In the realm of natural remedies, ancient practices, and holistic well-being, garlic has been proclaimed to be a potent elixir. Its medicinal qualities have been celebrated across cultures, earning it the label of “Mother Nature’s underground pharmacy” (7). It’s also one of the most commonly used spices in every household and is often used to flavor meals such as salad dressings, sauces, meats, soups, vegetables, stews, vinaigrettes, and marinades. Garlic is a true palate powerhouse. However, this humble bulb also has several benefits outside of the kitchen and is also used as a remedy and in therapy.
One such traditionally consumed concoction is garlic water. Infused with the essence of garlic, it is believed to unlock an abundance of health benefits, elevating quality of life. Here, we will look at the process of preparing an easy drink of garlic water. It is an excellent way of adding garlic to your diet to potentially improve your health. We delve into the scientific underpinnings and practical applications of the concoction to understand its potential to enhance our well-being.
What is Garlic Water?
As the name implies, garlic water harnesses the potent properties of the vegetable by infusing its essence into liquid. The process involves steeping crushed or minced garlic cloves in water to allow the bioactive compounds to diffuse into the liquid. This elixir is known to encapsulate the rich nutritional profile of garlic, including allicin, the sulfur-containing compound that inhibits inflammatory proteins and enhances immune cell activity (8). Eating garlic at night may actually benefit your sleep quality as allicin has a relaxing effect on the body.
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What are the 10 benefits of garlic?
If you’re still not impressed by the famous “stinking rose” a.k.a the flavorful garlic, then below is a list of 10 of the medicinal benefits of this powerhouse:
- Cardiovascular Health: Promotes heart health.
- Immune System Support: Enhances the body’s defenses against infections.
- Antioxidant Properties: Contributes to cellular health and may help prevent chronic diseases.
- Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Allicin, which is found in garlic, has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Cancer Prevention: Protects against certain types of cancers, such as colorectal and stomach cancers.
- Blood Sugar Regulation: Regulates blood sugar levels, can improve insulin sensitivity, and reduces the risk of complications related to high blood sugar.
- Antimicrobial Properties: Garlic has natural antimicrobial properties that fight against bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
- Improved Digestion: Garlic stimulates digestive enzyme production, which helps digestion.
- Respiratory Health: Garlic can help reduce symptoms associated with conditions such as asthma and bronchitis and provide relief from coughs and congestion.
- Detoxification: Garlic boosts the detoxification process in the liver by eliminating toxins.
Garlic water recipe (5):
- Add two to three cloves of crushed garlic to a cup of water.
- Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Turn off the heat when it boils.
- Allow it to cool and serve the potion in a glass.
You can drink it as is, or you can choose to add some lemon juice, parsley, or honey if you want some sweetness. It should be noted that the servings will vary depending on the number of cups you use.
Most importantly, you should make sure you do the following when preparing this mixture:
- Use Fresh Garlic Cloves. Food experts cannot emphasize the importance of using fresh garlic to make garlic water enough. They argue that allicin compounds in garlic degrade when they sit out for too long. We don’t want them to degrade as these compounds contribute to most of the health benefits of garlic water.
- Peel the Skin of the Clove. You must remove the skin of the garlic clove before you add it to your water. Only peel the cloves you use and store the rest for later use.
- Let the Garlic Soak in Water: Garlic that is soaked in water overnight benefits the body by enhancing its health properties. Allowing garlic to sit in water overnight is believed to activate the enzyme alliinase, which converts alliin (a precursor) to allicin (12). Overnight-soaked garlic also maximizes the nutritional benefits, which increases its antioxidant content, reduces pungency, and makes it easier to digest.
- Boil Until the Clove Softens. Some recipes may not tell you how long you should boil a garlic clove. However, it’s best to boil it until it softens and is easy to pierce using a fork.
- Drink in Moderation. As we will see, garlic water has several potential health benefits, but drinking too much of it does not mean you will reap even more. There are some potential side effects to drinking in excess, as we will see later in this discussion.
From its historical roots in traditional medicine to its modern resurgence as a holistic potion, garlic water stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of the vegetable’s therapeutic potential. Over the years, this drink has become quite popular in the health and fitness industries.
Benefits of Drinking Garlic in Hot Water
Drinking raw garlic in hot water has been linked to many benefits, including:
Reduced Risk of Diseases
We start this list with one of the impactful benefits: reduced risk of diseases. This mixture has been claimed to reduce the risk of diseases such as:
Medical News Today acknowledges that garlic is used by some people for cancer prevention (5). Garlic contains organo-sulfur compounds that have been found to induce the death of cells in glioblastomas, which are a type of brain tumor.
Similarly, raw garlic consumption was associated with a lower risk of lung cancer by a large population-based study that was conducted in China. So, when you use raw garlic to prepare this drink, you may benefit from its anti-cancer properties.
Regular consumption of garlic for men may be associated with a reduced risk of prostate-related issues, although more research is required for theoretical evidence.
2. Bacterial Infections
Several studies have confirmed that garlic has antibiotic properties that can help fight a wide range of viruses, bacteria, and fungi (5). According to Medical News Today, garlic contains a compound known as diallyl sulfide. This is 100 times more effective in fighting the Campylobacter bacteria than two popular antibiotics.
This bacteria is mainly known for causing food-borne intestinal infections. So, drinking a cup of garlic water may help prevent bacterial action in your gut as you benefit from garlic’s antibiotic properties.
3. Colds and Coughs
Similarly, experts have acknowledged that garlic water is sometimes used to help prevent or treat coughs and colds (5). One study reported that using garlic regularly may decrease the frequency of colds in adults, but it has no effect on the duration of symptoms.
4. Cardiovascular Disease
Garlic water may also be good for your heart as it might help reduce several risk factors for cardiovascular disease. For example, one small study found that consuming garlic extract reduced LDL ’bad’ cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and blood pressure. In fact, eating garlic at night benefits the heart by helping regulate cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
These are among the indicators and risk factors of heart disease. Similarly, consuming garlic water could be good for your heart as it may prevent cell damage and reduce plaque buildup in your arteries. The same study also found decreased levels of oxidation products in the blood samples of those who took the garlic extract.
Read more: 6 Cold Water Therapy Benefits Worth Noting
Immune System Support
The immune-boosting properties of garlic water can enhance the body’s defense mechanisms (9). Some research has suggested that garlic can enhance the activity of certain immune cells such as macrophages and lymphocytes. These cells help identify and eliminate pathogens, which contributes to a strong immune response.
Garlic also contains antioxidants that combat oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress leads to the production of free radicals, which in abundance can damage cells and compromise the immune system. Antioxidants that are found in garlic balance these free radicals out, supporting overall immune function.
Helps with Detoxification
Detoxification is not a new term in the fitness industry, particularly with the rise of detox diets. However, it has become prevalent, and people are curious about the concept. The popular buzzword detoxification or detox refers to the process of removing toxins from your body (6).
The body does this on its own without the need for help from you in the form of drinks or restrictive “cleanse” diets. However, one of the most important organs in the body’s detoxification system is the liver, and diallyl disulfide that is found in garlic may help protect against alcohol-induced liver injury (5).
Weight loss is also one of the purported benefits of drinking garlic water in the morning. There have been numerous debates about the effectiveness of garlic water on weight loss. However, according to recent studies, garlic water may promote weight loss in the abdominal region.
A 2021 systematic review and meta-analysis analyzed randomized controlled trials on the effects of garlic supplementation on weight loss and discovered that it reduced waist circumference, although not body weight or BMI (3).
According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), too much belly fat is an indicator of an increased risk for obesity, stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes (2). So, you can use your waist size or circumference to predict the risk of health problems that arise from being overweight (2).
The CDC recommends a healthy waist circumference for both men and women. Women are advised to maintain a waist circumference of less than 35 inches, while men should maintain a waist size of no more than 40 inches (2).
How Does Garlic Water Promote Weight Loss?
Yes, drinking a glass or two of garlic water immediately after you wake up may help you shed pounds. But what is the rationale behind this running theory? Scientists believe that this beverage may promote weight loss in several ways, including (3):
- Appetite Suppression: Garlic may work as an appetite suppressant, which is helpful as it prevents overeating. As a consequence, you can watch the number of calories you consume to help maintain a calorie deficit for weight loss.
- Fat-Burning Potential: As demonstrated above, garlic contains numerous compounds, such as ogano-sulfur and diallyl sulfide. These compounds may stimulate the fat-burning process and help you torch more calories.
- Metabolism Boost: Garlic is believed to have a thermogenic effect, meaning that it can increase the body’s temperature slightly and also its metabolic rate. A boosted metabolism can drive more efficient calorie burning, which supports weight loss.
- Blood Sugar Regulation: Garlic has been researched for its potential to regulate blood sugar levels (10). Stable blood sugar can lead to reduced to no energy crashes, and cravings for sugary and high-calorie foods can be kept at bay. This can contribute to better weight management.
- Reduced Fat Storage: Some research has suggested that garlic can influence fat storage in the body by inhibiting the expression of genes that are involved in adipogenesis, the process through which fat cells are formed (11).
- Stimulate Digestion. A smooth digestion process can help you lose weight. The theory is that the entire digestive process requires calories as it uses up energy. This means you can shed pounds if you consume fewer calories than you are burning.
Despite this knowledge, experts have stated that this drink may not be as effective as other known weight loss drinks such as green tea. Instead, it has been found to be more effective in reducing waist circumference, but not body weight or body mass index (BMI) (3).
Therefore, you are advised to enhance its fat-burning properties by consuming a healthy balanced weight-loss diet and exercising.
Improve Digestive Health
Drinking garlic water is also believed to help improve digestive health. Some say it is better to drink this drink first thing in the morning as it stimulates digestion and appetite (5).
In addition, this drink can improve digestive health by preventing stomach issues such as diarrhea if they are caused by pathogenic bacteria. Maintaining digestive health is essential as it improves overall health by providing your body with essential nutrients. Similarly, you will be less likely to experience a host of uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating and constipation if your digestive health is in check.
Drinking garlic water first thing in the morning is also believed to help boost your mental health. Some people believe garlic contains natural mood-lifting properties that help balance chemicals in your body that regulate your mood.
Depression sometimes arises when there is an imbalance of these chemicals in your body. Therefore, when you use raw garlic to prepare this drink, you could reap its potential mood-enhancing properties and ease depressive symptoms. However, you should consult a professional before you consume this drink for this benefit – it is not a substitute for any therapy or medication prescribed by your doctor.
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Side Effects of Garlic and Lemon Water
Whether you add lemon water or not, garlic water could produce some side effects. For example, researchers who investigated the impact of garlic on cardiovascular health discovered the most common complaint among participants to be gastrointestinal discomfort and nausea (1).
Researchers have also acknowledged other side effects such as dizziness, headaches, bloating, profuse sweating, and allergies (1). In addition, consuming raw fresh garlic may also have additive effects with anticoagulants or platelet aggregation inhibitors (1).
It may lead to a life-threatening hemorrhage (1). Therefore, you should speak to your doctor if you are on medications or have an underlying health condition before you start drinking garlic water.
You may also experience bad breath as this bulb is known to cause a strong stench. So, don’t be surprised if you notice your sweat and pee smelling of garlic.
You can mask this stench by eating citrus fruits such as oranges or drinking milk (1). Finally, some studies have found that too much allicin in the body may lead to liver toxicity (1). Therefore, you are urged to consume this beverage in moderation and not to overdo it with the cloves.
Can You Drink Garlic Water Every Day?
Based on our above discussion, you may want to drink garlic water every day to reap the many benefits of this drink. You may be tempted to use more garlic cloves in a bid to get as many benefits as you can.
However, as seen from our discussion on the side effects, using too much garlic can result in some discomfort and stomach issues. In addition, it may result in bloating, diarrhea, and even bad breath. So as tempting as it may be, it is important to drink this beverage in moderation (1). So how often can you drink garlic water?
Well, this comes down to what your doctor recommends. But if in doubt, stick with just one garlic clove per day.
When is the Best Time to Drink Garlic Water?
Some drinks such as garlic water are believed to work best at particular times. There are several potential benefits associated with drinking garlic water in the morning, so most people find themselves drinking it then. This has been practiced in some cultures for many years and has been linked to the aforementioned benefits. However, eating garlic at night may benefit sleep quality, heart health, and the immune system.
How do I make garlic water?
Crush or mince two to three cloves of fresh garlic and steep them in a cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, allow it to cool, and serve in a glass. You can add lemon, parsley, or honey for added flavor.
Is garlic water a good detox?
Garlic water is believed to be good for detoxification. Garlic contains compounds such as diallyl disulfide that may help protect the liver from alcohol-induced injury, which contributes to the body’s natural detoxification process.
Is garlic water good before bed?
Drinking garlic water at night may have potential benefits. Garlic contains allicin, which has a relaxing effect on the body and may contribute to improved sleep quality. However, individual responses may vary.
Does boiling garlic destroy its benefits?
Boiling garlic can reduce the potency of certain beneficial compounds as some of them are sensitive to heat. However, the process of boiling can still unlock various health benefits. To preserve maximum benefits, it’s recommended that you boil the garlic clove until it softens and then consume it.
Can garlic water help with weight loss?
Garlic water may contribute to weight loss in a variety of ways such as appetite suppression, fat-burning potential, metabolism boost, and blood sugar regulation. However, it’s important to complement it with a balanced diet and exercise for effective results.
Can I drink garlic water every day?
While garlic water provides several health benefits, it’s advisable to drink it in moderation. Consuming too much garlic water may cause side effects such as gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, or bad breath. Consult a healthcare professional to get personalized advice.
When is the best time to drink garlic water?
Garlic water is often consumed in the morning due to its potential benefits, but it can also be beneficial at night. Morning consumption is associated with improved digestion, appetite stimulation, and mental well-being, while nighttime intake may contribute to better sleep quality and heart health.
Can garlic water prevent bacterial infections?
Yes, garlic water may help prevent bacterial infections due to the antibiotic properties of garlic. Compounds such as diallyl sulfide in garlic are known to be effective against various bacteria, viruses, and fungi, potentially supporting gut health.
The Bottom Line
Drinking garlic water may benefit you in several ways. It can help prevent illness and support your mental well-being, and digestive health. This drink may also reduce your risk of diseases such as cancer, promote weight loss, and help protect your liver.
However, too much of this drink can lead to adverse effects. It may result in diarrhea, bloating, bad breath, and other stomach issues. Therefore, you should consume it in moderation after getting approval from your doctor.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Effect of garlic on cardiovascular disorders: a review (2002, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Healthy Weight (2021, cdc.gov)
- The effects of garlic supplementation on weight loss: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (2021, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The impact of water intake on energy intake and weight status: a systematic review (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- What are the benefits of garlic? (2017, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What to know about detox drinks (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Garlic: Mother Nature’s Underground Pharmacy (2017, ninacheriefranklin.com)
- Health Benefits of Garlic (2023, health.com)
- 8 Benefits Of Drinking Garlic Tea (2023, ndtv.com)
- A review on the effect of garlic on diabetes, BDNF, and VEGF as a potential treatment for diabetic retinopathy (2023, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Aged black garlic extract regulates lipid metabolism by inhibiting lipogenesis and promoting lipolysis in mature 3T3-L1 adipocytes (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Garlic and Organosulfur Compounds (lpi.oregonstate.edu)