Can you eat garlic raw?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat garlic raw?”, and what are the health benefits of raw garlic?. We will also discuss what are the potential downsides of eating raw garlic, what is the safe dose of raw garlic, how to eat it and if the nutritional value of raw garlic changes after being cooked.

Can you eat garlic raw?

Yes, you can eat raw garlic. Cooking neutralizes the pungent taste and smell of raw garlic. But it dissolves some of the heat-sensitive nutrients of the raw garlic (1). 

That is why eating raw garlic could be more beneficial than cooked garlic. Raw garlic is often added to dressings, dips, or sauces like aioli or pesto (2). 

The fresh garlic aroma adds a pleasant flavor profile to these sauces and dips. Read on if you want to know whether it’s safe to eat raw garlic or not.

What are the health benefits of eating raw garlic?

The main bioactive compound of garlic, allicin, has been remarked for its enormous health benefits. This sulfur-containing compound is freshly produced during the chopping or cutting of raw garlic (2). 

A substantial amount of allicin is destroyed when garlic is subjected to roasting, boiling, heating, or pickling (1). 

Therefore, raw garlic may provide more nutritional benefits than heat-treated or pickled garlic. Some of the health benefits of raw garlic are discussed below (2).

Boosts immunity: Raw garlic is a reservoir of powerful antioxidants including most of its sulfur-containing compounds like allicin. Due to these antioxidants, raw garlic may help prevent inflammation and support the immune system (3).

Supports heart health: Raw garlic supports heart health and reduces the risk of heart diseases. This is ascribed to the cholesterol-lowering properties of raw garlic (3). 

Regulates blood sugar levels: Raw garlic helps regulate blood sugar levels. This is particularly helpful in preventing and managing type 2 diabetes (3).

Good for brain health:  Several animal studies have shown that the consumption of fresh garlic or aged garlic extract can improve memory and cognitive functions (3). 

What are the potential downsides of eating raw garlic? 

The first and the obvious downside of eating raw garlic is its pungent smell. Most of the people will recoil because of the unappetizing and strong smell of the garlic. 

Moreover, individuals with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or any other stomach issue may experience heartburn after consuming raw garlic. Some of the string garlic compounds can irk the intestinal lining and cause a burning sensation in the stomach or chest (4).

Raw garlic also prevents blood clotting. People who are taking blood-thinning supplements should only consume raw garlic on prescription (4). 

The bottom line is that raw garlic should be consumed in moderate amounts and people with any serious stomach issues should limit their intake of fresh garlic.

What is the safe dose of raw garlic?

1-2 cloves of garlic per day are the moderate dose of fresh garlic for healthy adults. In supplement form, the limit of the safe dose of raw garlic is 3600 mg (5).

It is recommended to consume a moderate amount of garlic cloves during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy to lower blood pressure and maintain good baby development; however, consuming large amounts of garlic during pregnancy may result in some adverse effects such as blood thinning and miscarriage (4).

If you notice any side effects of consuming raw garlic, discontinue its use altogether or contact your doctor to discuss the safe dose. 

Heartburn and acid reflux can be avoided altogether by cooking garlic as it dissolves most of the sulfur-containing compounds of garlic. Always consult your doctor before taking garlic supplements to avoid any unpleasant consequences (4).

How to eat raw garlic?

Eating raw garlic does not have to be a sport. There are better ways to eat raw garlic than to swallow a whole clove. Some of the most creative and delicious ways to incorporate raw garlic into your diet are discussed below.

Mix it into pasta and savory dishes 

You do not necessarily have to cook or saute pasta to make it a part of your pasta or savory dishes. We know that allicin, the main beneficial bioactive compound of garlic, is destroyed at temperatures above 158 °F(6). 

Therefore, you can add crushed or chopped garlic to your pasta or savory dish while it is still hot but not cooking. This also prevents the garlic from overpowering your meal.

Add it to a salad

Shave or mince some garlic and toss it into your salad bowls. If you do not like the texture of chopped garlic in our salad, you can blend it with the salad dressing until smooth. Use this dressing for your salad and you are good to go!

Does the nutritional value of raw garlic change after cooking?

Yes, garlic’s nutritional value may be altered by cooking it. While raw garlic includes the chemical alliin, which transforms to allicin, which has potential health advantages, heat sensitivity causes allicin to deteriorate (7). 

However, as compared to raw garlic, various cooking procedures such as baking or microwaving may help retain or boost antioxidant activity. Heat can also cause some vitamin C loss, although the influence on other nutrients is normally minor. To preserve beneficial chemicals, employ short cooking or mild sautéing techniques (8).


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat garlic raw?”, and what are the health benefits of raw garlic? We also discussed what are the potential downsides of eating raw garlic, what is the safe dose of raw garlic, how to eat it and if the nutritional value of raw garlic changes after being cooked.


1. Najman, K., et al. Effect of Heat-Treated Garlic (Allium sativum L.) on Growth Parameters, Plasma Lipid Profile and Histological Changes in the Ileum of Atherogenic Rats. Nutrients. 2022;14(2):336.

2. Shang, A., et al. Bioactive Compounds and Biological Functions of Garlic (Allium sativum L.). Foods. 2019;8(7):246. 

3. Tesfaye A. Revealing the Therapeutic Uses of Garlic (Allium sativum) and Its Potential for Drug Discovery. ScientificWorldJournal. 2021.

4. Subramanian MS, Nandagopal Ms G, Amin Nordin S, Thilakavathy K, Joseph N. Prevailing Knowledge on the Bioavailability and Biological Activities of Sulphur Compounds from Alliums: A Potential Drug Candidate. Molecules. 2020;25(18):4111.

5. Chan J.Y.Y., Yuen A.C.Y., Chan R.Y.K., Chan S.W. A review of the cardiovascular benefits and antioxidant properties of allicin. Phyther. Res. 2013;27:637–646.

6. H. Wang, X. Li, X. Liu, D. Shen, Y. Qiu, X. Zhang, et al. Influence of pH, concentration and light on stability of allicin in garlic (Allium sativum L.) aqueous extract as measured by UPLC. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 2015, 95, 1838-1844.

7. Prati, P. et al. Evaluation of allicin stability in processed garlic of different cultivars. Food Science and Technology, 2014, 34(3): 623-628.

8. Çubukçu, H.C., et al. Different effects of heating and freezing treatments on the antioxidant properties of broccoli, cauliflower, garlic and onion. An experimental in vitro study. Sao Paulo Medical Journal, 2019,137(5), 407–413.

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