Boost your vitamin levels by thinly slicing garlic and tossing it into pasta or using a fine grater to add grated garlic to your salad dressing. Fresh garlic provides small amounts of several types of vitamins. Dried and powdered garlic loses some nutrients during processing, so if you're looking to boost vitamin intake, opt for the fresh variety.
Vitamin C keeps your body healthy. It plays a role in producing and normal functioning of white blood cells that rid your system of foreign bacteria. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, combating and neutralizing free radicals that cling to cells. Free radicals increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and other chronic conditions. For optimal health, women need 75 milligrams of daily vitamin C, while men require 90 milligrams, says the Linus Pauling Institute. Each clove of raw garlic has about 1 milligram of vitamin C. Virtually all vitamin C is lost during processing, so you won't get vitamin C from powdered garlic.
Garlic offers a small amount of choline, which is often paired with the B vitamins. This group of vitamins works together to metabolize carbohydrates, protein and fat from the foods you eat. Choline in particular synthesizes fats and puts them to use as structural components of cell walls. Cells also rely on choline to be able to communicate with one another and send nerve impulses. Women should get 425 milligrams of daily choline, but men need 550 milligrams, notes the Linus Pauling Institute. Each clove of garlic you add to your meal provides nearly 1 milligram. Garlic powder retains some choline and provides more than 2 milligrams per teaspoon.
Vitamin A Carotenoids
Garlic has two forms of vitamin A carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin, which are highly beneficial for your eyes. Lutein and zeaxanthin slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration and can help prevent the eye disease all together. Age-related macular degeneration is one of the most common causes of vision loss and blindness in senior citizens, says the Office of Dietary Supplements. There is no specific recommended amount of lutein and zeaxanthin you need, but consuming more foods with these nutrients helps keep your eyes healthy and preserves your vision. Lutein and zeaxanthin are lost, for the most part, during drying, so add fresh garlic to your meals to boost your intake.
Raw garlic has a small amount of vitamin K, but you'll miss out if you have garlic powder instead. Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting. Without adequate vitamin K, you could continuously bleed from even the smallest paper cut. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, women require 90 micrograms of vitamin K each day, while men should get 120 micrograms. One clove of garlic only has about 0.1 microgram of vitamin K, but pairing it with 1 cup of spinach helps you meet your daily intake. This serving of raw spinach offers 145 micrograms of vitamin K, whether you enjoy it raw or sauteed. Fresh garlic also pairs perfectly with steamed broccoli, which contains 220 micrograms of vitamin K per 1 cup.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.