Can Garlic Help Heal the Gut?

The phytonutrient content of garlic is so impressive that functional-medicine physician Terry Wahls, MD, suggests that two cloves are as nutritionally potent as a full cup of any other vegetable. Garlic has been shown to kill H. pylori, the bacteria that causes a majority of peptic ulcers, and research at Washington State University found that garlic was 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics in killing Campylobacter bacterium, one of the most common culprits behind food poisoning. (This effect appears to be attributable to garlic’s sulfur compounds.)

Garlic also contains prebiotics, a type of fiber that feeds good gut bacteria. So if you are suffering from an imbalance of bacteria in the gut microbiome, know that garlic works as both an antibiotic (killing off hostile bacteria) and a prebiotic (feeding good bacteria).

How to Eat More: Garlic is extremely versatile. Add it to sautés and stir-fries; crush it into salad dressing; include it in sauces; enjoy it raw in pesto. Raw garlic delivers the most potent antimicrobial benefits. When heating, add it just before taking a dish off the flame. Either way, try to chop it at least 10 minutes before cooking it; this triggers an enzyme reaction that boosts its healthy compounds.

Cautions: Garlic is a high-FODMAP food — an acronym for “fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols.” This group of carbohydrates can sometimes trigger bloating and stomach pain. If you associate these symptoms with eating garlic, you may be intolerant of some high-FODMAP foods.

Consider trying a low-FODMAP diet, which temporarily eliminates foods with high levels of these substances. (For more on the low-FODMAP diet, see “Can An Elimination or Low-FODMAP Diet Treat IBS?”.)

This originally appeared in “7 Gut-Healing Foods” in the July-August 2020 print issue of Experience Life.

Laine Bergeson Becco, FMCHC

Share
Published by
Laine Bergeson Becco, FMCHC

32 Ideas to Help You Kick Your Coffee-Break Habit

Are you too dependent on your afternoon coffee? Here are better ways to break up…

3 hours ago

One Step At a Time: Blake Mycoskie

The TOMS Shoes and Madefor founder talks about embracing challenges, seeking the next adventure —…

3 hours ago

16 Phytonutrient Superstars

From allicin to zeaxanthin, here are some of the key phytonutrients you need.

1 day ago

PUMPING IRONY: A Discriminating Virus?

Why has COVID-19 claimed such a disproportionate share of lives in nursing homes with predominantly…

1 week ago

How to Treat Long-Haul COVID

COVID-19 is leaving many with a disturbing array of chronic symptoms. These functional-medicine strategies can…

1 week ago

PUMPING IRONY: Digital Detours on the Road to Vaccination

With computer access and capabilities often standing in the way of elderly Americans trying to…

2 weeks ago