to take them.
  • Further research needs to be done on the subject.
  • Allicin, a compound found in garlic, has an antibiotic effect against the fungal infection Candida albicans. However, this doesn’t mean that you can use garlic any way you want to treat the infection.

You might like: What is Candidiasis?

Keep in mind

Jordi Sabate, a technical engineer in agronomy with a degree in botany, affirms that garlic has “an interesting range of group B and C vitamins as well as trace elements of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and zinc.” This fact, however, doesn’t make it a “superfood.”

In conclusion, garlic is an important addition to a balanced diet, as are many other foods. You can enjoy its delicious taste in many recipes. However, we don’t recommend thinking of it as a “superfood” or a substitute for medical treatment. If you do, you might be putting your health at risk.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Moosavian SP, Paknahad Z, Habibagahi Z, Maracy M. The effects of garlic (Allium sativum) supplementation on inflammatory biomarkers, fatigue, and clinical symptoms in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2020 Nov;34(11):2953-2962. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6723. Epub 2020 Jun 1. PMID: 32478922.
  • Choo S, Chin VK, Wong EH, Madhavan P, Tay ST, Yong PVC, Chong PP. Review: antimicrobial properties of allicin used alone or in combination with other medications. Folia Microbiol (Praha). 2020 Jun;65(3):451-465. doi: 10.1007/s12223-020-00786-5. Epub 2020 Mar 23. PMID: 32207097.
  • Gómez LJ., Sánchez Muniz J., Revisión: efectos cardiovasculares del ajo, 2000.
  • Alali FQ, El-Elimat T, Khalid L, Hudaib R, Al-Shehabi TS, Eid AH. Garlic for Cardiovascular Disease: Prevention or Treatment? Curr Pharm Des. 2017;23(7):1028-1041. doi: 10.2174/1381612822666161010124530. PMID: 27748188.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.