The Health Benefits of Black Garlic
By Yelena Sukhoterina
Famous in Asia since 1999, black garlic won the hearts of many as a functional food — food that has huge health benefits and can decrease risks of lifestyle-related diseases.
Black garlic got introduced in the U.S. to culinary chefs and natural doctors a few years ago, and people immediately fell in love with its many health benefits and unique sweet taste!
Whether you want to try it for its anticancer benefits, immunity-boost, and heart-protective properties; or want to use it to surprise your dinner guests, it is a unique healing food with special properties like no other.
What Is Black Garlic?
Black garlic is made by cooking whole heads of unpeeled regular garlic in a controlled-heated and humid environment, such as a rice cooker or a slow cooker, at a low temperature for a long period of time (up to 40 days, but this process can be sped up to 8 days).
Some people call it fermented garlic, which is not scientifically correct, because there is not microbial action in this process. It is actually caramelized garlic to be technical. Black garlic has a sweet taste, slightly chewy, and the process of creating it can boost the health benefits of regular garlic by a pretty substantial margin.
This black garlic bread is a great way to make the favorite staple food of many — unique. PHOTO: MagnoliaDays.com
How Is Black Garlic Used?
Some people use black garlic in a supplement form specifically for health benefits, but most use it as a functional food. They cook with it to receive great health benefits while enjoying its unique taste.
Black garlic can be used as an appetizer, served with honey, or on mashed potatoes, in soups, and meat dishes. The variety of recipes depend only on your creativity, as black garlic adds to a lot of dishes.
Here are just a few different black garlic recipes to try:
Black Garlic’s Numerous Health Benefits
The Journal of Life Sciences published a 2015 thorough review of black garlic from the Department of Emergency Medical Technology at Hirosaki University in Japan.
The list of benefits discovered in black garlic is long:
First of all, it has at least twice as many antioxidants (25 times more potency shown in one study from 2006) than white garlic, which helps prevent Alzheimer’s, circulatory problems, rheumatoid arthritis, and other chronic diseases.
Black garlic also has the following properties:
- lowers high blood pressure
- lowers cholesterol
- prevents obesity
- fights diabetes
- regenerates skin cells
- strengthens the immune system
- reduces allergies
A study published in 2010 found it to have strong anti-tumor activity in mice. The animals were injected with a 1 mg of black garlic extract three times in a 6 day period, and the tumor got reduced on average 50% its size. White garlic did not produce similar result, further confirming benefits of black garlic over regular garlic.
A 2006 study found it to be able to protect against DNA damage. In this particular study, black garlic was found to have 25 times stronger antioxidant potency than normal garlic.
In a 2015 study, it was found that black garlic lowers cholesterol levels in rats even when they were fed a high-fat diet.
You can find more studies about black garlic at the website of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Nutritional Content of Black Garlic
Black Garlic contains approximately 850 mg S-allyl-cysteine (SAC) per bulb, which is 30 times less toxic than allicin in garlic. (Allicin is regular garlic is the compound that is responsible for garlic’s health benefits, however it can also be toxic, when consumed in large quantities). A person can consume significantly more black garlic with no side effects.
Black garlic also contains the following crucial nutrients:
How To Make Black Garlic At Home?
The easiest way is to cook whole heads of garlic in a rice cooker, such as this one by Zojirushi. It needs to be cooked for about 14 days, and then left out for a couple of days to dry the garlic out.
(Warning: it will produce a strong odor when cooked, so place the rice cooker outside, or near a window with a fan going).
Buy a “Fermenting Box” Created Specifically For Black Garlic (Speed Up The Process)
There is also a Black Garlic Fermenter on the market, created specifically for black garlic. Once again, the garlic does not actually go through a process of fermenting, however this term is misused a lot.
This device can produce black garlic between 8 days and 12 days, which may be the best selling point of this machine. Please note, that while it advertises itself as odor-free, product reviewers say that no matter how you cook it, the garlic smell will most likely be very evident.
How Long Does Black Garlic Stay Fresh?
Black garlic prepared at home can be kept for 30 days at room temperature, or in a air-tight container (such as Mason jars) in a fridge for 6 months. It is recommended to put paper towels around the garlic to absorb moisture and keep it fresh longer.
No Time To Make It? You Can Also Purchase It Online
Organic U.S.-grown peeled black garlic can be purchased on Amazon. It has no additives, and comes in a BPA-free container.
If you prefer whole garlic, you can try this organic one by RioRand® YUHONGYUAN, which was cooked for 90 days, and is considered a best-seller on Amazon.
You can also purchase non-GMO black garlic in supplement form. It is used primarily for high blood pressure, and controlling cholesterol levels, but can also be beneficial for all health conditions discussed above. This supplement has 1.2 mg of SAC per serving.
One customer Terry L. M. writes: “I think [this product] is great. I am diabetic and my two big toes are always numb when I go to bed. Just after three days of taking this product the numbness is gone. I feel a lot more energy and just an overall feeling of wellness.”
This article is for informational purposes only and should not constitute medical advice. Consult a licensed naturopathic doctor for more information.