If you have been studying health and nutrition for any amount of time, you know by now that garlic is one of the single most effective foods to keep yourself healthy. It’s potent antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic properties are a bastion for the immune system, and its mineral and antioxidant rich profile makes sure you are getting important nutrients and keeping free radicals at bay.
So what happens when you “age” white garlic in the proper environment? You get a little piece of black “magic”.
How black garlic is made
Black garlic has its roots in Korea, and is just now starting to gain more widespread attention for its enhanced nutritional profile and generally more appealing taste.
Black garlic is made by “fermenting” entire bulbs of raw garlic in a humidity controlled environment with temperatures ranging between 140 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 days. Nothing is added to enhance or preserve it, so it is a very “clean” process.
Following those 30 days, the garlic bulbs are left to oxidize for a period of 45 days. This process causes the garlic cloves to turn black. Although many may call this process fermentation, it isn’t in the purest sense as the transformation doesn’t involve microbial processes, but rather enzymatic breakdown. As these white cloves transition to their black appearance, compounds in the fresh garlic transform into a whole new range of compounds.
The health benefits of black garlic
It makes sense that black garlic has many of the same health benefits as white garlic, but of course, the breakdown process has significantly improved some benefits, while perhaps losing some others. Some of the benefits you can expect from white garlic include:
Dramatic reduction of inflammation
Boosting of the immune system
Improving cardiovascular health and circulation
Destruction of 14 kinds of cancer cells (including brain, lung, breast, and pancreatic)
Although black garlic appears to be lower in alliin, it does have the following increased health benefits over white garlic:
Twice the antioxidants as fresh white garlic (a main component to garlic’s amazing healing benefits)
Five times the amount of s-allylcycteine (SAC), a sulphurous compound that is responsible for skin, muscle, and joint health
Seven times the amount of calcium
Twice the amount of phosphorus
Six times the amount of protein
This could potentially make black garlic TWICE as effective on the cancers listed above, and much more effective on skin, muscle, and joint issues.
As with any food that has been broken down for consumption (sprouting, fermentation), this generally makes the nutrients much more bioavailable. This is a huge factor to consider, as compromised digestive systems have made it much more difficult to extract beneficial nutrients, which eventually leads to disease. Breaking down foods beforehand helps eliminate that concern.
The taste of black garlic
But if twice the antioxidants and increased levels of other health promoting nutrients doesn’t float your boat, perhaps this will…
Black garlic taste a lot different than white garlic. It has flavours reminiscent of balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, with a sweet prune-like taste. Yes, the pungency and spiciness is gone! This eliminates one of the common complaints of white garlic lovers and haters – the fact you can’t go near other humans due to the nuclear affect your breath has on their olfactory senses. With black garlic, you can eliminate this dinner party issue!
So whether you love or hate white garlic, at least now you have another form of it you can add to your disease fighting and health promoting arsenal. Best of all, black garlic can provide more taste sensation in your culinary creations, without the offensive stench that often follows afterwards.
Sources for this article include: