Like the taste of garlic but not the way it leaves your breath smelling? What if you can enjoy the taste without the bad breath? That’s one of the many fermented black garlic benefits.
Think about all the trendy foods over the last decade or so….
Rare is the popular item that intersects both the culinary and natural health circles.
Coconut oil: after a decade many natural health consumers still use it. But you don’t see chefs in restaurants use it en masse.
On the flip side is truffles. About 10 years ago, it seemed like every A-list chef was cooking with truffle oil. But by and large, truffle oil as a health supplement is non-existent.
Fish oil is another example. It’s one of the top-selling health supplements in the world. But when’s the last time you ate a plate of grilled veggies sauteed in cod liver oil?
Black garlic (BG) is one of the rare items that enjoys popularity among the health-conscious and the foodie. (And, health-conscious foodies.)
BG in a way has been used for thousands of years. But in its modern fermented form, it’s only been around for slightly more than a decade.
The difference between ancient BG and its modern varietal will be explained shortly.
But first, let’s take a look at what BG is….
What is Black Garlic?
In cooking, it’s also known as “Mayu.” Some people describe it as having the texture of a gummy bear.
As for its taste, in comparison to regular garlic, it’s much less pungent. It also has a sweeter taste; some describe it as fig-like.
One of the biggest differences between BG and the regular variety is the odor. BG leaves no bad breath aftertaste.
This is great news if you have a date and eat something with black garlic. You won’t need a whole tin of Altoids to mask the offensive breath.
How is it made?
BG doesn’t come from a different species. It becomes black when the regular white cloves ferment for about a month.
The growing conditions must include a certain amount of heat and high humidity. In addition, the atmospheric pressure changes with the cultivation of BG.
Then, the BG undergoes a drying process.
But the way BG gets its chewy texture is through a chain-reaction process. This process is the chemical reaction (the “Maillard reaction”), which gives certain foods a brown, or in this case, black color.
The reaction occurs due to the interaction between amino acids and sugars. In general, the reaction begins above 285°F.
But the Maillard reaction is a browning that’s not the result of adding enzymes.
And herein lies the difference between two different types of BG: aged (ABG) and fermented (FBG).
ABG has been consumed in Southeast Asia for centuries. Most of the BG that high-end chefs use to create gourmet dishes is the aged variety.
On the other hand, fermented black garlic benefits occur a more recent invention.
A 2009 Washington Post article, which calls BG the next “It” ingredient, describes the new invention:
“Inventor Scott Kim began developing the product in South Korea in 2004. His goal originally was to market … fermented black garlic as a super-food.”
Most of the BG that chefs use is really just aged garlic. But true FBG is the result of a double fermentation process.
In addition to aging, which in itself creates fermentation, FBG contains microbial enzymes.
What are the fermented black garlic benefits?
According to this research on black garlic, there are other benefits besides the lack of bad breath. BG contains enhanced bioactivity in comparison to fresh garlic.
Simply put, that means that BG just might be better for you than regular garlic and garlic oil. And the reason why is allicin.
No, that’s not a typo for the name, Allison.
Allicin is perhaps the most important and beneficial antioxidant in this vegetable.
However, allicin is unstable. It changes into different chemicals rather quickly. (SOURCE)
But the reason why BG might be healthier is because of two reasons. First, the fermentation process converts allicin into a more stable and stronger antioxidant.
Secondly, BG contains a substance, SAC. SAC has twice the antioxidant capacity as allicin.
You can absorb allicin better with the help of SAC.
Studies on SAC show that it can boost the immune system.
Other fermented black garlic benefits include better heart health and blood pressure.
And here’s another plus if you’re on a date at a restaurant and eating something with BG: it won’t cause garlic burps.
More fermented black garlic benefits
Researchers believe the aging process of BG offers more protection against diseases. Especially those that are the result of the aging process.
For example, BG can prevent cholesterol from forming in the arteries. It can also improve “good” HDL levels.
Also, in lab settings, it increases the amount of SOD. SOD is one of the body’s most important antioxidants.
BG also can trigger the death of a certain line of leukemia cells. Same goes for lung, breast, stomach, colon, and liver cancer.
According to this research, it reduces tumor volume in stomach cancer cells.
Furthermore, it reduces the allergic response (in mice.)
Research also suggests yeast-fermented BG can better fight obesity, kidney disease and other syndromes.
Again, it’s important to note that aged black garlic and fermented BG are really not the same. According to research, FBG better protects against obesity and other diseases than aged black garlic.
Black garlic oil
Garlic oil is great for ear infections. But when it comes to black garlic oil, the main use is cooking.
One recipe calls for 5 grated cloves and one quarter cup of sesame oil. To transform the cloves into BG, put the sesame oil in saucepan with the grated cloves.
Over medium-low heat, stir the garlic until it browns. Eventually, the garlic will get very dark. At this point, simmer it until it blackens.
At this point, turn off the heat. Transfer the oil to a blender. Pulse until totally smooth.
This method might not be how Michelin-rated chefs do it. But, at least you won’t have bad breath from eating a meal with garlic.
Black garlic supplement
To get the maximum fermented black garlic benefits, you can buy a supplement. Just make sure to choose one that is truly fermented and not just aged.
Remember, the reason why FBG is better for you is because it transforms allicin into a more absorbable compound (SAC.) That being said, though, not all health experts are hopping on the BG wagon.
Take Andrew Weil, M.D. for instance. He says on his website:
“Black garlic may be a bit more glamorous, but remember that regular fresh, raw garlic is a powerful natural medicine. It is an effective antibiotic and antiviral agent that can be used to help treat many kinds of infections. It also contains compounds that appear to fight cancer, and helps lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol.”