The bad breath that sometimes occurs when you eat garlic may be worth it. This herb does more than just flavor your food; it might also help prevent or treat a number of medical conditions. However, you need to check with your doctor before you start eating a lot of it, as it can interfere with some medications or cause side effects.
Adding more garlic to your diet may help you keep your heart healthy. It may help you slightly lower your blood pressure levels, according to an article published in "BMC Cardiovascular Disorders" in 2008. Garlic can also thin out your blood, so it is less likely to clot and cause a heart attack, and it can help keep your arteries from getting clogged by fat and cholesterol buildups.
Eating garlic, but not taking garlic supplements, may help prevent colon, stomach and rectal cancer, although the research is still preliminary. Garlic may help keep cancer from multiplying, according to a study published in "Cancer Letters" in 2007. However, don't go eating tons of garlic thinking it will cure cancer, as there isn't enough evidence yet to recommend doing this to either prevent or treat cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
You might be able to stave off the sniffles or at least limit the length of time you suffer from a cold if you regularly eat garlic or take garlic supplements during cold season, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Taking supplements can help you minimize side effects like bad breath, but it might not be as effective for health benefits as using raw garlic, according to Drugs.com.
Eating garlic can cause body odor, an upset stomach, bloating or bad breath. If you have a bleeding disorder or stomach or digestive problems, you shouldn't eat large amounts of garlic or take garlic supplements, since doing so could make these conditions worse. Aspirin, blood thinners, diabetes medications, HIV medications, birth control pills and tuberculosis medications can all interact with garlic, causing adverse effects, so check with your doctor to make sure taking garlic is safe for you before using these supplements.
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.