“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 nutrition content, 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 as part of their weaning diet. 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.
Jennifer Sayegh Wilcox, a registered dietitian from Columbia, Maryland, says, “For some babies, garlic can upset digestive health because it is an oligosaccharide, a type of carbohydrate that some adults and babies cannot break down. If your baby is intolerant to garlic, they may experience gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, irritability, and fussiness. Therefore, for babies with colic, garlic should be avoided because it can worsen the condition.”
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 effectsiXEffects caused by protozoans, which are single-celled organisms like parasites. , which could help protect the baby from infections (2).
|Nutrient||Unit||Value per 100 g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||g||33.1|
|Fiber, total dietary||g||2.1|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||mg||31.2|
|Vitamin A, IU||IU||31.2|
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 microbesiXHealthy microorganisms that offer health benefits when consumed residing in the baby’s digestive system.
3. Kills harmful intestinal worms in babies
When intestinal worms such as tapewormsiXFlat, segmented worms that live and feed in human intestines. 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 drugiXA drug used to expel parasitic worms or other internal parasites from the body. to kill the intestinal worms (4).
4. Anti-inflammatory effect supports immune system
Garlic stimulates cell types such as macrophagesiXLarge, specialized cells that provide immunity, tissue development, and repair of damaged tissues. , lymphocytesiXA type of white blood cells that fight against foreign viruses by providing immunity to the body. , natural killer (NK) cells, dendritic cellsiXSpecial cells found in the tissues to provide immunity to the body. , and eosinophilsiXSpecialized white blood cells to reduce infection and enhance the immune system. , 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). It is also rich in antioxidants that act as a protective agent against gastric pathologies (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 solid food and follow a 3-5 day wait rule to rule out any baby allergies. If they do not show any allergic 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
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)
- Transfer all the ingredients to a pressure cooker and cook on slight flame for 10 minutes and low flame for 15 minutes.
- Strain the broth after cooling it down and serve warm.
2. Tomato rasam (Indian recipe)
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
- Heat oil, add cumin seeds, garlic, and peppercorns. Sauté.
- Add water and tomatoes. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove off the flame and let it cool.
- Mash well. To remove the tomato skin, strain the mixture.
- Add the sautéd mixture.
- Feed it as soup or serve with mashed rice.
3. Garlic bread (10 months)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
You will need:
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 ciabatta (Italian white bread)
- 50g softened butter
- 1tsp fresh parsley (chopped)
- Add butter, parsley, and crushed garlic clove in a bowl and mix well.
- Spread the mix as a thin layer on both sides of the bread.
- Bake the bread in a preheat oven at 200 degrees C/Gas mark 6 for five to 10 minutes.
- 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.
3. Can garlic help my baby with ear infections?
Yes, garlic derivatives such as allicin and s-allyl cysteine (SAC) showed antimicrobial activity against commonly isolated microorganisms in ear infections, even at low concentrations. These findings suggest that garlic may have potential as an alternative therapy to antibiotics for treating ear infections in the future (11).
4. Can garlic help prevent diaper rash in babies?
No, it is not advisable to put garlic on a baby’s skin to prevent diaper rash. When applied directly, garlic can cause skin burns or allergic reactions because it has chemicals that irritate the skin. It is best to use suitable treatments for diaper rash in babies (12).
5. Can garlic help with teething pain in babies?
There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that rubbing garlic on a teething baby’s gums relieves pain. It’s crucial to provide accurate information and debunk traditional beliefs to effectively address teething symptoms (13).
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.
Infographic: Is Garlic Beneficial For Babies?
The benefits of garlic for adults are well-known to all. But in addition to that, you should know that it is beneficial for babies. In the following infographic, we have included a list of potential advantages that garlic imparts to babies. So do give it a read, and remember to save it.
- Garlic, a flavoring agent, can be moderately given to babies older than six months.
- Garlic is a good source of vitamins and minerals and has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory potentials.
- Incorporate it slowly by adding one garlic to the baby’s diet daily and check for sensitivities and allergies using the three-day rule.
- Use freshly minced or crushed garlic, which can be included in the diet in the form of soup, tomato rasam, and bread.
- Consult a pediatrician if your baby exhibits signs such as difficulty breathing, vomiting, or diarrhea after consuming garlic.
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
10. Urine Smell: What Does It Mean?; Cleveland Clinic
11. Lokman Uzun et al.; Antimicrobial Activity of Garlic Derivatives on Common Causative Microorganisms of the External Ear Canal and Chronic Middle Ear Infections; National Library of Medicine (2019)
12. Garlic causes a contact burn? Yes.; University of Washington
13. Addis Getaneh et al.; Misconceptions and traditional practices towards infant teething symptoms among mothers in Southwest Ethiopia; National Library of Medicine (2018)