Are Black Garlic Benefits Even More than Raw Garlic?
However, there are plenty of differences between the two, with black garlic boasting a higher concentration of antioxidants and a distinct texture, taste and aroma all its own. It’s also super versatile, delicious and easy to make at home using just a few simple ingredients, giving you plenty of reasons to add this herb to your dinner rotation.
What Is Black Garlic?
Black garlic is produced by allowing regular garlic to age in temperatures between 140–170 degrees Fahrenheit for a period of three to four weeks. This allows it to undergo the Maillard reaction, a chemical process that occurs between amino acids and reducing sugars. Not only does this reaction give the garlic a dark color, chewy texture, and distinct flavor and aroma, but it also enhances the nutritional value of this superfood even more.
The black garlic taste is usually described as tangy with a syrupy, balsamic flavor. It works well in savory and sweet dishes alike and can be used in everything from meat blends to desserts. It’s even available in powdered form to provide an extra dose of flavor with minimal effort required.
Wondering where to buy black garlic? Thanks to its rapidly growing popularity, you can find black garlic at many major retailers and specialty Asian markets. For a convenient alternative, you can also simply buy it online and get it shipped directly to your door.
Plus, if the black garlic cost is deterring you from trying it out, you can even make it at home with just a few ingredients. All it takes is some fresh garlic, a rice cooker and a little patience, and you’ll be able to enjoy this unique ingredient in no time.
- Loaded with Antioxidants
- Helps Fight Cancer Growth
- Boosts Heart Health
- Preserves Cognitive Function
- Stabilizes Blood Sugar
- Kicks Up Immunity
1. Loaded with Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that can have a powerful effect on health. They work by neutralizing harmful free radicals to prevent oxidative stress and damage to cells. Not only that, but research shows that antioxidants can reduce the risk of developing certain types of chronic disease, including coronary heart disease, cancer and diabetes. (1)
Garlic is jam-packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, yet some studies show that black garlic may contain even more. According to a study out of South Korea, allowing garlic to age over a 35-day period to form black garlic causes a significant increase in the antioxidant content, reaching peak antioxidant levels on the 21st day of aging. (2)
2. Helps Fight Cancer Growth
The antioxidants found in black garlic can have a number of beneficial effects on health, especially when it comes to preventing the development of chronic conditions like cancer. These antioxidants help block the buildup of free radicals to inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.
A 2014 in vitro study showed that aged black garlic extract was able to effectively kill off and reduce the growth of colon cancer cells. (3) Similarly, another in vitro study published in the journal Nutrition and Research Practice reported that aged black garlic extract decreased the growth and spread of leukemia cells as well. (4) Although research in humans is limited, other animal and test-tube studies suggest that black garlic may also have therapeutic effects on lung cancer and stomach cancer. (5, 6)
This should come as no surprise since garlic and other herbs are among the top cancer-fighting foods around.
3. Boosts Heart Health
One of the most well-known garlic benefits is its ability to protect and improve the health of your heart. Black garlic may also help enhance heart health, with some studies even showing that it may be just as effective as raw garlic.
A 2018 animal model compared the effects of black garlic and raw garlic on heart health recovery following damage caused by ischemia, or a lack of blood supply to the heart muscles. Interestingly, researchers found that both raw garlic and black garlic exhibited cardioprotective effects and were equally effective in minimizing damage to the heart. (7) Another animal model conducted at Dankook University in Korea also showed that black garlic was able to lower levels of cholesterol and high triglycerides to reduce the risk of heart disease. (8)
4. Preserves Cognitive Function
Much like regular garlic, black garlic can have a powerful effect on brain health. Because it’s rich in antioxidants, it can alleviate inflammation and may aid in the prevention of cognitive conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
A recent animal model published in Nutrients showed that aged garlic extract improved memory in cognitively impaired rats, plus helped decrease inflammation in the brain as well. (9) Another animal study out of Indonesia also found that black garlic protected against oxidative stress and prevented memory impairment after the administration of monosodium glutamate, or MSG, in rats. (10)
5. Stabilizes Blood Sugar
Maintaining high levels of blood sugar can come with a slew of negative effects on health. In the short term, it can cause diabetes symptoms like frequent urination and fatigue. In the long term, it can even cause kidney dysfunction, skin infections and a higher risk of heart disease.
Adding black garlic to a healthy and balanced diet is a simple way to help maintain normal blood sugar levels. The animal model out of Dankook University in Korea mentioned above showed that black garlic extract was not only effective in lowering levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides in rats fed a high-fat diet, but it was also able to reduce blood sugar levels as well. Meanwhile, an animal study published in Nutrition Research and Practice reported that the high antioxidant levels in black garlic may also be useful in preventing diabetes complications. (11)
Your immune system plays a crucial role in your overall health. It wards off illness and infections and can even help prevent chronic conditions as well. The antioxidants found in black garlic enhance immunity by fighting free radicals, reducing inflammation and preventing oxidative damage to your cells.
A 2012 in vitro study evaluated the differences between black and raw garlic and their individual effects on immune function. Not only did black garlic exhibit the strongest anticancer and antioxidant properties, but it also had a more powerful effect on stimulating immunity. (12) These immune-boosting benefits could have far-reaching effects on several aspects of health and may aid in the treatment of everything from allergies to autoimmune disorders and acute infections.
Black Garlic Nutrition
Black garlic contains a concentrated dose of antioxidants, with some studies suggesting that it may contain even more than regular garlic. Compared to fresh garlic, it’s also slightly higher in calories, fat and fiber, plus sodium and iron, and a bit lower in carbohydrates and vitamin C.
Black Garlic vs. Raw Garlic
Although black garlic is made from raw garlic that has been “fermented” in a humidity-controlled, warm environment over a period of several weeks, there are several notable differences between black and raw garlic in terms of health benefits and taste.
Nutritionally, the differences between black and raw garlic are minute. Raw garlic is lower in calories and contains less sodium with slightly more vitamin C. Black garlic, on the other hand, contains more fiber and iron and is a bit lower in carbohydrates.
Raw garlic also tends to be higher in allicin, one of the key compounds found in garlic that’s responsible for many of its potential health benefits as well as its characteristic taste and aroma. However, it’s also lower in antioxidants, with studies showing that black garlic actually contains a more concentrated amount of these disease-fighting compounds. (15)
In terms of flavor, black garlic has a much different taste than raw garlic. It’s usually described as sweet, tangy and syrup-like with a texture that is softer than regular garlic. Both black and roasted garlic are ideal, however, for adding a punch of flavor and depth to foods like sauces, dressings, dips and marinades.