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Is Garlic Vegan? Can Vegans Eat Garlic?

Is Garlic Vegan? Can Vegans Eat Garlic?

Answer: Yes. Garlic is vegan because it is a plant.

Is Garlic Vegan? Can Vegans Eat Garlic?

Is Garlic Vegan?

Garlic is a common spice because of its strong flavor and delicious taste. It blends so well in sauces and soups. 

If you wonder how vegan it is, rest assured that it is 100% vegan because it is plant-based.

Using garlic as an ingredient will make you enjoy delicious food and benefit from its nutritious and medicinal value.

What Is Garlic?

Garlic comes from the onion family, which makes it vegan. It’s a spice that originated in India and gained popularity in America by the end of the 19th century. It’s grown and used for flavoring food and also as medicine in many parts of the world.

As a foodstuff, garlic is peeled and crushed or sliced before adding it as an ingredient. Some people saute the garlic in oil or roast it before adding it to food. 

The use of garlic as a drug goes as far back as ancient Greece. Olympic athletes consumed garlic as a performance-enhancement drug.

The natural form of garlic is bulb plant, but you can buy it as a smooth paste, dry powder, or supplement in the form of capsules, soft-gels, and oil.

Nutritional Value of Garlic

The U.S.A Department of Agriculture classifies garlic as a healthy ingredient. It is low in calories and does not contain the primary nutrients required by your body daily.

Garlic mostly appears as a spice in food recipes.

The following is a nutritional guide estimate of a teaspoon serving:

Calories 4
Protein 0.18 grams (g)
Fat 0.01g
Carbohydrates 0.93g
Natural sugars 0.03g
Calcium 5 milligrams (mg)
Iron 0.05mg (0.03 percent daily value)
Magnesium 1mg
Potassium 11mg
Vitamin C 0.9mg (0.02 percent daily value)

Benefits of Eating Garlic

High in Nutrients and Low in Calories

There is a 2% of Daily Value (DV) of manganese and vitamin B6, 1% DV of vitamin C and selenium, 0.06 grams of fiber, adequate amounts of phosphorus, iron, copper, calcium, vitamin B1, and potassium in a single garlic clove against only 4.5 calories and 1 gram carbs.

Good for Detoxing

One study on workers of a car battery factory showed that garlic intake reduced toxicity from heavy metals.

Regulates Blood Pressure

Studies have shown that garlic supplements equivalent to four cloves of garlic per day can reduce blood pressure. In one such study, 600-1500mg of garlic extract was as effective as Atenolol, a blood pressure drug. 

Medicinal Value

The sulfur compounds in chopped or crushed garlic give it a lot of medicinal value.

Performance Enhancer

Studies done on rodents proved that garlic supplements help in sports performance. Garlic has been in use since ancient Greece, where Olympic athletes took it to enhance their performance. 

Life-Extending Properties

With all its health benefits, garlic helps regulate some of the common ailments that are causes of death: high blood pressure, toxicity, and heart failure.

Immunity Booster

Taking garlic supplements reduces the frequency and length of common colds.  

Allergies and Side Effects of Garlic

Garlic allergies are rear as it is in any other spice. But you are likely to be allergic to garlic if you have birch pollen allergies.

Reactions to garlic may include breathing difficulties, facial swelling, and hives, bloating, gastrointestinal discomfort, bad breath, nausea or vomiting, body odor, burning sensation in the mouth, ulcers, diarrhea, heartburn, and gas.

Precautions While Taking Garlic

• You need to take garlic in moderation to avoid reactions.

• Don’t eat garlic on an empty stomach to prevent bowel irritation.

• Avoid garlic supplements if you are on HIV drugs or anticoagulants because it increases bleeding risks.

• Try not to eat raw garlic because it increases the chances of having reactions.

• If you are going for surgery, avoid eating garlic. It will increase the risk of over-bleeding during the operation. 

• Use garlic oil externally only and watch out for reactions like burns, irritations, and eczema. 

Controversy Surrounding Garlic 

Vegans from Jains, Buddhist, and Krishna faiths forbid garlic consumption, but vegans outside those communities contest this. 

The argument posed by the opponents is that veganism is not a religion but a way of life, and so people need to stick only to the vegan tenets when it comes to deciding the veganism of foodstuff.

Another controversy surrounding garlic is on claims of its medicinal value. 

Though there are long historical records on garlic use for medical purposes, examples are records of garlic as an antibiotic by the Russian soldiers during the 1st World War. 

Still, there are conflicting views on research works. According to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, no research is conclusive about garlic’s medicinal value.

Alternatives to Garlic

For vegans who cannot eat garlic but would still like to flavor their food, there are alternatives as follows:

Garlic-Infused Oil

Garlic oil can be an excellent substitute for avoiding stomach reactions related to the consumption of whole garlic.

You can make garlic oil by putting a few crushed cloves in olive oil for a short time of about 10 minutes to overnight.

The oil will absorb the garlic flavor. You can then sieve and discard the fabric part.

Lemon Zest

Use lemon zest as a substitute if you don’t like the pungent smell of garlic. Lemon zest does not exactly have the same flavor as garlic. But it will add a fresh lemony flavor that will have the same magic of creating a pleasant taste to your recipe. 

Green Onions

Replacing garlic with green onions adds a flavor similar to that of the former without the risk of stomach pain associated with eating garlic. 

Cut off the white bulb at the bottom, and then chop the green leafy part of the onion to use in your desired recipe. 


If you want a garlicky taste without using garlic, then go for chives as your ingredient. Chives do not cause reactions like garlic.

Asafetida Powder

If you want to experience the strong garlic flavor, then asafetida is an excellent substitute for garlic. 

Leek Leaves

Leek is a good garlic alternative for people repulsed by the strong flavor of garlic yet who want to add some mild onion taste to their food.

Last Thoughts

Sometimes it is hard to find tasty vegan food, so most vegans add spices to legumes, vegetables, and grains to increase flavor and taste. Garlic is a fantastic spice that has excellent medicinal and nutritional value. Generations and generations have been using garlic, and its popularity isn’t about to stop.

Though some vegans find garlic to be non-vegan, this is purely on the grounds of religion. Garlic is as vegan as they come, so those who are vegans on ethical, environmental, and anti-animal cruelty grounds should have no problem eating garlic.

If eaten in the right way, garlic is unlikely to cause any health issues. But there are several other alternatives to garlic that will offer the same value for taste and nutrients.