Calories in Garlic and Its Health Benefits

garlic nutrition facts
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Garlic is a food that healthy eaters either love or hate. But if you're trying to watch your waistline or improve your diet, garlic nutrition can give you a boost. Find out how to prepare garlic and why you should add this low-calorie food to your meals.

Calories in Garlic and Nutrition Facts

Garlic Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 average clove (4 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 4 
Calories from Fat 0 
Total Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 1mg0%
Potassium 12mg0%
Carbohydrates 1g1%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Sugars 0g 
Protein 0g 
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 1% · Iron 0%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

A 4-gram garlic clove provides almost no nutritional value. Because you are likely to eat so little of the food, garlic calories are not likely to make a noticeable difference in your daily food intake. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't consume garlic or use it in your cooking.

Garlic can support your healthy eating or weight loss program. Because it is so flavorful, a tiny amount can add a delicious savory flavor to your food without providing any fat or calories. Garlic can also be used as a replacement for salt if you are trying to cut back on sodium but still want food that has a satisfying taste.

Health Benefits of Garlic 

Garlic has been used to treat illness and disease for thousands of years. In fact, there are biblical references to the use of garlic in medicine. According to some sources, Hippocrates prescribed garlic for a variety of illnesses and early Olympic athletes used garlic as the first "performance enhancing" drug.

So how can garlic help you today? Some people believe that consuming garlic can help cure your common cold faster, help to reduce cold sores, aid in the treatment of acne, banish mosquitos and even improve the texture of your hair. None of these benefits have been proven, however.

Some researchers who have studied garlic have found some positive associations between consumption of the food and positive outcomes.

Potential benefits include:

  • Immune enhancement
  • Anti-cancer properties
  • Antioxidative benefits
  • Cholesterol-lowering benefits
  • Improved blood pressure

Can you expect to experience all of these benefits if you boost your garlic consumption? No. Scientists have not established a direct cause and effect relationship between garlic and these benefits. In fact, some studies have concluded that the benefits of garlic have been overstated.

But since garlic is inexpensive and can benefit your diet in other ways, there is usually no harm in adding it to your diet. According to the National Institutes of Health, garlic is probably safe for most people.

Common Questions About Garlic

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about garlic.

Is Garlic an Herb?

No. Garlic is not really an herb or a spice. Some refer to garlic as a vegetable, but this pungent food doesn't fall neatly into any category. Garlic is actually a member of the lily family. That's right, this pungent food comes from the same family as the tall beautiful flowers you're used to seeing in the spring. Like lilies, garlic bulbs grow underground with a shoot that grows above ground and roots that extend below. The part that we eat is the bulb.

Onions, leeks, and shallots are also members of the lily family.

Why Do My Eyes Burn When I Chop Garlic?

Garlic contains an enzyme that can cause your eyes to water. When you slice or chop garlic the enzyme is released. If you get the substance on your hands and then touch your eyes with your hands, it can cause slight irritation and your eyes might water.

Is Garlic Skin Edible?
No. You should remove garlic skin before adding garlic to your recipes.

What Is the Best Way to Remove Garlic Skin?
You can buy a tubular silicon device to remove garlic skin, but most savvy cooks remove it without additional tools.

Some cooks shake garlic in an enclosed bowl or container to remove the skin. Others smash garlic with the broad (flat) side of a knife to remove part of the skin and then remove the rest with their hands.

What Is the Best Way to Select and Store Garlic?
When selecting garlic at the grocery store, avoid buying any bulbs that are starting to get soft. Once you get it home, store it at room temperature in a wire or mesh container. Avoid using plastic bags and keep the tops attached to keep garlic fresh longer.

Garlic Recipes

Chopped garlic can be added to almost any savory dish for a burst of flavor. To get you started, here are some recipes featuring garlic.

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Article Sources
  • National Institutes of Health. Garlic. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Web. 2017.
  • Tsai C-W, Chen H-W, Lii C-K. Garlic: Health Benefits and Actions. BioMedicine. 2012;2(1):17–29.