13 Garlic Benefits for Women and Men

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Garlic | Benefits | Skin | Hair | Women | Men | Side Effects | FAQ

It is delicious. Many love its spicy zing. But few people know that the benefits of garlic can do more than drive away vampires.

That’s why this article explains, based on numerous studies, how healthy garlic can be. In the process, you’ll also learn more about its many uses and applications in the kitchen. 

Is Garlic Healthy?

Since the beginning of recorded history, garlic has been used since it was found in Egyptian pyramids and ancient Greek temples. 

Ancient medical texts from Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, and India, among others, can attest to the use of garlic. 

Even Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, has prescribed garlic for its health benefits. In this context, the Greek physician is said to have used the effect of garlic against respiratory problems, fatigue, or parasites. 

Moreover, even the original Olympic athletes in ancient Greece have received garlic. Thus, the Greeks used garlic as the first performance-enhancing agent in sports (Rivlin 20011). 

As the name suggests, garlic or Allium sativum belongs to the plants’ leek or Allium genus. 

Since the perennial plant is also a member of the Amaryllis family or Amaryllidaceae, it is closely related to chives, leeks, and onions

In addition, garlic grows underground in the form of a bulb. Although the garlic plant is native to Central Asia, it also grows wild in southern European countries. 

Due to its intense aromatic flavor, the plant is present in virtually every cuisine worldwide. 

Due to active sulfur compounds, raw garlic has a spicy taste, indicating tremendous health benefits. 

For example, the sulfur compound allicin in garlic reduces cardiovascular and infection risk (Tattelman et al. 20052). 

Other compounds that may be crucial for the health benefits of garlic include diallyl disulfide and S-allylcysteine (Zarezadeh et al. 20173). 

In addition, regular consumption of garlic has been associated with preventing other common causes of death, such as cancer and diabetes (Ansary et al. 20204). 

For this reason, garlic ranks among the healthiest vegetables. Furthermore, it’s inexpensive, can be prepared quickly, and tastes heavenly. 

Raw Garlic

The healthiest way to consume garlic is raw. 

Accordingly, researchers have found that the anti-inflammatory effects of garlic, in particular, suffer when heated for short periods. 

Among the numerous bioactive components, the sulfur compound allicin in raw garlic counteracts chronic inflammation. Therefore, it also has the potential to be used therapeutically  (Shin et al. 20135). 

Moreover, raw garlic has a better nutritional profile than cooked garlic, which is why it has a narrow lead in the following vitamins and minerals, among others (*): 

  • Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B4 B6, B9, and C. 
  • Calcium 
  • Copper 
  • Iron 
  • Phosphorus 
  • Potassium 
  • Selenium 
  • Zinc 

For these reasons, the allium is best enjoyed raw, such as a topping for salads, roasted vegetables, or fish dishes. 

Nonetheless, garlic is also healthy when cooked and unfolds a wide range of beneficial effects, as we’ll explore shortly. 

Raw garlic offers various health benefits

Honey and Garlic

Numerous magazines praise honey with garlic as healthy. The combination is said to protect against colds or strengthen the immune system. 

However, people often forget that honey is, chemically speaking, sugar, lacking vitamins and minerals (*).

Therefore, any health benefit of the combination comes exclusively from garlic but not from honey. 

In addition, honey’s high fructose and glucose content harms the liver and endocrine system, which is why it can counteract any effects of garlic. 

However, this problem is quickly solved by eating garlic without added sugar, like honey. 

Ginger and Garlic

Unlike honey, ginger is a potent partner of the allium plant. Like garlic, ginger has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (Shan et al. 20056). 

Additionally, fresh ginger can fight respiratory infections and bacterial growth (Gull et al. 20127; Chang et al. 20138). 

Ginger, one of the ingredients in turmeric tea, may help relieve indigestion by accelerating gastric emptying.

Besides, research also recognizes ginger’s effect against cancer and digestive disorders  (Poltronieri et al. 20149; Hu et al. 201110). 

Since ginger can enormously support most of the health benefits of garlic, it’s no surprise that you can often find this potent combination in Asian cuisine. 

Black Garlic

Black garlic is a fermented food made from fresh garlic bulbs, aging for 10 to 35 days at high temperatures (60 to 90 °C) and high humidity (Kimura et al. 201711). 

In this process, fermented garlic is known for its sweet taste and jelly-like consistency in Asian cuisine.

Black garlic is particularly healthy because of its antioxidant effect, which peaks after an aging process of 21 days (Choi et al. 201412). 

Nevertheless, recent studies suggest that the immune system-boosting effect of raw garlic is more significant (Li et al. 201713). 

How Much to Eat Per Day?

On average, 1-2 garlic cloves a day is considered healthy. 

After a higher dosage mainly brings bad breath and body odor, one or two more cloves might not harm health. 

So, unless you have a date planned, you can enjoy garlic every day. 

Health Benefits of Garlic

As you will see below, the health benefits of garlic cover an incredible range. 

Not only does it enrich any home-cooked meal, but it can also be used as a natural home remedy in many ways. 

1. Antioxidative

Sulfur-containing foods have antioxidant effects. Due to its high density of bioactive compounds and nutrients, garlic is among the most potent. 

We particularly need sulfur for the synthesis of glutathione (Grimble 200614). 

Glutathione is one of the most important and powerful antioxidants that can neutralize free radicals in your body and prevent disease.

With this in mind, oxidative cell damage caused by free radicals heavily contributes to aging (Amagase et al. 200115). 

In light of this, glutathione can, for example, remove toxic protein deposits and thus prevent age-related neurodegeneration and macular degeneration (Ballatori et al. 200916). 

Accordingly, the antioxidant properties of garlic extract may reduce the risk of common brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia (Borek 200117). 

Moreover, scientists have been able to detect the antioxidant effect in the blood plasma of older people, suggesting a reduction in oxidative damage (Avci et al. 200818). 

In short, the consumption of garlic could be healthy for your mental state and healthspan. 

Garlic health benefits protect the brain

2. Cancer-Preventive

Besides aging, the relative of onion can reduce cardiovascular diseases and cancer (Borek 200119). 

A growing number of studies suggest that the organic sulfur compounds in garlic may exert anti-cancer effects (Cerella et al. 201120). 

For example, some researchers suggest active compounds such as S-allyl cysteines are responsible for this effect (Amagase et al. 200121). 

Therefore, dietary intake of these compounds might be a promising chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic measure (Nagini 200822). 

Also, a study suggests that the compounds in garlic can induce cell death of lethal brain tumors (Das et al. 200723). 

3. Immunity-Boosting

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have probably all been thinking more about how to strengthen our immune systems.

Although this may have occurred to a few people, this task can be as simple as adding a few garlic cloves to your next meal. 

Accordingly, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-intervention study of 120 healthy volunteers found improved immune cell function due to garlic extract intake. 

This study of the highest quality concludes that this benefit may be responsible for the reduced incidence of colds and flu (Nantz et al. 201224). 

Furthermore, another randomized, double-blind study found a 63 percent reduction in colds from garlic consumption (Josling 200125). 

4. Anti-Inflammatory

Chronic inflammation in the body is the driving force behind chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. 

Against this background, scientists have demonstrated that the sulfur compounds in garlic may have anti-inflammatory effects of therapeutic grade  (Lee et al. 201226). 

Moreover, a recent randomized, controlled, double-blind study involving 70 women with the inflammatory autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis supports this. 

Taking just one gram of garlic supplements per day for two months could reduce the following symptoms (Moosavian et al. 202027): 

  • Inflammatory markers 
  • Sensitive joints 
  • Pain intensity 
  • Fatigue 

For this reason, even the Arthritis Foundation recommends increasing the natural consumption of garlic in your cooking (*). 

5. Blood-thining

A study in which men between the ages of 40 and 50 consumed 3 grams of fresh garlic for 16 weeks reduced markers of platelet aggregation by about 80%. 

Thus, garlic may contribute to improved blood clotting. 

Consequently, researchers concluded that even small amounts of fresh garlic consumed over an extended time could help prevent thrombosis (Ali et al. 199528). 

Besides, animal studies have noted the potential of garlic to prevent and reverse atherosclerosis (Orekhov et al. 199729). 

Furthermore, researchers have found that garlic ingestion reduced the oxidation of LDL cholesterol by 34% in their experiment (Phelps et al. 199330). 

It is not the number but the oxidation of these lipoproteins that is crucial for developing cardiovascular disease. Therefore, foods with fresh garlic are good for your heart health. 

6. Antihypertensive

Cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes are the most common cause of death in the Western world. 

In this context, hypertension plays an essential role not only as a symptom. 

With this in mind, researchers have found that taking garlic extract can significantly reduce high blood pressure (Ried et al. 201031). 

Due to the potential causation of sulfur deficiency, researchers assume that the compounds in garlic have a positive effect on hypertension (Ried et al. 201432). 

On the other hand, the antioxidant ability of garlic supplements may scavenge free radicals that lower high blood pressure (Dhawan et al. 200533). 

But you don’t have to consume supplements to reap the benefits of garlic. Most of these health benefits are the equivalent of 3-4 fresh garlic cloves per day.

garlic should be a staple in any kitchen

7. Detoxing

In high doses, the sulfur compounds in garlic can reduce toxic heavy metal concentrations in the body. 

A study of 117 employees of a car battery factory exposed to heavy metals daily found that garlic reduced blood lead levels by 19%. Garlic treatment was also able to relieve headaches and high blood pressure. 

Compared to the drug D-penicillamine, there was no significant difference in relieving these symptoms, significantly reducing side effects. 

Therefore, the researchers concluded that garlic might treat moderate lead poisoning (Kianoush et al. 201234). 

8. Bone-Strengthening

Studies in rats have shown several times that garlic can increase estrogen release in females and thus alleviate bone loss (Mukherjee et al. 200435; Mukherjee et al. 200636). 

In light of this, a study of menopausal women found that the equivalent of 2 grams of raw garlic per day can substantially reduce estrogen deficiency (Mozaffari-Khosravi37). 

Therefore, garlic could have a beneficial effect on women’s bones. 

Accordingly, scientists found that alliums such as garlic, onions, and leeks may benefit osteoarthritis equally (Williams et al. 201038). 

9. Performance-Boosting

Knowing about the anti-fatigue benefits of garlic, the ancient Greeks administered it to the first Olympic athletes (Rivlin 200139). 

Moreover, a Japanese study echoes these findings by identifying garlic as a potential agent against sports-induced fatigue (Morihara et al. 200740). 

In addition, scientists studied patients who suffered from coronary heart disease. During the study, garlic oil was administered to the subjects over 6 weeks. 

The bottom line is that garlic significantly improved peak heart rate and cardiac workload, translating into better exercise tolerance (Verma et al. 200541). 

10. Antibacterial

The bioactive allicin in garlic is said to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. 

If we look at a study conducted by bio-chemists, these are not loose claims. They attribute the following properties to allicin (Ankri et al. 199942): 

  • Antibacterial action (e.g., against E.coli). 
  • Antifungal effect (e.g., against Candida
  • Antiparasitic effect (e.g., against Entamoeba histolytica
  • Antiviral effect (in general)

Thus, the antibacterial properties in fresh garlic may, for example, kill bacteria that lead to food poisoning. 

In addition, another study suggests that allicin could combat bacterial lung infections by direct inhalation because it inhibits bacterial growth as a vapor (Reiter et al. 201743). 

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the seriousness of lung infections, this is quite an exciting property of garlic. 

Furthermore, a study established that the antifungal benefits of the sulfur compounds in garlic is effective against athlete’s foot. 

In this study, 79 percent of the participants could completely cure the fungus in 7 days by applying the garlic cream (Ledezma et al. 199644). 

If you want to treat an athlete’s foot with a home remedy at your own risk, crush garlic cloves and rub them over the affected areas twice a day. 

Garlic Benefits for the Skin

The allium also enjoys a high status in dermatology. For example, dermatologists say eating garlic protects against UVB radiation and cancer. 

In addition, topical application of garlic extract can improve the following conditions (Pazyar et al. 201145): 

  • Psoriasis 
  • Keloid scars 
  • Wound healing 
  • Viral and fungal infections 
  • Leishmaniasis (also in dogs) 
  • Skin aging

Furthermore, topical application of garlic extract can heal corns and make them disappear completely (Dehghani et al. 200546). 

Nevertheless, the clinical efficacy of garlic extract in dermatology has not yet been sufficently researched.

Garlic offers benefits for the skin

Benefits of Garlic for Your Hair

While a recent study suggests that even eating garlic may be effective against hair loss, there is more solid evidence for applying garlic gel (Bassino et al. 202047).

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease of the skin that causes hair loss on the head, face, and sometimes in other body parts. It is one of the most common causes of hair loss in women and men. 

Researchers at Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences from Iran tested how garlic gel affected subjects who suffered from alopecia. 

In addition to corticosteroids, the gel was applied to the scalp twice daily for three months. 

The researchers found that the hormone cream and garlic gel produced far better results (Hajheydari et al. 200748). 

With this in mind, natural treatment using a mixture of garlic and coconut oil could be effective against hair loss without resorting to steroid hormones. 

Garlic Benefits for Women

Women often suffer from yeast infections. According to Harvard University physicians, about three-quarters of all women have at least one vaginal yeast infection in their lifetime (*). 

Because of allicin, garlic can inhibit the growth of the Candida fungus that causes yeast infections (Shuford et al. 200549). 

For this purpose, garlic can be taken as allicin tablets or applied as a cream. 

Talk to your trusted healthcare provider beforehand if you use garlic orally or topically to treat a yeast infection. She can better judge whether the approach is a good idea. 

You should also pay attention to the dosage with over-the-counter garlic extracts or tablets. 

In any case, after most creams are intended only for external use, they should only be applied to the outer area of the vagina. 

However, garlic can also be consumed raw or in the form of delicious dishes to promote healthy bacteria and prevent the growth of yeast fungi – without any supplements or medications! 

Garlic Benefits for Men

Garlic also creates significant effects on men that may sometimes seem paradoxical. 

For example, a recent study found that women are more attracted to the body odor of men who eat large amounts of garlic than men who do not. 

Why women find the body smell more attractive and less intense after garlic consumption could not be determined. 

However, researchers suspect they subconsciously prefer the improved health benefits of men eating garlic (Fialova et al. 201650). 

In addition, rumors about a possible potency-enhancing effect of garlic keep circulating. 

As a study shows, these rumors could have a grain of truth. Researchers proved the sulfur compound allicin promotes blood flow (Batirel et al. 200251). 

In most men, erectile dysfunction is physiological and not psychological. To maintain an erection, efficient blood flow in the arteries is critical. 

Therefore, erectile dysfunction indicates a hardening of the arteries. Consuming garlic may help prevent such cardiovascular disease (Bayan et al. 201452). 

Garlic Side Effects

Although garlic is largely considered safe, people must be careful. 

Oral Ingestion

Garlic is primarily considered healthy and safe when consumed in appropriate culinary amounts. 

When eaten, garlic can cause bad breath, a burning sensation in the mouth, heartburn, nausea, body odor, or flatulence. 

These potential side effects can be worse with the high consumption of raw garlic. 

Because of its blood-thinning effects, garlic may increase the risk of bleeding. In addition, asthmatics might experience problems when preparing raw garlic. 

In summary, here are the best tips to protect yourself from any side effects: 

  • Consume natural garlic instead of supplements 
  • Eat it through traditional dishes in appropriate doses 
  • Do not overdo it with raw garlic

Topical Application on the Skin

Most garlic products such as gels, pastes, and mouthwashes are considered safe for the most part. 

Nonetheless, when applied to the skin, the allium can cause skin damage like a burn. 

Although even applying raw garlic to the skin is considered mostly safe, it can cause severe skin irritation in some circumstances. 

The Bottom Line

Although my vegetable consumption is not above average, garlic remains a staple in my kitchen. 

Because of the following range of beneficial effects, garlic is healthy: 

  • Acts as an antiviral and antibacterial 
  • Lowers high blood pressure 
  • Prevents cancer 
  • Detoxifies the body 
  • Prevents dementia 
  • Strengthens bones 
  • Prevents cardiovascular diseases 
  • Enhances athletic performance

In addition, garlic’s sulfur compounds can even remove fungus and corns on the skin through topical application. 

Unlike many exotic fruits and pseudo-grains, garlic is a superfood everyone probably has in their pantry. 

If you put up with the possible body odors, you will not only live a healthy life, but according to studies, you will also paradoxically look more attractive.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What garlic can cure?

Garlic has antibacterial, antioxidant, cancer preventive, or even blood pressure-lowering effects. Moreover, it can even cure an athlete’s foot and corns.

What happens if you eat garlic everyday?

If you eat garlic every day, it can lower your risk of developing cancer, Alzheimer’s, infectious and cardiovascular diseases.

Does garlic help sexually?

Garlic can improve blood flow and, therefore, indirectly help to maintain an erection.

Can garlic cause liver damage?

If you overdo garlic supplements, there is a chance to cause liver damage.



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Mag. Stephan Lederer, MSc. is an author and blogger from Austria who writes in-depth content about health and nutrition. His book series on Interval Fasting landed #1 on the bestseller list in the German Amazon marketplace in 15 categories.

Stephan is a true man of science, having earned multiple diplomas and master's degrees in various fields. He has made it his mission to bridge the gap between conventional wisdom and scientific knowledge. He precisely reviews the content and sources of this blog for currency and accuracy.

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