Can garlic help prevent colds?

A Answers (2)

  • AJoan Salge Blake, MS, RD, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

    While garlic has been believed to treat the common cold, the research is less than robust. 

    In a study of over 145 individuals, those who took garlic daily for three months suffered with a cold the same length of time as those taking a placebo.  However, if you want to add it to chicken soup for a little flavor, it certainly won't hurt.

  • AJoel Fuhrman, MD, Family Medicine, answered
    Garlic is a commonly used food and folk remedy for preventing and treating colds. However, there is still insufficient clinical trial evidence regarding the effects of garlic in prevention or treatment. A single trial suggested that garlic may prevent occurrences of the common cold, but more studies are needed to validate this finding. Other studies haven't shown effectiveness of garlic as a treatment for the cold, and claims of effectiveness appear to rely largely on poor quality evidence.

    Nevertheless, garlic and onions are immune-enhancing foods. They may not rapidly change your immune function quickly enough to make a difference once you become ill, but eating this family of foods on a regular basis is one of the components of super immunity.

    My advice: continue to eat onions and garlic throughout the year and throughout any illness.
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