Ginger vs Garlic - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
Garlic is higher in calories, carbohydrates, and proteins.
Ginger has a higher antioxidant capacity. It also has antiemetic actions while garlic does not.
Garlic has been associated with some allergies, while ginger has antiallergic properties. Garlic has been shown to promote hair growth, while ginger has been shown to do the opposite.
Table of contents
In this article, we will explore the differences between garlic and ginger, focusing on their nutritional composition and health benefit variations.
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 garlic are of great chemical importance (4).
Garlic tastes pungent, while ginger is warmly spicy.
Garlic has been used since 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 given to the Olympic athletes before the games to boost performance (6).
Meanwhile, ginger has been used in ancient Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Unani medicine to treat ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatism, pains, cramps, constipation, indigestion, vomiting, dementia, fever, and infectious diseases (7, 8, 9).
A meta-analysis conducted in 2019 showed that the intake of ginger reduced weight, waist-hip ratio, hip ratio, and fasting glucose while increasing HDL-cholesterol (the good cholesterol) in overweight and obese individuals. However, it did not affect body mass index or insulin (10).
On the other hand, another meta-analysis showed that garlic supplementation reduces waist circumference but not body weight nor body mass index (11).
Have a look at the charts and infographics below better to understand the nutritional comparison between garlic and ginger.
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.
Regarding 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 also 1.86 times higher in carbohydrates compared to ginger. Garlic contains fewer sugars; the difference is 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 hypertension treatment (12).
Garlic also has antilipidemic effects (13, 14). Moreover, garlic has antithrombotic effects (15).
Ginger is also known to have cardioprotective properties. It has anti-hypertensive, anti-hyperlipidemia, and anti-platelet effects (16).
Compared to garlic, and in addition to these cardiovascular effects, it has been shown that ginger may reduce abnormalities in diabetic cardiomyopathic patients (17). Moreover, ginger acts as a cardiotonic that increases the efficiency of the heart contraction and improves blood flow throughout the body (16).
Studies showed that garlic has an anti-tumor effect primarily attributed to its bioactive compounds (18, 19). Heating destroys the active compound in garlic which is responsible for its anti-cancer effects (20).
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 (21).
Gingerol, an active ingredient in ginger, also inhibited the growth of human colorectal cancer cells (22).
Gingerol showed to inhibit skin tumor promotion (23). Meanwhile, a study mentioned the importance of considering the application of garlic in the chemoprevention of skin cancer (24).
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 fresh garlic (25). The antioxidant capacity was comparable to that of vitamin C (25).
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 (26). The study suggests that higher anti-diabetic effects may be obtained when consuming a normal diet instead of a high-fat diet (26).
On the other hand, the active ingredient in garlic may be beneficial in treating erectile dysfunction in diabetic patients (27).
Ginger has antiemetic effects. It has implications in the treatment of nausea and vomiting due to pregnancy and chemotherapy (28).
Meanwhile, garlic consumption is viewed as a possible cause of gastrointestinal adverse effects and mild nausea (29).
A study showed that garlic is a fast, cheap, and efficient topical treatment for a type of hair loss called alopecia areata (30). Moreover, the study mentioned that this treatment has no side effects (30).
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 (31).
The topical application of raw garlic may be associated with adverse effects (32). The most common adverse effects include burns, contact dermatitis, and asthma, although they are rare (32, 33). On the other hand, ginger has been shown to suppress symptoms of rhinitis due to its anti-inflammatory and antiallergic properties (34).
Downsides and Risks
The most common side effects of garlic topical use and consumption are the pungent smell in the breath and body odor, indigestion, and flatulence (35). Meanwhile, no side effects related to ginger have been documented (36).
- Phytochemistry and pharmacology of plants from the ginger family, Zingiberaceae
- Garlic: A Review of Its Medicinal Effects and Indicated Active Compounds
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|
All nutrients comparison - raw data values
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low Calories diet|
|Low glycemic index diet|