Pico de Gallo, also known as salsa fresca and salsa cruda (fresh salsa and crude salsa, respectively), is a coarsely diced form of salsa prepared from fresh tomato, onion, jalapeño peppers, and plenty of cilantro and lime juice. It’s light and refreshing, high in nutrients without being heavy in calories or fat, and offers several health benefits, including weight loss.
Pico de Gallo is a staple in Mexican cuisine. It’s also popular in various Central American, South American, and Spanish dishes.
No matter which corner of the world you’re from and whatever you call it, it’ll help you lose fat.
What is Pica De Gallo and its Ingredients? A Quick Overview
Pico de Gallo is a simple salsa made from various vegetables and fruits, including onions, jalapeño peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, and garlic. It complements scrambled eggs, salads, baked tortilla chips, salmon, and poultry.
This light salsa has around six calories and less than 1 gram of fat per 1-ounce serving, making it an excellent addition to calorie-conscious diets. Consume Pico de Gallo daily to reap several health benefits.
It goes well with colorful cut-up vegetables such as radishes, cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, jicama sticks, and broccoli florets. Not only that, but it also goes well with baked low-sodium tortilla chips. Guiltless Gourmet and Garden of Eatin’ Baked Yellow Chips are also good options.
It takes around 20 minutes to prepare Pico de Gallo, given you have the following ingredients:
- Tomatoes, diced (3-4 medium)
- 1/2 medium onion (1 cup chopped)
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- Two tablespoons of lime juice squeezed from 1 lime
- One jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely minced (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
You can also use bell peppers.
Benefits of Pico de Gallo Ingredients for Weight Loss
Pico de Gallo is an excellent snack for people looking to lose weight, thanks to its ingredients. Each of the following elements in Pico de Gallo individually contributes to shedding fat and suppressing hunger:
A tomato has only around 3.9g of carbohydrates, minimal calories, and high water content, making it ideal for people searching for something satisfying that will not exceed their daily calorie intake.
Here are some reasons tomatoes are an excellent addition to your weight reduction diet:
Low in Calories and Rich in Phytochemicals and Nutrients
You might be surprised to learn that 100 grams of tomatoes only contain approximately 18 calories, making it an excellent choice for people on a calorie-restricted weight reduction program.
Furthermore, enough quantity of certain phytochemicals and nutrients in tomatoes improves overall body health by working as antioxidants, preventing you from degenerative diseases. Consequently, your healthy body has a good metabolism that speeds up fat loss.
Lycopene Increases Metabolism
Tomatoes are high in antioxidants, the most important being lycopene. According to studies on rats, lycopene may naturally boost metabolism and reduce oxidative stress, which is a big problem during weight loss. Thus, it can fast the fat loss process, and eventually, you’ll lose more weight.
Tomatoes Help in Digestion
Poor digestion means you have unexplained weight gain. Since our colon is our sewage system, the toxic colon is the first site to cleanse. Several colon diseases, such as constipation, candida, and parasites, make weight loss (next to) impossible.
In such conditions, insoluble fiber is essential for proper digestion. It assists bowel movement, prevents constipation, and improves digestion.
By improving digestion, tomatoes aid in intestinal cleansing and help you in reducing weight.
Tomatoes provide a lot of fiber. Fiber is the most difficult to digest and induces a sense of fullness. If you are full for an extended period, you will naturally want less and binge less.
Tomatoes promote the formation of carnitine, an organic chemical that plays an essential role in controlling fatty acid and energy metabolism. This amino acid improves the body’s capacity to burn fat.
Studies suggest that tomatoes have anti-obesity properties and also reduce insulin resistance. Thus, they speed up the fat-burning process.
Onions, like tomatoes, are low in calories and highly effective in a weight-loss diet. Here are a few reasons for this:
Onions have a low-calorie count. One cup (160 g) of minced onion has 64 calories.
Because of its low-calorie content, weight reduction might be aided by a low-calorie diet that includes more fruits and vegetables.
A Moderately Good Fiber Source
One cup of onion has 3 g of fiber. As a result, it adds heft to your meals.
It contains soluble viscous fiber, which enhances satiety (the sense of fullness) and helps you avoid additional calorie intake, promoting weight reduction.
Quercetin’s Anti-Obesity Effect
3. Cilantro / Coriander
Coriander is a perennial plant of the Apiaceae family. It’s also known as Dhania, Chinese parsley, and cilantro.
It is beneficial to one’s health because of its many health advantages. Coriander juice may do wonders for your health if consumed regularly.
When consumed regularly, Coriander juice positively simulates the metabolic rate and the bowel, nay the entire digestive system, assisting in weight loss. It provides weight-loss benefits because;
1. It is deficient in calories and may be used in various foods to improve satiety without significantly boosting caloric consumption.
2. Coriander may control digestive enzymes and juices, which power our digestive system.
3. Coriander is also high in fiber, which helps regulate the intestinal digestive system. And we all know that a healthy digestive system is essential for losing weight.
4. Lime Juice
Limes provide nutritional advantages to people on a low-calorie diet to lose weight. A glass of lime water containing the juice of one lime has just 11 calories, making it an excellent calorie-deficient beverage.
It contains a lot of vitamin C, with one lime supplying 22 percent of the daily intake. If you don’t receive enough vitamin C in your diet, you may struggle to lose weight when you exercise.
According to research published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology in 2014, Vitamin C is essential for assisting your body in burning fat when exercising. Low levels of vitamin C may restrict your body’s capacity to break down fat when working out. As vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, it is critical to consume it regularly to maintain optimal levels.
5. Jalapeno Pepper
Jalapenos and other capsaicinoids are a welcome addition to a weight loss diet.
They may aid in weight loss by improving metabolism, increasing fat burn, and decreasing hunger.
Several studies have revealed that capsaicin and other related substances, known as capsaicinoids, can increase metabolism by 4–5% per day, potentially making weight loss easier.
Capsaicinoid pills have been shown to lower belly fat and appetite, resulting in persons eating 50–75 fewer calories per day.
These characteristics help explain why eating chili peppers daily is connected with a much lower risk of becoming obese.
Nutritional Qualities of Pico de Gallo For Weight Loss
Pico de Gallo is a low-calorie alternative with less than 20 calories per serving and can keep your taste buds delighted while helping you lose weight and achieve your health objectives.
A third of a cup of Pico de Gallo (100g) has 17 calories, 3.7g of carbohydrates,0.7g of protein, and 0.1g of fat. It contains a lot of vitamin C, potassium, and phosphorus.
The following is a look at the nutritional composition of a serving of Pico de Gallo to understand why it is such a practical meal for losing weight.
The carbohydrates in the vegetables provide most of the calories in Pico de Gallo. 1.1 grams of these carbohydrates are fiber, and 2.1 grams are natural sugars.
Because it has fewer than 4 grams of carbohydrates per 100-gram serving, Pico de Gallo is a flexible snack or topping — Serve with tortillas, rice, or veggies to add extra nutritious carbohydrates.
Pico de Gallo is low in fat. So, if you want to make it more fulfilling, mix it with a source of healthy fats like fish, pan-fried plantains in olive oil, ground beef, or avocado.
Including fat in Pico de Gallo does more than keep you satisfied. Dietary fat also has significant health advantages, such as decreasing cholesterol levels, lowering your risk of any cardiovascular disease, and keeping your brain healthy.
Low in Protein
A 100-gram portion of Pico de Gallo has less than one gram of protein. However, most people combine it with animal protein, such as ground beef in tacos.
Top meat alternatives like tofu with Pico de Gallo to gain the various advantages of dietary protein. It helps muscle growth, maintains bone and tissue health, and induces satiety.
Minerals and Vitamins Loaded
Though Pico de Gallo doesn’t have a lot of energy, it has many nutrients, including vitamin C, potassium, and phosphorus. It also contains calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, folate, choline, and vitamins A, E, and K.
Pico contains 443 mg of sodium per 100-gram serving; this makes up around 20% of the daily recommended consumption for someone with normal blood pressure and over 33% of the daily recommended intake for those with high blood pressure.
Hence, it ensures good health and consequently leads to healthy weight loss.
Low in Calories
Pico de Gallo is composed of non-starchy fruit (and a lot of water—94 grams in a 100-gram serving). Hence, it has little caloric value. While three-eighths of a cup has just 17 calories, you can eat a whole cup of Pico de Gallo and only consume 41 calories, making it an excellent snack for anyone on a diet.
Can you have Pico de Gallo on the keto?
The ketogenic diet (keto or keto diet) is a low-carb, high-fat diet with several health advantages.
Several studies have shown that this diet can aid in weight loss and overall health improvement.
This type of diet is adopted for weight loss, where the consumption of carbs and sugars is limited, which helps the body burn fat through ketosis.
Low in Carbs
A 100-gram serving of Pico de Gallo has 4 grams of carbohydrates and 1 gram of fiber for 3 grams of net carbs. Whether following a rigorous keto diet or not, Pico de Gallo may be an excellent low-carb snack that fits within your daily carb allotment.
Pico de Gallo is made entirely of non-starchy fruit; thus, it’s minimal in calories, carbohydrates, and sugars. However, be mindful of what you eat with the salsa since sides like tortilla chips may rapidly increase the carb count, nullifying the use of Pico de Gallo in a keto diet.
Low in Sugars
Pico de Gallo includes just 2 grams of sugar per 100 grams, making it an excellent keto option. Avoiding sugar when following a keto diet is critical since it raises blood sugar levels and makes it difficult for the body to stay in ketosis.
Pico de Gallo is a great keto-friendly meal because of its low carbs and sugar content. Hence, Pica de Gallo is an excellent choice to satiate you and help you in your fat loss journey.
What is the difference between salsa and Pico de Gallo?
Salsa and Pico de Gallo’s fundamental difference lies in the dishes’ texture. Pico de Gallo is made using fresh ingredients chopped and stirred together.
It doesn’t have much liquid. While many salsas employ the same ingredients, their liquid content is substantially higher, and their consistency can range from chopped to pureed.
Is Pico de Gallo considered a vegetable?
Pico de Gallo is a simple salsa concocted from various vegetables and fruits, including onions, jalapeño peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, and garlic. It complements scrambled eggs, salads, baked tortilla chips, salmon, and poultry.
Is it possible to freeze Pico de Gallo?
Yes, you can freeze your homemade fresh Pico de Gallo.
The texture of the Pico de Gallo will change, but it’ll still taste excellent because the water in the tomatoes expands and softens as it freezes. In short, you can store your homemade Pico de Gallo in a freezer for up to 4-6 months.
How long will Pico de Gallo last?
It depends on the freshness of the ingredients; if you have used fresh ingredients, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
What food pairs well with Pico de Gallo?
As an appetizer, serve Pico de Gallo with tortilla chips.
Try topping it onto tacos, nachos, or burritos, or combine it with cilantro lime rice, guacamole, tomatillo, mango salsa, and black beans to make your own burrito bowl.
Adopting a healthy diet doesn’t mean you have to give up Mexican food. Pico de Gallo is a delicious Mexican delicacy that can be helpful in a weight-loss diet. It is also a keto-friendly diet because it is a calorie-deficient dish with few carbs and sugar.
Enjoy it whenever you crave it!