What Is Black Garlic?
Black garlic is a type of garlic that has been fermented at high heat (140-194F or 60–90 °C) and humidity (70–90%) for several weeks. During the fermentation process, the garlic undergoes a Maillard reaction, which causes garlic cloves to turn black and develop a sweet and slightly smoky flavor. This process also changes the chemical composition of the garlic, breaking down allicin and converting it into a more stable compound called S-allyl-cysteine (SAC). SAC demonstrated antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties.
Black garlic has been used in traditional Asian medicine for centuries to treat various health conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and inflammation. In recent years, black garlic has gained popularity in the Western world due to its unique taste and potential health benefits.
Health Benefits of Regular Garlic vs. Black Garlic
Garlic has been used as a medicinal and culinary herb for centuries because of its wide range of health benefits. Black garlic, on the other hand, is a relatively recent development. But, how do these two types of garlic compare health-wise?
Firstly, both black garlic and regular garlic contain allicin, a compound that has potent antibacterial properties. Crushing or chopping garlic releases allicin. These processes activate the enzyme alliinase, which breaks down alliin into allicin, and gives garlic its characteristic pungent odor. Black garlic, on the other hand, is produced by fermentation. This process changes the chemical composition of garlic, breaking down allicin and converting it into a more stable compound called S-allyl-cysteine (SAC). SAC has been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties.
Secondly, black garlic contains higher levels of antioxidants than regular garlic. Compounds called antioxidants protect the body against damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that impair cells and aid in disease and aging. Black garlic contains higher levels of a type of antioxidant called polyphenols than regular garlic. Polyphenols exhibit anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Black garlic also contains higher levels of a compound called melanoidin, which is formed during the fermentation process. Melanoidin has been shown to have antioxidant properties and may assist in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Thirdly, black garlic has a milder taste and odor than regular garlic, which may make it more appealing to some people. Regular garlic can have a strong and pungent odor, which can be unappealing to certain individuals. Black garlic, however, has a sweet and slightly smoky flavor with a hint of balsamic vinegar. This milder taste may make it more universal in the kitchen, as it can be used in a wider range of dishes without overpowering other flavors.
Finally, black garlic may have potential benefits for heart health. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, and several studies have suggested that black garlic may help reduce the risk of developing this condition. For example, one study demonstrated that people with high cholesterol significantly reduced their total cholesterol levels by consuming black garlic for 12 weeks. While more research is needed to confirm these findings, they suggest that black garlic may be a promising dietary intervention for preventing or managing cardiovascular disease. Garlic is recognized as a potential agent for preventing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Although recent studies have cast doubt on its efficacy, researchers worldwide are working to understand how to make the most of its therapeutic potential.
Both black garlic and regular garlic have health benefits, but black garlic may have some additional advantages because it contains higher antioxidant levels and contains S-allyl-cysteine. Early studies suggest that black garlic may have potential health benefits, including preventing or managing cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. However, more research is needed to fully understand the benefits of black garlic. Whether you prefer regular garlic or black garlic, incorporating this flavorful herb into your diet may help boost your overall health and well-being.