Most of us are familiar with the regular garlic. Black garlic is produced by the process of fermentation giving it the unique colour, taste and texture. Black garlic looks like it has been burnt and aged, and the cloves are covered with a brown wrapper.
The resulting colour black of the garlic is as a result of the month long fermentation process that converts the sugars and amino acids in garlic to melanoidn.
The texture of black garlic is soft and jelly like which has no smell and tastes sweet and savoury with a tinge of soy sauce.
Black garlic is popular for the health benefits without the accompanying garlic breath that people detest.
The nutritional component of black garlic
The fermentation process which does not include addition of any additives increases the nutritional value of the garlic without affecting the nutrient content of the original garlic.
Black garlic contains:
Allicin which is a natural antibiotic and is the factor that makes black garlic so special
Eight essential amino acids and nine non-essential amino acids
- Vitamin B
- The minerals:
What are the origins of black garlic?
Black garlic is thought to have originated from Asia, though the exact location and dates are not known. China, Korea and Japan have used black garlic for centuries but it has been difficult for researchers to pinpoint the people who fermented garlic first.
Health benefits of black garlic
Black garlic is known to stimulate the activity in the white blood cells which is required for the body to fight off infections. The natural antibiotic Allicin fights off infections which are resistant to some antibiotics.
If you are prone to seasonal colds and infections, incorporate black garlic into your diet and you’ll notice an improvement in your immune system.
Skin and hair benefit
The antioxidants in garlic kill bacteria that contribute to acne. It is a natural remedy for spotty skin and other skin problems.
Slice a clove of black garlic and rub it on your skin daily and soon you’ll notice the symptoms of acne easing.
Psoriasis sufferers have also benefitted by rubbing garlic on the affected areas of the skin. The outcome is an easing of psoriasis symptoms especially the reddening of the skin caused by the disorder.
The Allicin in black garlic treats hair loss. Mix crushed cloves with hair oil and massage the mixture into your skull.
Black garlic protects your heart
It does several things to keep your heart healthy including:
• Lower blood cholesterol levels
• Stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the walls of the blood vessels, which prevents them from hardening.
• Black garlic helps your arteries to maintain their elasticity, which slacken as you age.
• Ajoene, a disulphide in black garlic helps to prevent blood clots in your blood vessels.
• Lowers blood pressure
• Anti-cancerous properties
The allyl sulphides found in black garlic are responsible for the bulb’s anti-cancerous properties. Other compounds present also help with the protection from cancer and research has the number of these compounds as thirty.
“Black garlic protects against a variety of cancers such as colon, prostate and breast cancers”
Helps in detoxification and liver protection
The sulphur compounds in black garlic help to activate the enzymes in the liver which are responsible for detoxification.
There are two nutrients present in black garlic, allicin and selenium, which protect the liver from damage.
When black garlic is regularly eaten, it protects the organs from metal toxins caused by exposure to metal such as lead. It also significantly eases the symptoms of metal exposure such as migraines and stomach pains.
Helps to fight anaemia
Black garlic helps to improve iron metabolism and also increases the production of a certain protein known as ferroportin, which helps in the absorption and release of iron into the blood.
This prevents the deficiency of iron in the body.
Black garlic is a natural weight loss food in that it contains allicin, known to reduce unhealthy fats and cholesterol.
The bulb is also low in calories and yet it is packed with beneficial nutrients.
It treats tooth and ear aches
Black garlic has been used for years to treat toothaches. Again, the natural antibiotic allicin is responsible for this.
Crush a clove of garlic and then apply it to the area of the ache. It may burn at first but the toothache pain will disappear in a few minutes.
For the ear, mix crashed garlic with sesame oil and warm up the mixture in a pan. When it cools down, insert a few drops into the ear. Allow the mixture to remain in our ear for at least ten minutes.
Black garlic helps to regulate blood sugar by enhancing the level of insulin in your blood. The compounds present in black garlic have an effect on your circulatory, digestive and immune systems, which in turn lowers blood sugar levels and increases the presence of good cholesterol.
The bulb also increases your body’s tolerance of glucose and also protects your heart from diabetes induced cardiomyopathy.
For better sugar control, crush two cloves of black garlic and eat the resulting paste first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. The advantage of black garlic is that it does not have that pungent smell of regular garlic.
A word of caution here, consult your doctor before taking garlic in this way to control your sugar levels.
Protection from Alzheimer’s and Dementia
The antioxidants present in garlic help to arrest free radicals in the body which hasten the ageing process and illnesses like Alzheimer’s and dementia which come with aging.
These diseases are caused by deposits of proteins known as amyloid-beta, which cause plaque to form in the brain as well as inflammations.
For Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, preliminary studies show that a garlic extract, S-allyl-L-cysteine, protected the chemical changes in the brain of such patients.