While white garlic garners most of the headlines its dark twin black garlic may be more potent in terms of nutritional value. It contains twice as many antioxidants and seven times disease-fighting polyphenols.
Not only does it have potentially more nutrients it also tastes better in my opinion. The fermentation process softens it and adds a sweet and pungent flavor alike balsamic vinegar.
Eating raw black garlic won’t be as frightening as eating raw white garlic because of this added sweetness minus the spiciness. You don’t have to worry about bad breath afterwards.
What Is Black Garlic?
Black garlic is a product a careful fermentation process that lasts for 30 days in a controlled environment in temperatures between 140 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. After 30 days fermented garlic goes to a clean room to oxidize for another 45 days.
This process causes sugars and amino acids inside garlic to react which results in the black pigmentation and soft texture like a marshmallow.
There’s no preservatives added to the process which make this one of the healthiest supplements available and healthier than black garlic in capsule form.
From Allicin to SAC
For those who are not familiar, Allicin is a major bioactive component of garlic. But the interesting part is that garlic does not contain allicin. White (or fresh) garlic have enzymes called allinase and alliin in different parts of the plant. Allicin is only released when garlic is chopped or crushed.
This is what gives garlic that pungent and spicy scent unique to fresh garlic. The problem is this compound breaks down within minutes and is unstable.
During the fermentation process, allicin turns into S-allyl-cysteine or SAC that contributes to its antidiabetic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.
According to Science Direct, black garlic’s nutritional content is depend on the fermentation process.
Some studies have revealed that some valuable components inside Black Garlic increased during the aging process. These components include polyphenol and flavonoids that are classified as antioxidant agents.
There are studies that revealed that either an increase or decrease of water-soluble sugars, amino acids, polyphenols and flavonoids during thermal processing.
Here’s a comparison between the components of black and fresh garlic.
1. Boosts Immune Function
Garlic in general helps boost our immune system thanks to its antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and antiparasitic properties than fight germs.
Research has shown that raw white garlic exhibited stronger immunomodulatory activity than black garlic and that the fermentation process actually has degraded this property.
2. Heal Liver from Alcohol Damage
Even if liver can heal itself, too much alcohol can damage it permanently. If you suffer from liver disease there is hope. Scientists have had positive results using aged black garlic on rodents in reducing inflammation and possibly reversing damaged caused by alcohol on the liver.
Take note that the experiment was on rats so we have no idea how human cells will react to the same treatment. But it is a step in the right direction.
3. High Antioxidant Levels
A 2009 study showed that black garlic had more antioxidants than white garlic. And a diet that had 5% black garlic will improve insulin resistance. These same antioxidants also protect cells from damage and delay signs of aging.
Another study revealed that black garlic had twice the antioxidant level as white garlic. It appears as though the fermentation process doubled the amount of antioxidants. Other studies have say as much as 25 times more potency which is insane.
This much antioxidant level can help prevent Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis and similar chronic ailments.
I’ve mentioned this earlier in the article that fermenting fresh garlic turns allicin into SAC that’s more stable and 100% bioavailable. This means instant nutrient absorption.
It is this compound that’s responsible for many of black garlic’s benefits and the high antioxidant content.
However if you have an infection and want the benefits of allicin, consuming raw white garlic is a better option it has more of it.
4. Improve Cholesterol Levels
If you have high cholesterol you know how important balance of HDL and LDL is. This means you have to keep your HDL or good cholesterol up and keep the LDL or bad cholesterol down.
Only lowering LDL without increasing HDL will not cure this disease. And that’s what prescription medication does. Keeping these two at optimal levels is important to reduce risk of heart disease.
Black garlic has been subject to research to test if it could help people with cholesterol issues. One such study was done in Korea in 2014 and the results show that taking black garlic extract for 12 weeks can increase the HDL (or good cholesterol) and decrease LDL (or bad cholesterol).
It also helps decrease allpoprotein B in blood lipids which is a strong indicator of heart disease.
Another study done at the Penn State University revealed that S-allyl cysteine (or SAC) from garlic inhibited cholesterol synthesis.
5. Reduces Inflammation
Many of black garlic’s benefits stems from its high active compound content. Research has shown that it contains as much as 100 active compounds. One of these compounds is S-allyl cysteine, a popular anti-inflammatory agent.
6. Relief from Allergy
In a study done at the Chungnam National University in Daejeo Korea revealed that black garlic extract can deter genes that cause inflammation and allergic reactions. But this experiment was done on rats so we don’t know if it is as effective on people.
7. May Prevent Colon Cancer
Colon cancer is a silent killer whose symptoms only manifest when it’s in the latter stages. My uncle past away years past because of this disease and one of the best ways to treat this is actually preventing it in the first place.
A Spandidos Publication research has shown that black garlic can potentially prevent this disease by inhibiting the growth of a pathway that leads to colon cancer.
8. Easier to Consume Raw
There’s no scientific evidence for this, only real world experience by yours truly. I didn’t appreciate eating raw garlic until I was in my early thirties and it is a treat. The problem is for individuals who don’t like the flavor, it would be hard for them to enjoy the benefits of consuming it uncooked.
Black garlic offers an alternative and heart healthy option that’s sweeter minus the spiciness and aftertaste. Plus you will not have bad breathe afterwards.