6 Health Benefits Of Garlic For Babies

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“A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat.” – Unknown.

Garlic is a pungent-tasting kitchen ingredient that adds flavor and aroma to food. While it is considered safe for adults, some parents wonder if garlic for babies is a safe choice. Knowing this will help you introduce it to your baby’s diet at the right age and in age-appropriate ways.

It is interesting to know that the flavor of garlic seems to appeal to babies before they start consuming solids. Research shows that babies nurse better when their moms have consumed garlic (1). Further, garlic possesses several medicinal properties that can benefit their health.

Read on to learn when babies can consume garlic, its possible health benefits, and some tasty garlic recipes you can make for your baby.

When Can Babies Have Garlic?

You can begin giving garlic to babies from six to eight months of age. However, some babies might find it difficult to digest or could develop an allergy. Also,the garlic should be fresh and given in limited quantities.

The reaction to garlic can manifest in the form of cramps, swelling, vomiting or diarrhea. Visit a pediatrician if you observe any of these symptoms. Seek medical advice right away if your baby has breathing trouble or severe reactions.

Nutritional Value Of Garlic

Garlic is a good source of vitamin B6, manganese, selenium, potassium, and iron. It is also known to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-protozoal effects, which could help protect the baby from infections (2).

NutrientUnitValue per 100 g
Energykcal214
Proteing3.57
Carbohydrate, by differenceg17.86
Fiber, total dietaryg3.6
Calcium, Camg0
Iron, Femg1.29
Sodium, Namg446
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acidmg0
Vitamin A, IUIU0
Cholesterolmg0

Source: ndb.nal.usda.gov

Health Benefits Of Garlic For Babies

Here are some ways garlic could be beneficial to your baby.

1. Here are some ways garlic could be beneficial to your baby.

The antibacterial and antiviral properties of garlic protect your baby from common cold. Garlic soup could reduce the severity of cold. The volatile oils in garlic help open up the respiratory passages and relieve the condition.

2. Antimicrobial properties regulate infections

Phytochemicals present in garlic could be effective in killing bacteria in the colon and small intestine. However, garlic is harmless on the probiotic microbes residing in the baby’s digestive system.

The antimicrobial properties also help heal wounds quickly. You may mix the fresh juice of garlic cloves in fruit or vegetable juice and feed the concoction to your baby (3).

3. Kills harmful intestinal worms in babies

When intestinal worms such as tapeworms enter the baby’s body in the form of eggs, they settle in the intestines and feed on the nutrients, eventually leading to infections and ailments. Garlic can act as an effective anthelmintic drug to kill the intestinal worms (4).

4. Anti-inflammatory effect supports immune system

Garlic stimulates cell types such as macrophages, lymphocytes, natural killer (NK) cells, dendritic cells, and eosinophils, thus building your baby’s immune system. Also, it regulates cytokine secretion, which could help in the treatment or prevention of obesity, metabolic syndrome, as the baby grows (7).

When we say garlic is good for your baby, we mean a limited quantity of it. Give him the right amount to enjoy the benefits of this food.

How Much Garlic Is Safe For Babies?

Initially, serve one garlic clove a day. Treat garlic as a new food and follow a 3-5 day wait rule to rule out any allergic reaction. If they do not show any reactions, you may gradually increase the quantity but remember a baby cannot eat garlic like an adult does.

How To Select, Store And Use Garlic?

Use fresh garlic rather than the paste or powder. Select the one that is juicy and white. Peel off the skin, mince or crush and add it to the diet. Chopping or crushing helps secrete OSCs.

Keep crushed garlic aside for 10 minutes before cooking. This would allow OSCs to develop completely.

Serve garlic soup to your little one, by adding a pinch of sugar to camouflage the strong flavor. Store garlic in a warm, dry place.

Don’t give a whole clove to your little one as it is hard to chew and may pose a choking hazard. Instead, add it to the various recipes that you make for them by finely slicing or crushing it.

Garlic Recipes For Babies

Here are some simple recipes containing garlic:

1. Chicken-garlic soup

Image: iStock

Preparation time: 40 minutes

You will need:

  • 50 gm boneless chicken
  • 1/2 tsp ginger (grated)
  • 3-4 garlic (chopped)
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • Pepper
  • Salt

How to:

  1. Transfer all the ingredients to a pressure cooker and cook on slight flame for 10 minutes and low flame for 15 minutes.
  1. Strain the broth after cooling it down and serve warm.

2. Tomato rasam (Indian recipe)

Image: iStock

Preparation time: 40 minutes

You will need:

  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 2-3 black peppercorns
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • salt for taste
  • 1/2 tsp oil

How to:

  1. Heat oil, add cumin seeds, garlic, and peppercorns. Sauté.
  1. Add water and tomatoes. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove off the flame and let it cool.
  1. Mash well. To remove the tomato skin, strain the mixture.
  1. Add the sautéd mixture.
  2. Feed it as soup or serve with mashed rice.

3. Garlic bread (10 months)

Image: iStock

Preparation time: 15 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 ciabatta (Italian white bread)
  • 50g softened butter
  • 1tsp fresh parsley (chopped)

How to:

  1. Add butter, parsley, and crushed garlic clove in a bowl and mix well.
  1. Spread the mix as a thin layer on both sides of the bread.
  1. Bake the bread in a preheat oven at 200 degrees C/Gas mark 6 for five to 10 minutes.
  1. Bake both sides until brown.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does garlic cause gas in babies?

It has been reported in many cases that garlic has caused gas in some babies. However, on the other hand, some babies have also shown no symptoms of gassiness after consuming garlic (8).

2. Does garlic cause colic in babies?

Studies have suggested that the ingestion of garlic by the mother has increased the reports of a colicky breastfed baby (9). However, there is no definitive evidence that feeding garlic to a baby can cause colic.

Parents are excited to introduce garlic to babies due to its multiple health benefits. Although it is safe, you must take care when introducing it and choose the right age. Check with your pediatrician first if your baby could start consuming garlic. Then, introduce fresh garlic in minimal quantities and follow the three-day wait rule. Stay vigilant for any side effects and report any to your doctor. If unsure of how to introduce this condiment, we are sure our tasty garlic recipes for babies will be helpful.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. Julie A. Mennella and Gary K. Beauchamp;Maternal Diet Alters the Sensory Qualities of Human Milk and the Nursling’s Behavior;AAP News & Journals;American Academy of Pediatrics (1991)
2. Leyla Bayan et al.;Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects;National Centre for Biotechnology Information (2014)
3. Some Common Spices and Plants with Antimicrobial and Therapeutic Properties;Hawaii.edu
4. Ayaz E et al.;Evaluation of the anthelmentic activity of garlic (Allium sativum) in mice naturally infected with Aspiculuris tetraptera.;National Centre for Biotechnology Information (2008)
5. Omar Syed Haris;Garlic and Cardiovascular Diseases;Natural Products;researchgate.net (2013)
6. Georgia Schäfer and Catherine H. Kaschula;The Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Organosulfur Compounds in Cancer Chemoprevention;National Centre for Biotechnology Information (2014)
7. Rodrigo Arreola et al.;Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Compounds;National Centre for Biotechnology Information (2015)
8. What’s causing gas in my breastfed baby?; Texas Children’s Hospital
9. Garlic; National Library Of Medicine
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Swati Patwal

Swati Patwal is a clinical nutritionist, a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a toddler mom with over eight years of experience in diverse fields of nutrition. She started her career as a CSR project coordinator for a healthy eating and active lifestyle project catering to school children. Then she worked as a nutrition faculty and clinical nutrition coach in different... more

Jyoti Benjamin

(MS, RD, CSO, FAND, CD)
Jyoti Benjamin has 25 years of experience as a clinical dietitian and currently works in Seattle. She focuses on teaching people the value of good nutrition and helping them lead healthy lives by natural means. Benjamin has a masters in Foods and Nutrition, and has been a longtime member and Fellow of AND (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) and the... more

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