I was having dinner with some of our close friends when the subject turned to cholesterol.
Most of us here are in our late thirties, and almost all of us have high cholesterol. So we talked about medication and how we are dealing with this condition.
Then one of them suggested that I try fermented black garlic. I did my research, and this article is a result of that.
While white garlic garners most of the headlines its dark twin black garlic may be more potent in terms of nutritional value.
It contains twice as many antioxidants and seven times disease-fighting polyphenols.
Not only does it have potentially more nutrients it also tastes better in my opinion. The fermentation process softens it and adds a sweet and pungent flavor ala balsamic vinegar.
Eating raw black garlic won’t be as frightening as eating raw white garlic because of this added sweetness minus the spice.
You don’t have to worry about bad breath afterwards.
What Is Black Garlic?
Black garlic is a product a careful fermentation process that lasts for 30 days in a controlled environment in temperatures between 140 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
After 30 days fermented garlic goes to a clean room to oxidize for another 45 days.
This process causes sugars and amino acids inside garlic to react which results in the black pigmentation and soft texture like a marshmallow.
There’s no preservatives added to the process which make this one of the healthiest supplements available and healthier than black garlic in capsule form.
From Allicin to SAC
For those who are not familiar, Allicin is a major bioactive component of garlic.
But the interesting part is that garlic does not contain allicin.
White (or fresh) garlic have enzymes called allinase and alliin in different parts of the plant.
Allicin is only released when garlic is chopped or crushed.
This is what gives garlic that pungent and spicy scent unique to fresh garlic. The problem is this compound breaks down within minutes and is unstable.
During the fermentation process, allicin turns into S-allyl-cysteine or SAC that contributes to its antidiabetic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities .
According to Science Direct, black garlic’s nutritional content depends on the fermentation process.
Some studies have revealed that some valuable components inside BG increased during the aging process. These components include polyphenol and flavonoids that are classified as antioxidant agents.
Some studies revealed that either an increase or decrease of water-soluble sugars, amino acids, polyphenols, and flavonoids during thermal processing.
Here’s a comparison between the components of black and fresh garlic …
1. Boosts Immune Function
Garlic, in general, helps boost our immune system thanks to its antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and antiparasitic properties than fight germs.
Research has shown that white garlic exhibited stronger immunomodulatory activity than black garlic and that the fermentation process has degraded this property.
2. Heal Liver from Alcohol Damage
Even if the liver can heal itself, too much alcohol can damage it permanently.
If you suffer from liver disease, there is hope. Scientists have had positive results using aged black garlic on rodents in reducing inflammation and possibly reversing damage caused by alcohol on the liver.
Take note that the experiment was on rats, so we have no idea how human cells will react to the same treatment.
But it is a step in the right direction.
3. High Antioxidant Levels
A 2009 study showed that black garlic had more antioxidants that white garlic. And a diet that had 5% black garlic will improve insulin resistance. These same antioxidants also protect cells from damage and delay signs of aging.
Another study revealed that black garlic had twice the antioxidant level as white garlic. It appears as though the fermentation process doubled the number of antioxidants. Other studies have said as much as 25 times more potency, which is insane.
This much antioxidant level can help prevent Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and similar chronic ailments.
I’ve mentioned this earlier in the article that fermenting fresh ginger turns allicin into SAC that’s more stable and 100% bioavailable. This means instant nutrient absorption.
It is this compound that’s responsible for many of black garlic’s benefits and the high antioxidant content.
However, if you have an infection and want the benefits of allicin, consuming raw white garlic is a better option, it has more of it.
4. Improve Cholesterol Levels
If you have high cholesterol, you know how vital balance of HDL and LDL is.
This means you have to keep your HDL or good cholesterol up and keep the LDL or bad cholesterol down.
Only lowering LDL without increasing HDL will not cure this disease. And that’s what prescription medication does.
Keeping these two at optimal levels is essential to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Black garlic has been subject to research to test if it could help people with cholesterol issues.
One such study was done in Korea in 2014, and the results show that taking black garlic extract for 12 weeks can increase the HDL (or good cholesterol) and decrease LDL (or bad cholesterol).
It also helps decrease lipoprotein B in blood lipids, which is a reliable indicator of heart disease.
Another study done at Penn State University revealed that S-allyl cysteine (or SAC) from garlic inhibited cholesterol synthesis .
5. Reduces Inflammation
Many of black garlic’s benefits stem from its high active compound content. Research has shown that it contains as much as 100 active compounds. One of these compounds is S-allyl cysteine, a famous anti-inflammatory agent.
6. Relief from Allergy
In a study done at the Chungnam National University in Daejeon Korea revealed that black garlic extract could deter genes that cause inflammation and allergic reactions. But this experiment was done on rats, so we don’t know if it is as effective on people .
7. May Prevent Colon Cancer
Colon cancer is a silent killer whose symptoms only manifest when it’s in the latter stages. My uncle passed away years past because of this disease, and one of the best ways to treat this is preventing it in the first place.
A Spandidos Publication research has shown that black garlic can potentially prevent this disease by inhibiting the growth of a pathway that leads to colon cancer.
8. Easier to Consume Raw
There’s no scientific evidence for this, only real world experience by yours truly. I didn’t appreciate eating raw garlic until I was in my early thirties, and it is a treat. The problem is for individuals who don’t like the flavor; it would be hard for them to enjoy the benefits of consuming it uncooked.
Black garlic offers an alternative and heart-healthy option that’s sweeter minus the spice and aftertaste.
Plus you will not have bad breathe afterward.
How To Make Black Garlic?
If you don’t mind waiting and the odor, you can ferment fresh garlic in the comfort of your home. All you need is a rice cooker, fan, tissue, and some fresh garlic.
This video will show you how to do it.
It is a simple process but makes sure to set the rice cooker at the “keep warm” setting. Using this method will take around 14 days.
Another way of making homemade black garlic would be using a “black garlic fermenter.” This machine is a bit pricey – over $110 in Amazon.
Even if the manufacturer claims to be “odor free” reviews say that there will still be a garlic scent no matter what.
Storing Black Garlic
Homemade black garlic will last up to 30 days in an airtight container like a mason jar. You can extend its shelf life by stuffing tissue around it to absorb moisture.
Where to Buy?
If you don’t like the idea of making your black garlic, then there are numerous options available online. It also comes in different forms such.
Whole black garlic provides the best nutritional benefit because everything is intact. It is also available in powder form if you want to enjoy its flavor on your dishes. Supplements are also available as a natural treatment for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.