Here's What Happens If You Eat Raw Garlic Every Day

garlic bulbs and cloves
garlic bulbs and cloves - Chrisboy2004/Getty Images

"Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food" is a phrase associated with the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, and one you'll always come across when reading articles about the health benefits of garlic. While it's true that Hippocrates is called the father of Western medicine (and he definitely gave us, or at least inspired, the Hippocratic oath -- a code of medical ethics that bears his name), he actually never uttered the foregoing aphorism, nor would he have ever confused food and medicine as being one and the same (per e-sPEN Journal). Does this somehow mean that garlic is without medicinal qualities? No! It's one of the healthiest foods around: It's a nutritious, low-calorie, immune system-boosting, cholesterol-lowering, blood pressure-reducing, performance-enhancing, detoxifying, free radical-fighting superfood, according to Healthline. There are so many easy and delicious ways to eat more garlic -- and you can even eat it raw, which may give you more of the health benefits this food offers than if you eat it cooked, per Healthline.

Just know that there are downsides to eating raw garlic. First, you can actually have too much of a good thing. While popping a clove or two once a day can offer amazing health benefits, consuming even that much is not a good idea if you're taking blood thinners, have bloating issues with other foods like onions and leeks, or are prone to acid reflux. And there's also the unavoidable issue of garlic breath -- a very real problem that will either cause strain in an existing relationship or severely limit your potential dating pool. Let's start with the upsides of eating raw garlic every day.

Read more: 10 Of The Healthiest Beers You Can Drink

Garlic: A Superfood With Many Health Benefits

minced raw garlic and cloves
minced raw garlic and cloves - Kevindyer/Getty Images

Garlic is low in calories but high in nutrients like manganese, fiber, and vitamins C and B6. It appears to have antiviral qualities, and has been shown to either prevent or reduce the severity of symptoms associated with illnesses like the common cold, per Healthline. According to the health website, garlic supplements have also proven to be nearly as effective as pharmaceuticals in lowering blood pressure with fewer side effects, and it's also thought to reduce LDL (or "bad") cholesterol.

The antioxidants in garlic counteract oxidative damage and thus reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, muscle damage, and certain types of cancer, according to Healthline and the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology. Garlic's sulfur compounds help detoxify your body from lead and other heavy metals, and people who regularly eat garlic have been shown to flat-out live longer than ones who don't, per Healthline. If you choose to eat raw garlic, you may not want to eat more than one or two cloves a day, especially if you start seeing negative side effects. You should also let the cloves sit for around 10 minutes after chopping to fully benefit from garlic's medicinal properties, according to Healthline. Now it's time to read the fine print.

Nobody Wants Your Garlic Breath

Halitosis illustration
Halitosis illustration - Emily frost/Shutterstock

Let's talk a little more specifically about how garlic can potentially mess up your day. First, talk to your doctor about eating it if you're preparing for surgery or taking blood thinners. Garlic is great at preventing blood clots (technically known as antithrombotic properties), and thus will increase the risk of bleeding. It's also not awesome for people who suffer from GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (more commonly known as acid reflux), and might actually trigger it. Garlic, like asparagus, leeks, and onions, is high in a type of carbohydrate called fructan, which can cause bloating and gas in people with certain sensitivities. If you're on a low FODMAP diet, say goodbye to garlic -- though you can still enjoy garlic-infused oil and garlic scape powder (via Healthline).

Then there's the downside from which no one is immune: garlic breath. Sadly, the sulfur compounds in garlic that have so many health benefits also make you smell. There's one gaseous culprit in particular, allyl methyl sulfide, which emerges straight from your lungs -- so no amount of brushing, flossing, tongue scrubbing, or gargling is going to help. Thankfully, if you choose to eat raw garlic, there is a simple way to tame its taste, allowing you to benefit from its health properties while mellowing out its sharp flavor.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.