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Amazing Health Benefits Of Black Garlic: Good For The Heart, Digestive Health And Immunity

Black garlic or aged black garlic is considered to be a functional and popular food in many parts of India and other countries. It is produced by ageing garlic preparation that includes the application of high temperature and humidity for more than 10 days.

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The process allows the odour, pungent taste and smell of raw garlic to convert naturally into safe and stable compounds, leaving behind black or dark brown coloured garlic which is sweet and sour in taste and has a jelly-like texture. [1]

Black garlic is packed with many antioxidant compounds which provide a range of health benefits. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of black garlic and other details. Take a look.

Active Compounds In Black Garlic

According to a study, some of the active compounds in black garlic may include flavonoids (quercetin, caffeic acid, tannic acid, rutin, garlic acid), phenols, thiosulfate, pyruvate, including two major water-soluble organosulfur compounds S-allyl cysteine (SAC) and S-allyl mercapto cysteine (SAMC) which are derived from allicin, the primary compound in raw garlic. [2]

Another compound in black garlic which is in abundance is amino acids such as threonine, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, glycine, proline, leucine, methionine and tyrosine.

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Health Benefits Of Black Garlic

1. May aid heart health

Black garlic has cardioprotective effects; it may help improve heart functions in patients with coronary heart disease due to the abundance of antioxidants in it, says a study. Chronic heart diseases are mainly a result of inflammation, neurohormones and cytokines. Black garlic may help improve blood circulation in patients with heart diseases, along with improving their heart functions and levels of neurohormones. [3] It also helps prevent related diseases like high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

2. May boost immunity

Black garlic has immune enhancement activities mainly due to the high concentration of SAC and SAMC. According to a study, black garlic shows a strong immune response compared to raw garlic in terms of antioxidant and anticancer activities. In short, black garlic may help boost the immune system by frightening against free radicals in the body and preventing the risk of cell inflammation and proliferation. [4]

3. May help with allergies

Allergic responses are of various types; they are mainly mediated by the release of inflammatory cytokines such as histamine, beta-hexosaminidase, TNF-alpha and leukotrienes. A study has shown that black garlic may help suppress the release of these cytokines and prevent the triggering of allergies. This is mainly due to the phenolic content in black garlic that also helps boost immunity and manage chronic allergic responses. [5]

4. May manage diabetes

In a study, black garlic has shown stronger antidiabetic and antioxidant effects compared to garlic and thus, the prior could be helpful in preventing diabetes and its complications. Studies say that diabetes is mainly a result of oxidative stress and as black garlic is packed with the same, it may help reduce the risk of diabetes or prevent its complications such as retinopathy, neuropathy or heart diseases. [6]

5. May have cancer-preventive properties

Studies say that around one-third of cancer cases can be prevented by changes in diets. Black garlic has anticancer properties and consumption of this superfood may have positive effects against cell growth, mainly due to the presence of active compounds like SAC, pyruvate, arginine and amino acids. These compounds may help inhibit cell growth and improve cell functions.[7]

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6. May reduce cholesterol levels

Consumption of black garlic may help reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the body and prevent related diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart diseases. The water-soluble organosulfur compounds such as SAC and SAMC in black garlic plays a key role in lowering the lipids and managing the bodyweight of a person. This food item is also good for people with chronic obesity and may help reduce their body mass index with long term consumption in proper amounts. [8]

7. May reduce risk of genitourinary tract diseases

Genitourinary tract diseases (GTD) are problems related to the genital or urinary tracts or the reproductive organs. Aged black garlic may help maintain the good health of the aforementioned organs by decreasing the free radical damage, lowering albumin levels in urine whose increased levels indicate kidney damage, and lowering inflammatory biomarkers. Overall, black garlic may help with GTD-related diseases such as diabetic nephropathy, kidney damage and nephrotoxicity. [9]

8. May benefit digestive health

Black garlic is great for gastrointestinal health. It may help promote the emptying of stomach content in the small intestine and then, the smooth discharge of faeces from the body. Black garlic also helps keep the stomach cells functioning and prevents the risk of common digestive problems like flatulence or indigestion. [10]

9. May help prevent liver injuries

Many substances such as medications, diets, toxins, pollutants and alcohols can lead to different types of liver diseases such as liver fibrosis and non-alcoholic liver disease. Black garlic has hepaprotective activities. It may help prevent injury to liver cells and help repair the cells if they are already damaged due to pre-existing conditions. Black garlic may also help prevent the risk of liver cancer. [11]

10. May prevent neurodegenerative diseases

Inflammation, immune dysfunction, apoptosis and oxidative stress mainly increases the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's or dementia. Black garlic has potential agents that may help protect the brain against neurodegeneration and reduce inflammation and plaques. This superfood may also help improve memory, learning ability and cognitive functions and protect neurons against damage due to neurotoxicity. [12]

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Side Effects Of Black Garlic

  • People with blood diseases or who are on blood thinner medications must consult a medical expert before consumption as its overconsumption may cause adverse effects.
  • Though black garlic has anti-allergic properties, limited studies say that it may lead to certain allergic symptoms in some individuals. Avoid its consumption if you experience the same.
  • To Conclude

    Black garlic, in many ways, is healthy and nutritious compared to raw garlic. Also, there are limited and not-proven side effects to this superfood. Including this superfood in your diet may help you keep healthy and prevent the risk of various diseases and infections. However, make sure to avoid its consumption in excess.

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How much black garlic should I eat a day?

As excess of anything is bad for health, one must consume black garlic in limited amounts, which could be equal to 3-4 cloves a day, similar to raw garlic. Add it to your curries or soups or simply consume it with a glass of water every morning.

Is black garlic really healthy?

Yes, studies say that black garlic is healthier than raw garlic. This is because of the high concentration of antioxidants in this superfood that may help promote good immune health, heart health, digestive health and many others.

What are the side effects of black garlic?

Black garlic has no to minimal side effects. In some individuals, excess black garlic may cause certain allergic symptoms or may interact with blood thinner medications. Consult a medical expert if you notice any side effects immediately after its consumption.

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