Ginger vs Garlic - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
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.
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).
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)
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).
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.
Garlic is around 1.86 times higher in calories compared to ginger.
Garlic is 1.86 times higher in carbohydrates compared to ginger. Garlic contains less sugars, the difference being 0.7g.
Both foods are very low or devoid of saturated fats and cholesterol. Garlic is higher in polyunsaturated fats.
Garlic is 3.49 times higher in protein than ginger.
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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.
Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in glycemic index|
|Lower in price|
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Rich in minerals|
|Rich in vitamins|
|Lower in Cholesterol||Equal|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Calories diet|
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low glycemic index diet|
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All nutrients comparison - raw data values