Raw power

If I told you to go chew on a clove of garlic, you’d probably think I’d lost my mind. And I’ll admit, it does sound strange.

But it could also cut your risk of lung cancer nearly in half. So hear me out.

Researchers recently conducted a population study of nearly 6,000 Chinese subjects—1,424 with lung cancer and 4,543 healthy controls. Face-to-face interviews and standard questionnaires assessed for lifestyle and risk factors, with a focus on cigarette smoking and raw garlic consumption in particular.

Analysis revealed that eating raw garlic twice weekly or more was associated with a 44 percent lower risk of lung cancer over the seven year study period.

Even smokers’ lungs benefited from regular garlic consumption. Among this group, diets rich in raw garlic were linked with a 30 percent reduction on lung cancer risk. Not quite as high… but significant protection, nevertheless.

So next time you’re in the kitchen, mince up some fresh garlic to throw in salad dressing, salsa, or a chilled tomato soup. Go ahead and chew up a whole clove, if that’s your style.

Because for a benefit like this, a little bad breath is a small price to pay.


“Raw garlic consumption as a protective factor for lung cancer, a population-based case-control study in a Chinese population.” Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2013 Jul;6(7):711-8.

Whiteman, Honor. “Lung cancer risk cut by eating raw garlic.” Medical News Today. 9 August 2013.