Garlic: Nutritional facts and health benefits


Garlic: Nutritional Facts

Garlic is a highly nutritious vegetable that provides an array of essential nutrients and health-promoting compounds. Here are the approximate nutritional facts for 3 cloves of raw garlic, which weigh around 9 grams:

  1. Calories: 13 kcal
  2. Carbohydrates: 2.9 grams
  3. Protein: 0.6 grams
  4. Fat: 0.03 grams
  5. Fiber: 0.1 grams
  6. Sugar: 0.1 grams

Vitamins (per 9 grams of garlic):

  1. Vitamin C: 1.5 mg (2% DV)
  2. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 0.2 mg (11% DV)

Minerals (per 9 grams of garlic):

  1. Manganese: 0.1 mg (5% DV)
  2. Calcium: 5.4 mg (1% DV)
  3. Iron: 0.2 mg (1% DV)
  4. Phosphorus: 9 mg (1% DV)
  5. Potassium: 36 mg (1% DV)
  6. Copper: 0.01 mg (1% DV)
  7. Selenium: 0.4 mcg (1% DV)

Garlic is particularly known for its bioactive compounds, including:

  1. Allicin: A sulfur-containing compound responsible for garlic’s distinctive aroma and potential health benefits.
  2. Alliinase: An enzyme that converts alliin to allicin when garlic is crushed or chopped.
  3. Organosulfur compounds: These compounds are formed when allicin breaks down and have various health-promoting properties.

Garlic Health Benefits

Garlic has been used for centuries not only as a culinary ingredient but also for its potential medicinal properties. Numerous studies have explored the health benefits of garlic, and while more research is needed, here are some of the potential health benefits associated with garlic consumption:

  1. Cardiovascular health: Garlic may help improve heart health by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Some studies suggest that garlic can lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol), and triglycerides, which are risk factors for heart disease. It may also have anti-thrombotic properties that help prevent blood clots.
  2. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects: Garlic contains antioxidants that help protect the body’s cells from oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals. Its anti-inflammatory properties may also help reduce inflammation in the body, which is associated with various chronic diseases.
  3. Immune system support: Garlic has immune-enhancing properties that can help strengthen the immune system and increase the body’s resistance to infections and illnesses. It may also have antimicrobial properties that can help fight against certain bacteria and viruses.
  4. Cancer prevention: Some studies suggest that garlic consumption may be associated with a reduced risk of certain types of cancer, including stomach and colorectal cancer. The organosulfur compounds in garlic are thought to play a role in its potential cancer-fighting effects.
  5. Improved circulation: Garlic may help improve blood flow and circulation, which can benefit various parts of the body, including the brain and extremities.
  6. Regulation of blood sugar: Some research suggests that garlic may have a positive impact on blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity, making it potentially beneficial for individuals with diabetes or at risk of developing diabetes.
  7. Detoxification support: Garlic may assist in the detoxification process by supporting the liver in filtering and eliminating toxins from the body.
  8. Bone health: Garlic contains certain compounds that may help improve bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

How many cloves of garlic should a person eat per day?

The number of garlic cloves a person should eat per day can vary based on factors such as individual health, personal preferences, and any existing medical conditions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a daily intake of 2 to 5 grams of fresh garlic (approximately one clove) is considered safe and beneficial for health. This amount is enough to provide potential health benefits without causing significant side effects.

However, some people may be more sensitive to garlic, and excessive consumption can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort and bad breath. Additionally, if you have certain medical conditions or are taking specific medications, it’s best to consult with a gastroenterologist before significantly increasing your garlic intake.

As with any dietary changes or supplements, moderation is key. It’s always a good idea to incorporate garlic as part of a balanced diet rather than relying solely on its potential health benefits from consuming large amounts.

Garlic bread recipe

Garlic bread is a delicious and easy-to-make side dish that complements many meals. Here’s a simple recipe for making garlic bread at home:


  • 1 French baguette or Italian bread loaf
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced (adjust to your preference)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (optional, for added flavor and color)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional, for extra garlic flavor)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional, for a cheesy version)


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Slice the baguette or bread loaf in half lengthwise, creating two flat surfaces for the garlic butter to spread on.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the softened butter, minced garlic, chopped parsley (if using), salt, black pepper, and garlic powder (if using). You can also add the grated Parmesan cheese at this point if you want a cheesy garlic bread.
  4. Mix the ingredients thoroughly until well combined.
  5. Spread the garlic butter mixture evenly over both halves of the bread.
  6. If you’re using grated Parmesan cheese, sprinkle it evenly over the buttered bread.
  7. Press the two halves back together and wrap the loaf in aluminum foil, leaving the top exposed.
  8. Place the wrapped loaf on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the bread is heated through and the butter has melted.
  9. If you prefer a crispy top, open the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the bread’s top becomes lightly toasted.
  10. Once done, remove the garlic bread from the oven, and let it cool slightly for a few minutes.
  11. Carefully unwrap the foil and transfer the garlic bread to a cutting board.
  12. Slice the bread into individual pieces and serve it warm.

Enjoy your homemade garlic bread as a delightful accompaniment to pasta dishes, soups, salads, or just as a delicious snack on its own!

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How can I contact gastroenterologist Dr. Zavos for an appointment?

Dr. Chris Zavos is a board-certified gastroenterologist and hepatologist, located in Thessaloniki Greece, and specifically in Kalamaria suburb, about 7 kilometres (4 miles) southeast of downtown Thessaloniki. His private office is at: Fanariou 8 street (near Aigaiou and Adrianoupoleos avenues), Kalamaria (Thessaloniki), Greece.

Thessaloniki International Airport is only 10 km away from his private office in Kalamaria and can be reached by taxi within 13 minutes from the airport.

Dr. Chris Zavos performs endoscopies at Bioclinic private hospital in downtown Thessaloniki (Mitropoleos 86 street).

You can contact Dr. Zavos at phone numbers: (+30)-6976596988 and (+30)-2311283833, or you can email him at Dr. Zavos responds to Greek and English languages.

Last update: 26 September 2023, 19:07


Gastroenterologist - Hepatologist, Thessaloniki

PhD at Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

PGDip at Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, The Netherlands

Ex President, Hellenic H. pylori & Microbiota Study Group