Pico de Gallo Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

pico de gallo in a bowl with wooden spoon

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Pico de gallo is one of those magical foods that’s somehow good on everything (or, at least, everything savory). Tacos? Pico de gallo. Pan-seared fish? Pico de gallo. Rice, scrambled eggs, guacamole? Pico de gallo! 

Also called salsa fresca and salsa cruda (fresh salsa and crude salsa, respectively), pico de gallo is traditionally used in Mexican cuisine, but these days it also appears in many Central American, South American, and Spanish dishes. 

This roughly chopped version of salsa includes small chunks of fresh tomato, onion, and peppers, plus ample cilantro, garlic, and lime juice. Pico de gallo is a refreshing, healthy dip with countless uses—here’s everything you should know about the nutritional value of pico de gallo.

Pico de Gallo Nutrition Facts

This nutrition information for 100 grams of fresh pico de gallo is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

  • Calories: 17
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 444mg
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 2g
  • Protein: 1g

Carbs

Pico de gallo is made up entirely of non-starchy produce, so it has very little caloric value. In fact, the USDA food database indicates that 100 grams of pico de gallo actually consists of 94 grams of water—meaning this delicious dish is more water than not! 

Though pico de gallo has few calories, most of those calories come from carbohydrates in the onions, tomatoes, and peppers. Still, with just four grams of carbohydrates in a 100-gram serving, pico de gallo is a keto-friendly snack or topping. You can pair pico de gallo with tortillas, rice, or vegetables for more healthy carbs.

Fats

Pico de gallo has zero grams of 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, pan-fried plantains in olive oil, ground beef, or avocado. Adding fats to your pico de gallo does more than keep you full—dietary fat provides important health benefits, such as improving your cholesterol levels, reducing your risk of heart disease, and keeping your brain healthy.

Protein

There’s only one gram of protein in a 100-gram serving of pico de gallo, but most people pair pico de gallo 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 benefits of dietary protein, such as muscle growth, bone and tissue health, and appetite control. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Though pico de gallo doesn’t contain much energy, it still packs an impressive punch of nutrients. Pico de gallo contains vitamin C, A, and K, as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, folate, and choline.

Health Benefits

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

Hydrating

Did you know that fluids in the traditional sense (e.g., water or milk) aren’t the only source of hydration? Many of the foods you eat each day contribute to your overall water intake. Pico de gallo is more than 90 percent water, so don’t be surprised if you have to take a potty break a while after eating some.

Keto-Friendly

With just four grams of carbs per 100 grams, pico de gallo is a great condiment or dip option for people on a keto or low-carb diet. You can top tacos, salads, and other meals with pico de gallo for lots of flavor but virtually no carbs. 

Diabetes-Friendly

The low carbohydrate content also means pico de gallo is safe and healthy for people with diabetes. Eating a serving of pico de gallo shouldn’t cause any spikes in your blood sugar or contribute to blood sugar instability. In fact, the Mayo Clinic even includes pico de gallo in its diabetes meal plan choices.

Antioxidant-Rich

Many of the ingredients in pico de gallo contain important antioxidants that may keep bodily 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. Garlic is high in compounds believed to lower cholesterol levels and reduce high blood pressure. Limes contain several antioxidants, including quercetin, flavonoids, and ascorbic acid as well as vitamin C.

Low Calorie

If you’re trying to lose weight and love sauces and condiments, you may feel restricted from some of your favorite flavors. Not all toppings are off-limits, though. Low-calorie options like pico de gallo (which contains fewer than 20 calories for a large serving) can keep you satisfied while helping you lose weight and reach your health goals. 

Allergies

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

FODMAPs include a rather long list of foods, including onions and garlic. In fact, research shows that onions and garlic are two of the foods highest in a type of FODMAP called “fructans.”

People who experience digestive upset in response to eating FODMAPs may want to avoid pico de gallo or make the dip sans onions and garlic. 

Adverse Effects

Pico de gallo shouldn’t result in any adverse effects for most people, with the exception of FODMAP sensitivity as described above. One other symptom to look out for is heartburn or acid reflux. Because pico de gallo consists of acidic and spicy ingredients, it may induce heartburn for some people and aggravate symptoms in people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). 

Varieties

The beauty of pico de gallo is that you can make it in whatever way your heart desires. You can chop the veggies into larger chunks or smaller chunks, use more or less of any ingredient, or even add ingredients that don’t traditionally go in pico de gallo (may we suggest this uber-fresh watermelon-cucumber pico de gallo for summer picnics?). 

Try these other pico de gallo ideas:

  • Low-FODMAP pico de gallo without garlic and onions. Use the green part of scallions to get the delicious onion taste, and try garlic-infused olive oil to toss the ingredients in (just make sure the ingredients label doesn’t list “garlic essential oil” or “garlic essence”). This low-FODMAP garlic infused olive oil from Fody Foods should do the trick.
  • 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 of pico de gallo is great on hot days.

When It’s Best

Most supermarkets stock all the ingredients you need for pico de gallo year-round. 

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 and garlic both get 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, but in any case, you can always pick them up at the grocery store. 

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, but keep in mind the fresh ingredients will start to get mushy as time goes on. It might help to add a bit of extra lime juice or some lemon juice to keep it fresh longer.

How to Prepare

Making pico de gallo 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 the lime juice, and store in the fridge. Pico de gallo often tastes best when the flavors have a chance to mingle, so we suggest letting it sit in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

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