The Advantages of Consuming Black Garlic

Black Garlic Health Benefits

You’re likely familiar with fresh garlic, known for its strong aroma and flavor. However, have you heard of black garlic?

Black garlic is created from fresh raw garlic (Allium sativum) through a process that involves low heat and about 70% humidity over a period of time, leading to the Maillard reaction. This reaction transforms the cloves into a distinctive black color, while also altering their texture and flavor, making them softer, chewier, and sweeter than regular raw garlic.

Although black garlic has gained popularity in recent years, it has been used for centuries, particularly in Asia. This ancient ingredient is now becoming mainstream in the United States, partly due to its high levels of antioxidants and essential nutrients that can enhance health and prevent serious health issues.

Health Benefits

While black garlic contains less allicin, the active compound found in fresh raw garlic, it has higher concentrations of other nutrients, antioxidants, and beneficial compounds. These enhanced concentrations contribute to various health benefits:

Blood Sugar Control
Similar to fresh raw garlic, black garlic can help regulate blood sugar levels. Lowering high blood sugar helps prevent serious health problems like diabetes, kidney dysfunction, and more. The high antioxidant levels in black garlic may also help prevent diabetes-related complications.

Heart Protection
Black garlic is known for its potential to improve heart health, much like fresh garlic. It can help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Cancer-Fighting Properties
Research shows that the antioxidants in black garlic can combat cancer. For example, one study found that black garlic could help reduce the growth of colon cancer cells. The compounds in aged black garlic also block free radicals, reducing cell damage and potentially limiting cancer cell growth and spread.

Brain Health
Black garlic’s antioxidants help reduce inflammation, which can prevent cognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Additionally, it may improve memory and overall cognitive function.

Increased Immunity
By reducing inflammation, black garlic’s antioxidants can boost the immune system. These antioxidants fight free radicals, preventing oxidative stress and cell damage, which enables the body to fight infections and bacteria more effectively.

Liver Health
Black garlic may enhance liver health. Studies indicate that it can lower markers of liver injury, decrease fatty deposits, and rebalance liver cell size after damage.

Nutritional

A 15-gram serving of peeled black garlic contains:

  • Calories: 20
  • Protein: 0.5 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 2 grams
  • Fiber: 0.5 grams
  • Sugar: 4 grams

Black garlic also provides notable amounts of

  • Vitamin C
  • B Vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6)
  • Folate
  • Calcium
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • Zinc
  • Iron

Although black garlic has less allicin than regular garlic, it is rich in amino acids, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. The fermentation process increases its antioxidant content and S-Allylcysteine (SAC) levels. SAC aids in the absorption of allicin, making black garlic potentially more effective in delivering allicin’s benefits.

How to Prepare Black Garlic

Despite being less common than fresh raw garlic, black garlic is available in some stores and online.

You can also make black garlic at home using a dehydrator or slow cooker, though the process takes several weeks:

Using a Dehydrator

  1. Wrap a head of garlic in plastic and several layers of tinfoil.
  2. Cover to trap moisture and prevent drying out.
  3. Place the packet in the dehydrator at 130°F.
  4. Wait three weeks.

Using a Slow Cooker

  1. Set the slow cooker to warm (not cook).
  2. Place whole heads of garlic inside.
  3. Wait two weeks.

Culinary Uses

Black garlic’s unique flavor makes it a versatile ingredient:

  • Enjoy it on its own for its sweet taste.
  • Spread it on toast with an egg.
  • Add it to a charcuterie board or cheese platter.
  • Create a marinade with shallots, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt.
  • Blend it into hummus for a unique twist.
  • Mash it with potatoes.
  • Use it as a substitute for regular garlic for a mellower, smokier flavor.

Black garlic not only adds depth to dishes but also offers numerous health benefits, making it a valuable addition to your diet

A Quick Review

Black garlic is a powerhouse of nutrients and antioxidants, offering numerous health benefits like improved heart health, blood sugar regulation, and enhanced immunity. It also supports liver health and brain function, making it a valuable addition to your diet. With its sweet, chewy texture and rich flavor, black garlic can be used in various culinary dishes.

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