BLACK (AGED) GARLIC
Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH
Garlic is a member of the onion, leek and chive family. It is known for its extremely powerful antioxidant activity and is commonly used by those who want to support their heart health, immunity as well as general health and well-being. Black garlic is produced by ageing regular white garlic for a period of three to four weeks. This allows it to undergo a chemical process that occurs between amino acids and sugars. Not only does this reaction give the garlic a black colour, chewy texture and unique sweet flavour, but it also enhances its nutritional value. Black Garlic, therefore, has double the nutrients than normal white garlic; it is richer in antioxidants and is sweet in taste; leaving no unpleasant aftertaste or smell commonly associated with garlic. A substance called S-allylcysteine is found to be only in Black Garlic and proves to be more powerful and beneficial to the body; helping maintain a healthy heart, and circulation.
Loaded with antioxidants to promote heart health
White garlic is packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, yet some studies show that Black Garlic is even higher source of antioxidants which work by neutralizing harmful free radicals to prevent oxidative damage to heart or brain cells. Studies also showed that Black Garlic promotes healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In this way Black Garlic helps reduce the risk of developing certain types of chronic health problems and promotes heart and brain health.
May help boost immunity and suppress allergies
It was recently discovered that Black Garlic can be very beneficial in supporting immune system function. According to a 2014 study published in Journal of Medicinal Food Black Garlic can be very beneficial in suppressing the allergic response. In a 2009 study, Japanese researchers found that Black Garlic was even more effective than fresh white garlic in fighting abnormal (mutated) body cells.
Supports brain and cognitive function
Black Garlic can have a powerful effect on brain health, including, memory, focus and mood. Because it is so rich in antioxidants, it can energise and protect brain nerve cells thus aiding in the prevention of dementia and fatigue. Research showed that it improved memory in cognitively impaired rats and prevented memory impairment after the administration of monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Helps stabilize blood sugar
Adding Black Garlic to a healthy and balanced diet is a simple way to help maintain normal blood glucose levels. Animal studies demonstrated that Black Garlic was not only effective in lowering levels of blood cholesterol and triglyceride in animals fed a high-fat diet, but it was also able to normalise blood glucose levels.
Black garlic, which is basically fermented garlic, is even healthier than raw garlic. Black garlic is produced by allowing raw garlic to age in temperatures between 140–170 degrees for a period of three to four weeks. This triggers a chemical process that occurs between amino acids and reducing sugars. This reaction enhances the nutritional value and gives the garlic a dark colour, chewy texture, and distinct flavour. Black garlic is significantly higher in phenolic content and has greater anti-oxidant activity; it is also packed with high concentrations of organosulfur compounds, mainly s-allylcycteine (SAC). An advantage of SAC is that it has very high bioavailability, is well-absorbed and much more stable than allicin. Researchers are confident it plays a significant role in garlic’s overall health benefits, mainly in the enhancement of immune cells and inhibition of cholesterol activity.
In a study done by Wang et al. (2010), black garlic extract enhanced the cellular immunity by raising the activity of NK (natural killer) cells which are known to play a critical role in eradication of tumour cells in vivo. In this study, the cytotoxic activity of the NK (natural killer) cells was tested in spleen cells prepared from black garlic extract-treated mice. Wang et al. (2010), treated the mice with the black garlic extract for 5 days, after which the treatment was ceased. The cytotoxic activity of NK cells gradually increased and it reached maximum on day 10, 5 days later after the last injection.
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