Question: I read that black garlic is recommended by some nutritionists, as it has greater health benefits than the usual kind. It is supposedly sweeter, with smell and spiciness removed. Is it alright to consume it then, if the intention is for health improvement?
Answer: The spiritual reasons for avoiding the five pungent roots (of which garlic is one of) are seen by more diligent Buddhists to be more important than the physical reasons for consuming them, as there might be serious side-effects in the long run. Just because something is recommended by some or many does not mean it should be consumed. For instance, meat-eating nutritionists might claim meat is ‘essential’, when it is not true at all, as attested by many healthy vegans, and not sound for personal, animal and environmental welfare in the long run.
Beyond smell and taste, what makes garlic what it is, is its very substance. It is hard to tell if the negative effects warned by the Buddha will be absent in the case of processed black garlic. In times of doubt, we should remind ourselves of the actual teachings of the Buddha for reference: http://moonpointer.com/new/2013/03/why-avoid-the-five-pungent-roots It is best to avoid spiritually controversial foods when doubtful. Even for health improvement, am sure there are other good vegan alternatives.