Black garlic is a fermented garlic clove with a sweet taste and no pungent odor. The benefits of black garlic can be attributed to its rich nutritional profile and the presence of phenolic and antioxidant compounds. This aged garlic helps lower cholesterol levels, regulates blood glucose levels, and reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer. While you can prepare black garlic at home, the process takes time. Black garlic is also more expensive than fresh garlic.
This article explores the health benefits, possible adverse effects, and dosage of black garlic. We also tell you how you can include in your diet. Keep reading.
In This Article
What Is Black Garlic?
Black garlic is a product of fermentation. The whole heads of fresh garlic are maintained at a controlled temperature (60°C to 90°C) and humidity (80% to 90%). The result is rich black garlic cloves minus the pungent odor (caused by a compound called allicin) and enhanced chemical and medicinal properties (1).
It also gains a creamier, softer texture while its taste changes to a sweet, tangy, molasses-like flavor.
The properties of garlic change due to fermentation. But does this process alter its nutritional value too? Let us find out.
Facts About Black Garlic
“Garlic is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B1 and B6, vitamin C, manganese, calcium, copper, selenium, iron, and phosphorus, rendering it a nutrient powerhouse,” says Dr. Carrie Lam, MD, FAAMFM, ABAARM.
What makes black garlic superior? Studies have observed a significant rise in the antioxidant properties of garlic during fermentation. Its phenolic acid content also increases significantly during the heat treatment process (2). Besides, black garlic contains melanoidin, an antioxidant produced during the later stages of the Maillard reaction (a chemical change occurring during fermentation) (3).
Dr. Lam remarks, “The health benefits of black garlic cannot be attributed to one specific compound alone. These benefits may be a result of numerous compounds working together or a combination of various active substances.”
Health Benefits Of Black Garlic
One of the factors separating black garlic from regular garlic is its content of water-soluble compounds. Black garlic also doesn’t leave a pungent smell or aftertaste or odor unlike regular garlic.
1. May Help Maintain Cholesterol Levels
A study found that consuming black garlic extract may help lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels and improve HDL-C (good cholesterol) in rats fed with a high-fat diet. Hence, black garlic may help effectively treat hyperlipidemia (high fat content in the blood) (4). In a study, participants who were given black garlic extract for 12 weeks had seen their HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels improve (5).
2. May Help Manage Blood Sugar Levels
“One serving of black garlic is loaded with antioxidants that can help manage diabetes, weight, and more. It can do this by helping regulate your blood sugar and lower your glucose and insulin levels,” says Christine VanDoren, a certified personal trainer and nutritionist.
A study concluded that the higher antioxidant levels in black garlic may help regulate insulin resistance. Hence, eating a diet with black garlic may help keep type 2 diabetes and the related complications in check (6).
3. May Help Promote Heart Health
As stated, black garlic may help regulate both cholesterol levels and reduce insulin resistance. This, in turn, helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and the clotting of blood in vessels (7), (8),(9).
Besides, a study found that adding black garlic to the diet may significantly lower lipid levels and prevent fat from accumulating in the arteries. This helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (5).
4. May Help Reduce Cancer Risk
Black garlic may inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells besides inducing apoptosis (programmed death of cancer cells). Studies suggest that consuming it may effectively reduce the risk of blood, stomach, and colon cancers (10), (11), (12).
In a study, researchers found that black garlic extracts have anti-cancer, antioxidant, and immunostimulatory effects (13). These properties are attributed to phenolic compounds and melanoidin present in black garlic (14),(15).
5. May Reduce Risk Of Brain Deterioration
Beta-amyloid is a compound that causes inflammation and the aging of brain cells. As a result, it is one of the major causes of Alzheimer’s disease (16).
In a study, black garlic extract at doses of 250 and 500 mg/kg of body weight had significantly improved short-term memory and neuroinflammation in rats induced with beta-amyloid (17).
6. May Help Maintain Liver Health
Black garlic extract has hepatoprotective (liver-protective) effects. It was found to inhibit the elevation of enzymes called aspartate transaminase and alanine transaminase (in rats), which are the markers of liver damage. Research suggests that supplementing black garlic extract may be an effective adjuvant therapy to manage liver injury (18).
Another animal study indicates that the antioxidant properties of black garlic may help treat liver damage caused due to alcohol abuse to a certain extent (19). However, more research is warranted to prove this claim.
Apart from these benefits, black garlic may also have probiotic properties as with other fermented foods.
Dr. Lam has an interesting input. She says, “Garlic has also been found to balance hormones, improve cardiovascular health, fight cancer, bring down weight, improve bone density, and remove heavy metals from your body. This makes it helpful to the functions of every single circuit of your NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response system, composed of various organs and circuits — the hormonal, bioenergetic, inflammatory, detoxifying, cardionomic, and neuroeffector circuits — working together to counteract stress.”
As with any good ingredient, black garlic may also have a few downsides. Scroll down to know what they are.
Side Effects Of Black Garlic
Like garlic, black garlic is safe to consume. However, Dr. Lam has a few suggestions if you have the following conditions.
- If you are suffering from advanced adrenal fatigue, start with smaller and less frequent intakes before working your way up to a daily dose of this potent detoxifier.
- Taking garlic supplements without supervision is not advised if you suffer from an autoimmune condition since it could worsen autoimmune attacks.
Melissa Mitri, a Registered Dietitian for Wellness Verge, says, “If you are taking blood-thinning medications, you may want to limit or avoid eating black garlic. Taking black garlic in large amounts can further increase the risk of bleeding.”
That said, what is the right amount of black garlic to consume?
The Recommended Limit For Black Garlic
The experts and the literature suggest that consuming 4g (around 2-3 cloves) of black garlic and 7.2g (approx) of black garlic extract can offer the best results without any side effects.
Is it advisable to prepare black garlic at home or simply buy it? We will understand the merits in the following sections.
How To Add Black Garlic To Your Diet
Preparing black garlic at home is a long and tedious process. Instead, you can buy pre-aged garlic from the market to save you time, money, and effort.
Here is how you add black garlic to your diet:
- Chop and mix with butter to make black garlic butter.
- Use as a topping for pizzas or pasta.
- Mash and use to make soup or gravy.
- Blend in while preparing a dip.
Black garlic boosts antioxidant levels in the body, which can help improve your health in multiple ways. Consuming it may help you take better care of your heart, sugar levels, liver, and immune system. These benefits come with a sweeter taste and no pungent odor or aftertaste, which is not the case with fresh garlic. Black garlic does not have many drawbacks either, just that it can be a little more expensive. In rare cases, it might cause bleeding and increase autoimmune attacks in people with autoimmune disease. Hence, practice caution before taking black garlic. Speak to your doctor for more information.
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- Black garlic: A critical review of its production bioactivity and application
- Evolution of some physicochemical and antioxidant properties of black garlic whole bulbs and peeled cloves
- Antioxidant Activity of Various Soluble Melanoidins Isolated from Black Garlic after Different Thermal Processing Steps
- The effects of black garlic (Allium satvium) extracts on lipid metabolism in rats fed a high fat diet
- Reduction of blood lipid parameters by a 12-wk supplementation of aged black garlic: a randomized controlled trial
- Antioxidant effect of garlic and aged black garlic in animal model of type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Effect of Change in Total Cholesterol Levels on Cardiovascular Disease Among Young Adults
- Insulin Resistance and Heart Failure: Molecular Mechanisms
- What is cholesterol and how does arteriosclerosis develop?
- Induction of apoptosis by a hexane extract of aged black garlic in the human leukemic U937 cells
- Aged black garlic extract induces inhibition of gastric cancer cell growth in vitro and in vivo
- Aged black garlic extract inhibits HT29 colon cancer cell growth via the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway
- Individual differences on immunostimulatory activity of raw and black garlic extract in human primary immune cells
- Plant phenolics in the prevention and treatment of cancer
- Direct tumor growth suppressive effect of melanoidin extracted from immunomodulator-PSK
- β-Amyloid peptides and amyloid plaques in Alzheimer\’s disease
- Neuroprotective Effects of Aged Garlic Extract on Cognitive Dysfunction and Neuroinflammation Induced by β-Amyloid in Rats
- Hepatoprotective Effect of Aged Black Garlic Extract in Rodents
- Amelioration of Single Clove Black Garlic Aqueous Extract on Dyslipidemia and Hepatitis in Chronic Carbon Tetrachloride Intoxicated Swiss Albino Mice