While there’s no shortage of superstitions surrounding garlic, it can also be a powerful tool in fighting the common cold. In a 2001 double-blind, placebo-controlled study, British scientists led by Peter Josling tested 146 healthy adults over 12 weeks during flu and cold season. Only 24 of those randomly selected to take the garlic supplement fell ill, compared to 65 of the placebo participants.
Allicin, the compound responsible for garlic's intense odor, blocks enzymes that affect bacterial and viral infections. More research is needed to conclude whether garlic's antioxidant, preventative powers are useful at the start of a cold or only when eaten weeks in advance. Either way, adding a serving of this aromatic herb to your diet may help fight the sniffles.
Stay Well: Afraid of reeking like garlic? Garlic supplements can be found at your local vitamin retailer, but caution — some have complained of rashes and nausea after taking them.