What do you do with that garlic bulb that has begun to sprout and looks like it has passed its prime? You may be surprised to find out that that little sprout has more nutritional value than the original bulb, even though it was loaded with nutrition and healing powers.
“ ‘Sprouted’ garlic – old garlic bulbs with bright green shoots emerging from the cloves – is considered to be past its prime and usually ends up in the garbage can. But scientists are reporting in ACS’s (American Chemical Society) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that this type of garlic has even more heart-healthy antioxidant activity than its fresher counterparts.
“Jong-Sang Kim and colleagues note that people have used garlic for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Today, people still celebrate its healthful benefits. Eating garlic or taking garlic supplements is touted as a natural way to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure and heart disease risk. It even may boost the immune system and help fight cancer. But those benefits are for fresh, raw garlic. Sprouted garlic has received much less attention. When seedlings grow into green plants, they make many new compounds, including those that protect the young plant against pathogens. Kim’s group reasoned that the same thing might be happening when green shoots grow from old heads of garlic. Other studies have shown that sprouted beans and grains have increased antioxidant activity, so the team set out to see if the same is true for garlic.
“They found that garlic sprouted for five days had higher antioxidant activity than fresher, younger bulbs, and it had different metabolites, suggesting that it also makes different substances. Extracts from this garlic even protected cells in a laboratory dish from certain types of damage. ‘Therefore, sprouting may be a useful way to improve the antioxidant potential of garlic,’ they conclude.” www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/273314.php
The study’s author Jong-Sang Kim PhD, says, “Plants are very susceptible to attack from bacteria, viruses, and insects during sprouting. This causes them to produce a variety of chemicals called phytoalexins to defend themselves. Most of these are toxic to microorganisms and insects, but beneficial to human health.” www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/why-old-sprouted-garlic-actually-good-you
Here is another interesting tidbit on garlic sprouts.
“Although garlic (Allium sativum) has been extensively studied for its health benefits, sprouted garlic has received little attention. We hypothesized that sprouting garlic would stimulate the production of various phytochemicals that improve health. Ethanolic extracts from garlic sprouted for different periods had variable antioxidant activities when assessed with in vitro assays, including the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging activity assay and the oxygen radical absorbance capacity assay. Extracts from garlic sprouted for 5 days had the highest antioxidant activity, whereas extracts from raw garlic had relatively low antioxidant activity. Furthermore, sprouting changed the metabolite profile of garlic: the metabolite profile of garlic sprouted for 5–6 days was distinct from the metabolite profile of garlic sprouted for 0–4 days, which is consistent with the finding that garlic sprouted for 5 days had the highest antioxidant activity. Therefore, sprouting may be a useful way to improve the antioxidant potential of garlic.” http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf500603v
We now understand that garlic sprouted for five days has been found to have higher antioxidant activity than fresher, younger bulbs. Sprouting your garlic might be a useful way to improve its antioxidant potential. This really makes sense when you consider the nutritional changes that occur in plants when they sprout. Don’t throw out those sprouts—eat them!