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Garlic Sprouted in the Pantry? Don’t Toss It Out Just Yet!

May. 19, 2014|990 views


You know how fresh garlic sometimes sprouts, sending out shoots during storage? Most of us have been taught to toss garlic once it’s sprouted. Those bright green shoots signal that it’s gone off. It will be bitter. It’s no good anymore.

Well, it’s time to rethink that old bit of wisdom.

According to new research, sprouted garlic contains more considerably more antioxidants than unsprouted garlic. Of course, garlic already enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a heart-healthy food that combats atherosclerosis. And now, it seems, sprouted garlic may be even more beneficial, due to changes that accompany the sprouting process. 

When you think about it, it makes sense. Why didn’t somebody think of this sooner? After all, I love Ezekiel bread, made by Food For Life. It’s made from sprouted grains, and provides improved digestibility, increased absorption of minerals, and additional vitamins that are released during the sprouting process. Maybe something similar went through the minds of the Korean scientists who wondered if sprouting garlic might not have enhanced antioxidant activity. “We hypothesized that sprouting garlic would stimulate the production of various phytochemicals that improve health,” they wrote, in a recent report. Their hunch proved correct. “Extracts from garlic sprouted for five days had the highest antioxidant activity, whereas extracts from raw garlic had relatively low antioxidant activity.” 

Much previous research has focused on compounds in garlic that appear to help prevent atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of most heart disease. So either way, garlic is something of a superfood. But now we know that there may be good reason to think again the next time your garlic starts sprouting. Instead of tossing it out, find a way to include it in your latest dish. Your heart may thank you.

Alexandra Zakarova, Ji Yeon Seo, Hyang Yeon Kim, Jeong Hwan Kim, Jung-Hye Shin, Kye Man Cho, Choong Hwan Lee, Jong-Sang Kim. Garlic Sprouting Is Associated with Increased Antioxidant Activity and Concomitant Changes in the Metabolite Profile. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2014; 62 (8): 1875 DOI: 10.1021/jf500603v

Tags:  antioxidant