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Garlic vs Ginger - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Garlic
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Ginger

INTRODUCTION

Ginger belongs to the Zingiberaceae family which also includes turmeric and cardamom (1). Meanwhile, garlic belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family which includes onions, chives, and leeks (2). Ginger is lower in price. The active biological compounds in ginger include gingerols, shogaols and paradols (3). Meanwhile, the sulfur compounds of the garlic are of great chemical importance (4). Garlic tastes pungent while ginger is warmly spicy. In this article, we will explore the differences between garlic and ginger focusing on their nutritional composition and health benefit variations.

HISTORICAL USES

Garlic has been used in the ancient times to treat a variety of ailments. Historically speaking, garlic was given to Egyptian laborers to increase their strength and productivity (5). It was also fed to the performer before the Olympics to boost performance (6).

Meanwhile, ginger has been used anciently in Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Unani medicine for the treatment of ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatism, pains, cramps, constipation, indigestion, vomiting, dementia, fever, and infectious diseases (7, 8, 9).

Effects exerted

Garlic has anticancer, antithrombotic, hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia, and anti-atherosclerotic effects (10, 11). In addition to these effects, ginger has additional characteristics including anticonvulsant, analgesic, antiulcer, gastric antisecretory, antispasmodic, antithrombotic, antiallergic, antiserotonergic, anticholinergic, antineoplastic, antiemetic, radioprotective, and other beneficial effects (12, 13, 14)

WEIGHT LOSS

A meta-analysis conducted in 2019 showed that the intake of ginger reduced weight, waist-hip ratio, and the hip ratio, fasting glucose and increased HDL-cholesterol in overweight and obese individuals (15). However, it did not affect body mass index nor insulin (15). On the other hand, another meta-analysis showed that garlic supplementation reduces waist circumference but not body weight nor body mass index (16).

NUTRITION

Have a look at the charts and infographics at the end of our page. In terms of minerals, garlic is higher in calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and phosphorus. On the other hand, ginger contains more magnesium and less sodium compared to garlic. Both food items are equal in potassium. What relates to vitamins, garlic is richer in vitamin C, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, and vitamin K. Garlic contains vitamin A while ginger lacks it. In contrast, ginger is richer in vitamin E and folate. Both foods are equal in vitamin B3 content.

CALORIES

Garlic is around 1.86 times higher in calories compared to ginger.

CARBOHYDRATES

Garlic is 1.86 times higher in carbohydrates compared to ginger. Garlic contains less sugars, the difference being 0.7g.

FATS

Both foods are very low or devoid of saturated fats and cholesterol. Garlic is higher in polyunsaturated fats.

PROTEIN

Garlic is 3.49 times higher in protein than ginger.

HEALTH BENEFITS

CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH

Garlic is known to be beneficial for cardiovascular diseases. Studies suggest that garlic extract is helpful in lowering blood pressure and may be used as a high blood pressure treatment (17). Garlic also has antilipidemic effects (18, 19). Moreover, garlic has antithrombotic effects (20). Ginger is also known to have cardioprotective properties. It has anti-hypertensive, anti-hyperlipidemia, and anti-platelet effects (21). Compared to garlic and in addition to these cardiovascular effects, it has been shown that ginger may reduce abnormalities in diabetic cardiomyopathic patients (22). Moreover, ginger acts as a cardiotonic that increases the efficiency of the heart contraction and improves blood flow throughout the body (21).

CANCER

Studies showed that garlic has an anti-tumor effect primarily attributed to its bioactive compounds (DATS) (23, 24). Heating destroys the active compound in garlic which is responsible for its anti-cancer effects (25). In “Iowa Women’s Health Study”, garlic was the only food out of 127 food items that showed a significant association with decreased colon cancer risk (26). The study mentioned that for colon cancer, fresh or powdered garlic intake of one or more servings will produce a 35% lower risk (27).  Gingerol, an active ingredient in ginger, also inhibited the growth of human colorectal cancer cells (27). Gingerol showed to inhibit skin tumor promotion (28). Meanwhile, a study mentioned the importance of the consideration of the application of garlic in the chemoprevention of skin cancer (29).

ANTIOXIDANT CAPACITY

Antioxidants are scavengers of free radicals found in the body that protect the body from cell damage. Both ginger and garlic have antioxidant effects. However, ginger was found to have the highest antioxidant potency followed by dry garlic and the fresh garlic (30). The antioxidant capacity was comparable to that of vitamin C (30).

DIABETES

A study showed that ginger and garlic are insulinotropic and not hypoglycemic, and that the anti-diabetic effects of ginger are much higher than those of garlic (31). Moreover, the study suggests that higher anti-diabetic effects may be obtained when consuming a normal diet instead of a high-fat diet (31). On the other hand, the active ingredient in garlic may be beneficial in treating erectile dysfunction in diabetic patients (32).

UPSET STOMACH AND NAUSEA

Ginger has antiemetic effects. It has implications in the treatment of nausea and vomiting due to pregnancy and chemotherapy (33).

Meanwhile, garlic consumption is viewed as a possible cause of gastrointestinal adverse effects and mild nausea (34).

HAIR LOSS

A study showed that garlic is a fast, cheap, and efficient topical treatment for a type of hair loss called alopecia areata (35). Moreover, the study mentioned that this treatment has no side effects (35). A lot of shampoos containing ginger extracts are being produced nowadays. These shampoos claim to induce hair growth and stop hair loss.  However, scientific evidence revealed that 6-Gingerol, an active compound in ginger, can suppress human hair shaft elongation (36).

ALLERGIES

The topical application of raw garlic may be associated with adverse effects (37). The most common of the adverse effects include burns, contact dermatitis, and asthma although they are rare (37, 38). On the other hand, ginger has shown to suppress symptoms of rhinitis due to its anti-inflammatory and antiallergic properties (39).

Side effects

The most common side effects of garlic topical use and consumption are the pungent smell in the breath and body odor, indigestion, and flatulence (40). Meanwhile, no side effects related to ginger has been documented (41).

SUMMARY

Garlic is higher in calories, carbohydrates, and proteins. Ginger has a higher antioxidant capacity. Ginger has anti-emetic actions while garlic does not. Garlic has been associated with some allergies while ginger has anti-allergic properties. Garlic has shown to promote hair growth while ginger has shown to do the opposite.

SOURCES

  1. https://researchportal.scu.edu.au/esploro/outputs/doctoral/Phytochemistry-and-pharmacology-of-plants-from-the-ginger-family-Zingiberaceae/991012821389002368
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/092552149600018X
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11880572/
  4.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23196104/
  5.  https://worldveg.tind.io/record/23425/
  6. https://www.bigcanoe.themountainsvoice.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/garlic-Study_lawson1998.pdf
  7. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-59259-020-9_11
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16422532/
  9.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1702243
  10. https://academicjournals.org/journal/IJMMS/article-full-text-pdf/4438B2713
  11. https://journals.lww.com/jcnjournal/Abstract/2002/07000/Cardiovascular_Benefits_of_Garlic__Allium_sativum.5.aspx
  12.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25230520/
  13. https://academicjournals.org/journal/JPP/article-full-text-pdf/56E54E164970
  14.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17950516/
  15. https://sci-hub.se/https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408398.2018.1427044
  16. https://econtent.hogrefe.com/doi/abs/10.1024/0300-9831/a000607?journalCode=vit
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3561616/
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11788172/
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5400934/
  20. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/095232789090060
  21.  https://europepmc.org/article/med/33297926
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4768050/
  23. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23859039/
  24. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/acamc/2011/00000011/00000003/art00002
  25.  https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/131/3/1054S/4687116?login=true
  26. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8296768/
  27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4369959/
  28. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9719454
  29.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3499657/
  30. https://www.phytojournal.com/vol2Issue3/Issue_sep_2013/39.1.pdf
  31. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jmf.2007.634
  32. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23427186/
  33. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5887721
  34. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/mnfr.200700072
  35. https://www.iasj.net/iasj/article/51929 
  36. https://europepmc.org/article/med/24624885
  37. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17040429/
  38. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14713923/
  39. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0955286315002260
  40. https://sci-hub.se/https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/mnfr.200700072
  41. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/037887419090037T
Article author photo Christelle  Tchakerian
Profession: Institute for Integrative Nutrition New York
Last updated: April 16, 2021

Infographic

Garlic vs Ginger infographic
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Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Garlic
5
:
3
Ginger
Contains more Iron +183.3%
Contains more Calcium +1031.3%
Contains more Copper +32.3%
Contains more Zinc +241.2%
Contains more Phosphorus +350%
Contains more Magnesium +72%
Contains less Sodium -23.5%
Equal in Potassium - 415
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 64% 55% 36% 18% 100% 32% 66% 3%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 23% 5% 37% 31% 76% 10% 15% 2%
Contains more Iron +183.3%
Contains more Calcium +1031.3%
Contains more Copper +32.3%
Contains more Zinc +241.2%
Contains more Phosphorus +350%
Contains more Magnesium +72%
Contains less Sodium -23.5%
Equal in Potassium - 415

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Garlic
7
:
3
Ginger
Contains more Vitamin C +524%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +700%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +223.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +193.6%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +671.9%
Contains more Vitamin K +1600%
Contains more Vitamin E +225%
Contains more Folate +266.7%
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 0.75
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 105% 1% 2% 0% 50% 26% 14% 36% 285% 0% 5% 3%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 17% 0% 6% 0% 7% 8% 15% 13% 37% 0% 1% 9%
Contains more Vitamin C +524%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +700%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +223.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +193.6%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +671.9%
Contains more Vitamin K +1600%
Contains more Vitamin E +225%
Contains more Folate +266.7%
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 0.75

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
43
Garlic
9
Ginger
Mineral Summary Score
46
Garlic
24
Ginger

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
38%
Garlic
11%
Ginger
Carbohydrates
33%
Garlic
18%
Ginger
Fats
2%
Garlic
3%
Ginger

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Garlic Ginger
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Rich in minerals ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Garlic Ginger
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

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Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Ginger
Ginger contains less Sodium (difference - 4mg)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Ginger
Ginger is lower in glycemic index (difference - 15)
Which food is cheaper?
Ginger
Ginger is cheaper (difference - $0.1)
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Garlic
Garlic is lower in Sugar (difference - 0.7g)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Garlic
Garlic is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.114g)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Garlic
Garlic is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Garlic
Garlic is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Garlic Ginger Opinion
Calories 149 80 Garlic
Protein 6.36 1.82 Garlic
Fats 0.5 0.75 Ginger
Vitamin C 31.2 5 Garlic
Carbs 33.06 17.77 Garlic
Cholesterol 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Iron 1.7 0.6 Garlic
Calcium 181 16 Garlic
Potassium 401 415 Ginger
Magnesium 25 43 Ginger
Sugar 1 1.7 Garlic
Fiber 2.1 2 Garlic
Copper 0.299 0.226 Garlic
Zinc 1.16 0.34 Garlic
Starch
Phosphorus 153 34 Garlic
Sodium 17 13 Ginger
Vitamin A 9 0 Garlic
Vitamin E 0.08 0.26 Ginger
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin B1 0.2 0.025 Garlic
Vitamin B2 0.11 0.034 Garlic
Vitamin B3 0.7 0.75 Ginger
Vitamin B5 0.596 0.203 Garlic
Vitamin B6 1.235 0.16 Garlic
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin K 1.7 0.1 Garlic
Folate 3 11 Ginger
Trans Fat 0 0
Saturated Fat 0.089 0.203 Garlic
Monounsaturated Fat 0.011 0.154 Ginger
Polyunsaturated fat 0.249 0.154 Garlic
Tryptophan 0.066 0.012 Garlic
Threonine 0.157 0.036 Garlic
Isoleucine 0.217 0.051 Garlic
Leucine 0.308 0.074 Garlic
Lysine 0.273 0.057 Garlic
Methionine 0.076 0.013 Garlic
Phenylalanine 0.183 0.045 Garlic
Valine 0.291 0.073 Garlic
Histidine 0.113 0.03 Garlic
Fructose

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Garlic - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169230/nutrients
  2. Ginger - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169231/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.