Pico de Gallo Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

pico de gallo in a bowl with wooden spoon

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Pico de gallo is a roughly chopped version of salsa typically made of fresh tomato, onion, and jalapeno pepper, plus ample cilantro and lime juice. It is refreshing and provides a lot of nutrients without being high in calories or fat.

Also called salsa fresca and salsa cruda—fresh salsa and crude salsa, respectively—pico de gallo is traditionally used in Mexican cuisine. It also appears in many Central American, South American, and Spanish dishes. 

Pico de Gallo Nutrition Facts

Roughly three-eighths of a cup of pico de gallo (100g) provides 17 calories, 0.7g of protein, 3.7g of carbohydrates, and 0.1g of fat. Pico de gallo is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and phosphorus. This nutrition information is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 17
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Sodium: 443mg
  • Carbohydrates: 3.7g
  • Fiber: 1.1g
  • Sugars: 2.1g
  • Protein: 0.7g
  • Vitamin C: 10.8mg
  • Potassium: 157mg
  • Phosphorus: 19mg

Carbs

Most of the calories in pico de gallo come from carbohydrates in the veggies. Of these carbs, 1.1 grams are in the form of fiber and 2.1 grams are natural sugars.

Still, at less than four grams of carbs in a 100-gram serving, pico de gallo makes for a versatile snack or topping. You can pair it with tortillas, rice, or vegetables for more healthy carbs.

Fats

Pico de gallo has almost no fat. So, if you want to feel full after enjoying some pico, it’s best to pair it with a source of healthy fats, such as fish, plantains pan-fried in olive oil, ground beef, or avocado.

Adding fats to your pico de gallo does more than keep you full. Dietary fat also provides important health benefits, such as improving your cholesterol levels, reducing your risk of heart disease, and keeping your brain healthy.

Protein

There’s less than one gram of protein in a 100-gram serving of pico de gallo. But most people pair it with some form of animal protein, like ground beef in tacos.

You can also top meat substitutes, such as tofu, with pico de gallo to reap the many benefits of dietary protein. Among these benefits are muscle growth, bone and tissue health, and satiety. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Though pico de gallo doesn’t contain much energy, it still packs an impressive nutrient punch, offering good amounts of vitamin C, potassium, and phosphorus. It also provides vitamins A, E, and K, as well as calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, folate, and choline.

Pico can be high in sodium, at 443 milligrams in a 100-gram serving. This is almost 20% of the daily recommended intake for someone with healthy blood pressure readings and around 33% of the suggested intake for those with high blood pressure.

Calories

Pico de gallo is made up entirely of non-starchy produce (and lots of water—94 grams in a 100-gram serving), so it has very little caloric value. While around three-eighths of a cup contains just 17 calories, you can enjoy an entire cup of pico de gallo and still only take in 41 calories.

Summary

Pico de gallo is extremely low in calories and fat. Adding this condiment to your dietary eating plan is a great way to get a variety of nutrients. However, you may want to limit your intake if you're watching your sodium.

Health Benefits

Thanks to its high water content and vegetable variety, pico de gallo offers many health benefits. 

Boosts Hydration

Fluids in the traditional sense (e.g., water or milk) aren’t the only source of hydration. Approximately 20% of the water you take in daily comes from the foods you eat. Pico de gallo is a great way to help stay hydrated since it consists of more than 90% water.

Supports Blood Sugar Stability

Eating a serving of pico de gallo shouldn’t cause any spikes in blood sugar or contribute to blood sugar instability. Some medical experts include pico de gallo in diabetes-friendly recipes and meal plans.

Reduces Inflammation

Many of the ingredients in pico de gallo contain important antioxidants that may help to keep inflammation at bay. For example, onions are rich in vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant to protect your cells against damage from free radicals.

Promotes Healthy Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Levels

Though traditional pico doesn't contain garlic, some recipes include it. Add garlic to yours and it might help lower your cholesterol levels. Other studies have connected garlic intake with a blood pressure reduction.

Aids in Weight Loss

If you’re trying to incorporate lower-calorie options into your dietary pattern in an effort to lose weight, and you love sauces and condiments, you may feel restricted from some of your favorite flavors. Low-calorie options like pico de gallo can keep your taste buds satisfied while helping you reach your health goals. 

Allergies

While pico de gallo doesn’t contain any common allergens, some people may have sensitivities to its FODMAPs. FODMAP stands for “fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols,” which are a cause of digestive distress for some people. 

Onions and garlic are two of the foods highest in a type of FODMAP called fructans. People who experience digestive upset after eating FODMAPs may want to consult with a registered dietitian to determine if a low-FODMAP diet is appropriate, or if it is necessary to temporarily eliminate onions and garlic. 

Adverse Effects

Pico de gallo shouldn’t result in any adverse effects for most people, with the exception of those sensitive to FODMAPs. But because pico de gallo consists of acidic and spicy ingredients, it may induce heartburn for some people. It might even aggravate symptoms in people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). 

Varieties

Because pico de gallo is a combination of ingredients, there aren't specific varieties, per se. There are, however, different variations of pico. In addition to traditional recipes, you can also make sweeter versions of this salsa, such as by adding fruit.

When It’s Best

If you like to shop at farmers’ markets, tomatoes are freshest from May to October (with some variations depending on where you live), as are most pepper varieties. Onions are also typically harvested in early to mid-summer.

Cilantro is harvested in early summer but can remain available throughout the year when stored properly. Limes are typically harvested twice a year, once in the summer and once in the winter. 

In some climates, all of these ingredients grow year-round. Wherever you live, most supermarkets stock all the ingredients you need for pico de gallo all year long. 

Storage and Food Safety

Store pico de gallo in an airtight food container in the fridge. It should keep up to a week, or even 10 days if you keep your fridge very cold. The fresh ingredients will start to get mushy as time goes on. Adding a bit of lime or lemon juice may help keep your pico fresh for longer.

How to Prepare

Pico de gallo is one of those magical foods that’s somehow good on everything (or, at least, everything savory): Tacos, pan-seared fish, rice, scrambled eggs, burgers, guacamole... and the list goes on.

Making pico is easy. Simply chop all of the ingredients into small or medium chunks. No need to worry too much about the size—but know that, in true pico de gallo, all of the ingredients are easily distinguishable.

Toss everything into a large mixing bowl, add lime juice, and store in the fridge. Pico de gallo often tastes best when the flavors have a chance to mingle, so let it sit in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

If you want to change up your recipe, try these pico de gallo variations:

  • Low-FODMAP pico de gallo without garlic and onions. Use the green part of scallions to get the onion taste and toss veggies in garlic-infused olive oil. Just make sure the oil's ingredients label doesn’t list “garlic essential oil” or “garlic essence."
  • Mild pico de gallo with serrano or bell peppers instead of jalapenos. You can also use tri-colored sweet peppers for even more color and sweetness. 
  • Mango pico de gallo with mango, tomatoes, red onions, lime juice, and cilantro. This fruity version is great on hot days.
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