Though not as well known as its white counterpart, black garlic is enjoying a rise in popularity in gastronomic circles and the alternative health field. Introduced to the health and food markets about 5 years ago by the Koreans, garlic becomes “black garlic” through a month-long process of fermentation under strictly controlled heat and humidity. The health benefits of fermented black garlic are being touted by natural medicine practitioners, herbalists and others.
Cancer and Cholesterol
The month-long fermentation process contributes to creating a kind of super-garlic. The compound S-Allylcysteine, a natural constituent of fresh garlic and a derivative of the amino acid cysteine, was found in much greater concentrations in black garlic, and is thought to help balance cholesterol and decrease the risk of cancer, reports HealthMad.com. Allylcysteine assists with the absorption of garlic’s active medicinal ingredient, allicin, helping it metabolize more easily.
Antioxidants, Free Radicals and Oxidation
White garlic has been used for centuries for it’s medicinal properties. It is well known that all garlic contains anti-microbial, antibiotic and anti-fungal agents in its. Garlic’s active ingredient, allicin is known for possessing high levels of antioxidants; and, black garlic has been found to have twice the antioxidant properties of conventional garlic. Antioxidants protect the cells from disease and are thought to slow down the aging process. Because black garlic has become so potent as a result of the process it has undergone, the heightened levels of antioxidants offering protection from free radical damage make it nearly an ideal food to consume to support the cardiovascular system and thwart chronic disease. Free radicals damage cells leading to heart disease, Alzheimers, circulatory problems, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, autoimmune and other chronic diseases.
Cardio Improvement and Immune System Protection
Eating a regular diet including black garlic can improve blood circulation, lower high blood pressure and help to prevent headaches. It thins the blood so acts like turmeric, ginger and other similar herbs to help reduce internal pressure on blood vessels that may cause blockage to blood flow. Like white garlic, regular consumption of black garlic also provides the immune system with support helping to prevent colds and flu.
Odor and Taste of Black Garlic
The process of fermentation reduces the pungent odor and strong flavor making black garlic palatable to some, and far more inviting for others who use it as a healing substance. The taste of black garlic has been compared to that of a dried fruit, smoky, sweet and slightly chewy. Conventional garlic — even in freeze-dried capsules — emits a strong garlic odor that permeates the skin, causing objectionable body and breath odor. Black garlic has none of the strong odor of white garlic and can be consumed in large quantities without the olfactory after-effects.