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Raw Garlic Nutrition

Cultivated globally for more than 5,000 years as a vegetable, spice, and medicinal plant, garlic (Allium sativum L.) is a nutritional powerhouse. The most widely consumed part of the plant, the bulb, consists of several cloves, that are actually axillary buds - rarely found among vascular plants. The shape of these cloves is an important quantitative trait, as the shape is easy to handle, crush and work within the kitchen.
Garlic ranks as a very good source of vitamin B6 and manganese and a good source of vitamin C and copper, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B1, and calcium.  It is the sulfur compounds in garlic that serve as spotlight nutrients in terms of overall health benefits. The sulfur-containing compounds in this allium vegetable have been shown to provide health advantages in a wide variety of body systems, including our cardiovascular system, immune system, inflammatory system, digestive system, endocrine system, and detoxification system. 
Recently, Derek Pratt and his team at the University of Ottawa, Canada, brought chemical rigour to studying allicin’s biological action with their latest research, by observing the effects of these natural compounds and some synthetic analogs in more relevant biological conditions - the biphasic systems of liposomes and cells.  ‘Our data show that allicin and petivericin are not antioxidants in cells at all,’ states Pratt. ‘These compounds just kill the cells by arresting cell growth.’ In the model systems, glutathione levels dropped when allicin and petivericin were added, initiating a cell death cascade of biochemical reactions. ‘It appears that they are antioxidants but really, they’re toxic.’ 

Garlic typically contains a high concentration of sulfur amino acids that are responsible for their health-promoting features.  One of the classes of these non-volatile sulfur secondary metabolites, S-alk(en)yl-L-cysteine sulfoxides, which are also known as diallylthiosulfinates, are responsible for the characteristic aroma of these crops. The compound allicin is the most common in garlic, while isoalliin is prevalent in onions.   When a cell is damaged in the garlic tissue, either by pests or crushing, the vacuolar enzyme alliinase is released which induces the conversion of alliin into allicin. This enzyme belongs to a family of lyases, and more specifically, a class of carbon-sulfurlyases.  Within a very short period of time, this enzyme transforms alliin into allicin via the exceptionally reactive intermediate, sulfenic acid.   Allicin, which is absent in intact bulbs, is the main component of freshly prepared garlic homogenate. Many health benefits associated with garlic can be attributed to thiosulfinates, especially allicin.

What follows is the United States Department of Agriculture's nutritional information on garlic.

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Raw Garlic Nutrition

Garlic contains at least 33 sulfur compounds, several enzymes, 17 amino acids, and minerals such as selenium. It contains a higher concentration of sulfur compounds than any other Allium species. The sulfur compounds are responsible both for garlic’s pungent odor and many of its medicinal effects. One of the most biologically active compounds, allicin (diallyl thiosulfinate or diallyl disulfide), does not exist in garlic until it is crushed or cut; injury to the garlic bulb activates the enzyme allinase, which metabolizes alliin to allicin. Allicin is further metabolized to vinyldithiines. This breakdown occurs within hours at room temperature and within minutes during cooking. Allicin, which was first chemically isolated in the 1940s, has antimicrobial effects against many viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.


Garlic contains more than 2000 biologically active substances including volatile, water-soluble, and oil-soluble organosulfur compounds as well as dietary fiber, sugars, flavonoids, essential oils, and pectin. It is also a very good source of manganese, selenium and vitamin C. In addition, garlic is a good source of other minerals, including phosphorous, calcium, potassium, iron and copper. 

The sulfur components of garlic include alliin and scordinin A and B, as well as several cyclic sulfoxides termed garlicnins. When garlic cloves are cut or crushed,  the cysteine sulfoxide alliin is rapidly broken down by alliinase into thiosulfinates (e.g., allicin), ajoenes, vinyldithiins, sulfides, and disulfides. Garlic has an effect on lipid metabolism and has been shown to aid in reduction of blood cholesterol levels in humans, possibly by altering enzymes involved in cholesterol synthesis and metabolism. Garlic essential oil was shown to protect obese mice from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease through amelioration of lipid metabolic disorders as well as decreasing oxidative stress (Lai et al., 2014). Garlic reduces hepatocellular production of low density lipoproteins and decreases expression of inducible nitric oxide synthetase, both of which contribute to the anti-atherosclerotic effects of garlic. 

Garlic contains Water-Soluble Vitamins, Fat-Soluble Vitamins and Minerals.


Water-Soluble Vitamins

  • Vitamin B1

  • Vitamin B2    

  • Vitamin B3    

  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin Equivalents)

  • Vitamin B6

  • Choline    

  • Folate    

  • Pantothenic Acid

  • Vitamin C

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

  • Vitamin A International Units (IU)

  • Carotenoid mcg Retinol Equivalents

  • Beta-Carotene    

  • Lutein and Zeaxanthin    

  • Vitamin E   

  • Vitamin K 


  • Calcium    

  • Copper    0.05 mg    6

  • Iron    

  • Magnesium    

  • Manganese    

  • Phosphorus    

  • Potassium    

  • Selenium    

  • Sodium    

  • Zinc


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