Wednesday , May 29 2024

Should I eat raw garlic to enhance immune system during cold season?


I usually get the flu in winter. Can eating raw garlic help improve my immune system and prevent catching flu? (Minh Phuong, Da Lat)

Answer:

Garlic is a common seasoning in daily cooking. It is rich in nutrients, containing vitamins A, C, E, K, and B group vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6), along with minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, and zinc. 100 grams of garlic contain 6.36 grams of protein, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 149 kcal of calories, and 2.1 grams of fiber.

Cold weather facilitates the growth of bacteria and viruses. If our body has not yet adapted to the lower temperatures or if our immunity is weak, we are more susceptible to catching colds or the flu.

Allicin in garlic, activated when the seasoning is chopped, is effective against bacteria, reducing nasal congestion, promoting expectoration, and lessening coughs. Garlic’s warming properties help eliminate factors causing coughs.

Consuming garlic in the winter has certain health benefits. Illustration photo by Freepik

Consuming garlic in the winter has certain health benefits. Illustration photo by Freepik

Garlic also has many antioxidants, which help repair damaged cells. Vitamins B6 and C in garlic boost the immune system, alleviating symptoms and speeding up recovery.

Moreover, garlic contains allyl sulfide, an anti-inflammatory compound that can slow the growth of cancer cells and protect the body from free radicals.

Eating a small amount of raw garlic in daily meals can be beneficial for disease prevention. However, there are side effects like heartburn, mouth irritation, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, or mild vomiting. Excessive daily consumption of raw garlic can also lead to body odor.

Additionally, those new to consuming garlic may experience burning or irritation in the throat and, in some sensitive individuals, skin rashes. Garlic can also interact with certain medications, leading to undesirable effects. So it is recommended to consult with your doctor regarding your garlic consumption.

Dr. Tran Thi Tra Phuong

Nutrihome Nutrition Clinic System

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