Let’s peel back the skin and see what’s so special about these inky-coloured cloves.
What is black garlic?
Black garlic is a functional food fermented from fresh garlic at a controlled temperature and humidity for a period of time. The fermentation process turns garlic cloves dark, and gives them a sweet taste, mild in flavour and changes the texture to soft, chewy and jelly-like. When compared with fresh garlic, black garlic contains an enhanced biological activity due to its abundant amount of antioxidant compounds such as polyphenols, flavonoids, and S-allyl-cysteine, which offer a number of health benefits.
Image source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1021949816301727
What are the health benefits of black garlic?
While black garlic has less of its active compound allicin than the raw garlic, it does boast higher concentrations of many antioxidants, and other beneficial nutrients. These higher concentrations may be responsible for the many health benefits that black garlic offers:
1. Maintain healthy cholesterol level
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in your blood. Your body needs an optimal level of cholesterol to support vital bodily functions – including making hormones and in the production of vitamin D. Having an excessively high level of cholesterol in your blood can lead to arterial blockage that spiral into serious health concerns such as heart attack and stroke.
Research studies involving both animals and humans suggest that black garlic could improve blood lipids levels in the body, including lowering total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol.
One 2019 study suggests black garlic can help lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, thanks to its high content of organosulfur compounds such as S-allyl-cysteine. They act as antioxidants to reduce plaque build-up in the arteries and fight inflammation that causes cell damage.
2. Boost immunity
The fermentation of fresh garlic not only helps reduce the strong flavour of garlic, double the nutrients, but also makes black garlic more beneficial than regular garlic! Loaded with antioxidants, black garlic is great for health as it helps in fighting the free radicals and prevents cells oxidative damage, which is one of the root causes of various health problems!
According to a 2019 pharmacologic review, black garlic can help enhance the immune health because of its higher concentration of S-allyl-cysteine (SAC) due to the fermentation process.
3. Support liver health
The liver performs a vital role in metabolism, secretion, and detoxification of substances in the body. Prolonged exposure to oxidative stress and free radicals as a result of poor dietary habits and lifestyle can accelerate the severity of liver damage.
Black garlic contains a good source of antioxidant compounds that may help improve your liver health. One research shows that black garlic extract can help lower the markers of liver injury, decrease fatty deposits in the liver and rejuvenate liver cells.
Research from 2018, also suggests that supplementing with single-clove black garlic extract could help restore liver tissue and reduce cellular damage of liver.
Ready to give black garlic a try? Black garlic is a versatile ingredient that can be added to your foods and beverages. You could start off by adding into a soup or salad dressing. Alternatively, you may also take the black garlic powder supplement to reap its benefits!