Garlic is thought to work because of its antibiotic and blood cleansing properties. As you can see from my previous post, it can help everything from cardiovascular health to cold and flu prevention. In this post we’re going to go over some pointers on how to take garlic and some of its possible side effects.
Garlic is most potent, in terms of health benefits, when it is in its raw form. Crushing or chopping it up helps to release its active compounds. I have a colleague who will chew a raw clove whenever she feels like she is coming down with a sore throat. Although this works well, not everyone may be able to tolerate chewing a raw clove. If you are cooking with it, in order to preserve its health benefits, wait until the last 10 minutes of cooking to add it. Make sure you don’t microwave garlic as this kills the active ingredients. One good tip is to place a few cloves in a bottle of olive oil and then drizzle it over a salad.
For most individuals, garlic does not cause any serious side effects. However people who consume it in large quantities may suffer from stomach irritation, heartburn, or flatulence. One clove a day is sufficient to improve your health, and 2-3 cloves will help prevent a cold. Garlic also appears to be safe during pregnancy and breast-feeding. In fact, two studies have shown that babies prefer breast milk better from mothers who eat it regularly. Warning, due to garlic’s anti-clotting and blood thinning properties, people taking anti-coagulant drugs or who are scheduled for surgery should check with their doctor before taking supplements.
If you are taking garlic in supplement form instead of consuming the cloves directly, 600-900 mg/day is a good dosage. Supplements can also help if you are concerned about “garlic breath” because you can purchase “odorless” supplements from most health food stores. However, there is some question out there whether the odorless garlic supplements work as well. When looking for a good garlic supplement at your local health food store or online, don’t go for the cheapest brand as it will have a lot of fillers. Paying a little more is always a good idea. The best type of supplements is a gelatin capsules filled with garlic liquid. They tend to be more potent, which means it delivers more pure garlic to your system.