Garlic’s “Dark Secret” to Even More Antioxidant Power
We’ve told you before about the benefits of eating garlic. It’s one of the most potent allium vegetables you can find.
Garlic is full of antioxidants that may lower your risk for lung cancer by up to 44%. It even helps you keep a strong heart and solid bones. But there’s another way to experience the health benefits of eating raw garlic—and even more.
In fact, some experts say eating this weird “mutation” may give you double the antioxidant content of regular garlic.1
It’s a food that has been popular for years in Asian cuisine… And the rest of the world is finally starting to catch on to it.
To some, it may not appear very appetizing. But as strange as it seems, this stuff starts out looking just like the garlic you see at the supermarket. It simply undergoes a natural—yet drastic—chemical facelift.
The antioxidant power of this gross-looking variation puts normal garlic to shame.
The process of making black garlic is very similar to traditional fermentation. It sits and it ages. But that’s only part of it. By “cooking” regular garlic at between 150 and 170 degrees for about a month, garlic turns black. But that’s not the end of it. Then it has to oxidize in a sterile room for around 45 days.2
The color change is the result of heat meeting amino acids and natural sugars to produce a substance called melanoidin. But color isn’t the only thing that changes. This process also converts allicin—a compound that improves blood flow—into s-allycysteine (SAC). Plain garlic has it too… But black garlic has about 18 times the SAC as its more traditional cousin.3
Like allicin, SAC helps improve circulation. It also has major antioxidant power that helps prevent inflammation and oxidative damage. But unlike allicin, SAC is water soluble. This makes it easier for your body to absorb it.4 That’s good news considering garlic’s proven ability to help fight colds, control food cravings, and fight cancer.5 But some of the changes that take place are a little more obvious.
The consistency and taste of this culinary oddity are nothing like the garlic you’re familiar with. The texture is prune-like—almost a jelly in some cases—after the aging process. But the flavor changes too. It’s sweet with a slightly savory aftertaste. Some compare it to balsamic vinegar. Even with this change, it still retains some of its traditional character. You can use it in place of white garlic in most recipes.
You probably won’t come across black garlic at your local supermarket… But health and specialty food stores may have it. Some retailers even sell whole black garlic through their websites. If you can’t bring yourself to try eating black garlic, you may want to look for it in supplement form online.