The varying uses of Garlic: Nutritional Value and Benefits

Parul Dube

December 21, 2021

The word garlic is a derivative of the old English word ‘Garleac’. It means ‘spear-shaped leek’, which belongs to the leek family. Garlic, also scientifically known as Allium sativum, belongs to the same genus as onion, shallots, and leek. They are all bulbous flowering plants. Garlic in Sanskrit is ‘Mahosuddha’, meaning ‘one that cures all’. There are various uses of garlic and it stands true to these claims. This vegetable is an integral ingredient in today’s global cuisine culture, medicinal practices, traditions and folklore. Being such a versatile component, it is widely used and loved by all.

In 1922, a team led by Howard Carter discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb. Their findings included tonnes of gold, silver and garlic. The youngest Pharaoh from Egypt was mummified with garlic by his side. The Egyptians are not the only community of people who revere garlic. Garlic is famous worldwide. 

Origin and Popularity of Garlic Across Various Countries

Garlic is supposed to be the native of Central Asia, North-eastern Iran. One finds mention of garlic in ancient texts in Egypt and India. The Babylonians used garlic for its medicinal properties 4500 years ago.

Garlic reached India roughly the same time as China via the trading routes. When Indian merchants returned home from Babylon, they brought this pungent, flavourful herb that made a permanent place for itself in every household.

Spain and Italy have garlic as a ‘must have’ ingredient, but China tops them all. With 21 million tonnes of net production, China tops the global production and consumption list. 

Composition and Nutritional Value of Garlic

Studies have shown that garlic is a rich source of beneficial sulphur compounds, bioactive substances and antioxidants. It is also among the richest sources of phenolic compounds.

Collectively, these chemicals have shown promising properties. They are anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antibacterial, etc. In addition, they lead to better cardiovascular functioning, renal functioning, gut health, and obesity control. Garlic also fights cancer. No wonder Doctors too prescribe garlic to their patients.

Garlic contains a plethora of nutrients and minerals. 

The nutritional content of garlic:

Portion size – 100 gm of Garlic

  • Calories- 149
  • Fat – 0.5 gram
  • Sodium – 17 mg
  • Carbohydrate – 33.1 grams
  • Fibres – 2.1 grams
  • Sugar – 1 gram
  • Proteins – 6.4 grams 
  • Potassium – 401 mg

7 Unknown Benefits and Uses of Garlic

1. The Most Potent Superfood

Garlic has always been known for having medicinal properties.

As per studies, people who consume garlic during the flu season have a 63% lower risk of catching the virus.

This miraculous property of garlic is due to ‘allin’, a well-known immunity booster. So the next time you have a cold, you know what to do.

2. Weight Loss And Garlic

Time and again, we have heard that garlic aids weight loss.

Garlic is a very nutritionally dense, low-calorie food. About 3 grams of garlic contains 4.5 calories.

In addition, it has loads of nutrients like zinc, selenium, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Garlic works as an energy booster. It keeps one fit and increases metabolism. 

3. Garlic as a Blood Pressure Lowering Agent

We all know someone whose morning ritual includes chewing raw pods of garlic on an empty stomach.

Consuming 600 to 1500 mg of garlic daily on an empty stomach has the same effect as taking prescribed medication atenolol.

Garlic is also known for lowering cholesterol levels in patients and promoting heart and cardiovascular health. So if done daily and religiously, this habit can have very beneficial results in the long run.

4. As a Cure to Alzheimer’s and Dementia

The phenolic compounds present in garlic benefit the nervous system.

It helps in the efficient production of neurotransmitters. All the facts make garlic a good cure for ‘memory related’ issues such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. So please don’t forget to make garlic a part of your meals.

5. Increases Athletic Performance

During the first Olympics, athletes carried garlic with them. Garlic is a pick me up as it provides an instant surge of energy and vigour.

This practice holds to date as garlic boosts the functioning of almost every organ system and thus enhances a person’s athletic capabilities. 

6. Bone Density

Garlic is among the very few vegetable sources of selenium and sulphur.

While selenium directly influences bone health, Sulphur acts as a metabolite in the calcium cycle. Combining these two will give anyone solid and healthy bones. So if you are tired of talking just milk for better bones, you have a competent alternative now!

7. Healthier And Longer Life

The saying is that if consumed regularly, garlic can increase a person’s life span significantly.

Since garlic improves immunity, promotes heart and gut health, and contains rich antioxidants, longevity is the most apparent by-product. It also is good for one’s skin and hair. Garlic is truly nature’s most potent superfood!

Types and Parts of Garlic Fit for Consumption

Worldwide, more than 11 varieties of garlic are grown. There are various uses of garlic. Apart from the bulb or cloves that we most frequently eat, the leaves and flowers of the garlic plant are also edible.  

Here are the most commonly used garlic varieties:

1. Artichoke Garlic 

The garlic you have in your kitchen right now is the artichoke garlic. It’s the most commonly grown garlic and has a subtle and delicious flavour.

2. Rocambole Garlic 

This garlic variant is brownish and grows in Russia and Spain. It is known for its sweet taste.

3. Porcelain Garlic 

This garlic is found mainly in the northern belts. It has several layers of flesh with purple stripes on the inside.

4. Asiatic Garlic 

Used all over Asia but cultivated and popularised by the Asia Temple in Korea. This garlic has a strong taste and smell.

5. Himalayan Single Clove Garlic

Among the most expensive garlic produce, with only one clove per bulb. It has a lotus-like appearance. Because it grows in Kashmir, ‘snow garlic’ and ‘Kashmiri garlic’ are other names. It is seven times more potent than any other variety of garlic. However, scientifically this claim is not proved entirely. This type is popular among the sick and elderly.

Easy And Healthy Garlic Recipes:

1. Garlic Water

Uses of Garlic- HealthifyMe

Serving Size – 1


500ml of water and two cloves of garlic

Steps to follow:

  1. Pour a glass of warm water into a pan and add two garlic cloves. 
  2. Let the mixture sit for 2 hours or more (preferably 6 to 8 hours). 
  3. Drink it as detox water throughout the day, and notice your skin glow!

2. Garlic Tea

Garlic and its benefits- HealthifyMe

Garlic tea is a typical Indian remedy for sore throat and cold. 

Serving size – 2


  • Milk: 250ml 
  • Jaggery Powder: Two tablespoons
  • Tea Leaves: Two tablespoons
  • Garlic: Three cloves crushed medium-sized garlic

Steps to follow:

  1. Pour the milk into a pan, heat it for a minute or two, and bring it to a boil.
  2. Once the milk is frothy, add crushed garlic, tea leaves and jaggery powder. 
  3. Heat the concoction on a low flame till the colour becomes golden brown.
  4. Once done, strain the mixture through a sieve and serve hot. 

3. Cauliflower Soup with Toasted Garlic

Cauliflower Soup- HealthifyMe

It is a very filling, savoury and healthy dish that would leave you wanting more!

Serving size – 4


  • Garlic: 3 cloves 
  • Olive Oil: 2 tablespoons 
  • Cauliflower: One small head
  • Minced chicken/paneer: 500 gm 
  • Thyme leaves: As per preference 
  • Salt: As per taste 
  • Black Pepper: As per taste

Steps to follow:

  1. Add the garlic to hot oil and roast till it is golden brown. The process usually takes 2-3 minutes and, once done, keep it aside.
  2. Add 500 ml of water to a pot and bring it to a boil. Add the choppy cauliflower, chicken/paneer, thyme leaves, salt, and black pepper as per taste. 
  3. Let the concoction simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Crush the roasted garlic and add it to the pot.
  5. Let the mixture cool and blend it in a grinder. Serve the broth hot with your choice of garnish. 

4. At Home Cheese Garlic Bread

Nutritional Value of Garlic- HealthifyMe

Serving Size – 4


  • Garlic: Two cloves 
  • Brown Bread: 8 slices
  • Grated cheese: 200 gm 
  • Ghee/butter: 4 tablespoons 
  • Chilli flakes: As per taste
  • Salt: As per taste

Steps to follow:

  1. Add chopped garlic and butter/ghee in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Take a piece of bread and coat it with the butter garlic mixture on both sides. Now toast it on a pan until lightly golden on both sides.
  3. Add the grated cheese to the bread and cover it with another slice. Add a pinch of salt, paprika and chilli flakes.
  4. Toast this sandwich for another 1 minute on low flame to allow the cheese to melt. Tadda! Your healthy garlic cheese bread is ready in under 15 minutes. 

With these uses of garlic, say no to unhealthy takeaway for you.

Common Uses of Garlic Outside Food

1. Garlic Oil for Massages 

Among many other uses of garlic, crushed garlic added to warm oil is a common remedy for cough and cold. This practice has a scientific reason. Garlic is rich in Allin, a compound that helps in boosting immunity. In addition, when consumed directly or rubbed on one’s body, it works as volatile vapours. So the next time someone offers you a hot garlic oil massage, say yes immediately.

2. Garlic for Skin and Haircare

Garlic is a good source of Sulphur, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C. Consuming them will result in good skin and hair. However, the vitamin and sulphur molecules are so big that they cannot penetrate the skin when applied as a face pack. However, beauty enthusiasts love using garlic in DIY face and hair packs for anti-acne, skin brightening and anti-dandruff qualities. 


At HealthifyMe, we strongly believe in the adage by Thomas Edison: “The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” So, if you desire long and healthy life for yourself and your near and dear ones, garlic is just the thing for you!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What are the benefits of eating garlic?

A. Garlic is good for hair, skin, heart and gut. It also has anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Q2. What are the uses of Garlic?

A. Garlic has proven effective in fighting against the common cold, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

Q3. How much garlic should I eat in a day?

A. Four cloves of garlic are good enough to meet all your daily requirements.

Q4. What happens if I eat garlic every day?

A. There are no disadvantages if garlic is consumed every day in moderation. But excessive use of garlic can leave you with bad breath, acidity issues and mild nausea.

Q5. Is eating garlic daily harmful?

A. No, adding garlic to your food daily in moderation has no ill effects as per science.

Q6. Can garlic reduce belly fat?

A. There is no such thing as spot reduction. But yes, garlic aids weight loss as it increases metabolism. This quality, in turn, can reduce overall body fat and belly fat.

Q7. What are the benefits of Garlic Water?

A. Garlic water aids digestion, boosts immunity and is suitable for overall health and longevity.

Q8. Are there any uses of garlic as an antibiotic?

A. The best way to reap the antibacterial properties of garlic is by direct consumption. In addition, you can also apply garlic juice to injuries to prevent infection.

Q9. When should I eat raw garlic?

A. Eating raw garlic on an empty stomach for maximum benefits is advisable. 

Q10. What does garlic do to a man?

A. Garlic is known to stimulate a person’s mood. That applies to both genders. There is no connection with men specifically. However, excessive intake may increase body heat. 

Q11. Is eating garlic on an empty stomach good?

A. Yes, eating garlic on an empty stomach is beneficial. Eating 3 to 4 cloves of raw garlic on an empty stomach can regulate blood pressure. It also gives one glowing skin. 

Q12. What is the most common use of garlic?

A. Garlic is famous as a spice and condiment all across the world. You can also use it to cure common ailments and chronic health issues like blood pressure, obesity management.

About the Author

Parul holds a Masters of Medical Science in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and has worked across the globe from the U.K to New Zealand (NZ) gaining her License with the Health Professionals Council (HPC, UK) and the NZ Nutrition Council. From being a Gold medalist in Clinical Nutrition to being awarded an internship with World Health Organisation (WHO, Cairo, Egypt) and Contracts with CDC Parul has had a wide spectrum of work experiences. She is very passionate about Nutrition and Fitness and holds strong to her guiding mantras ‘ Move more’ and ‘Eat Food that your grandmother can recognize’!

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