“Sprouted” garlic — old garlic bulbs with bright green shoots sprouting from their cloves —is commonly thought to be past its prime and routinely gets tossed into the garbage bin without a second thought.
While some old sprouted foods can actually be dangerous because they release toxic chemicals which can harm the body, that’s not the case with sprouted garlic – on the contrary. In fact, a study funded by Korea’s Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology, which was recently published in the ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that sprouted garlic has even more antioxidant activity than its younger, fresher brethren.
Garlic has been used as a medicine for eons.
According to Dr. Mercola studies show that consuming raw garlic as a regular part of your dietary regimen has impressive health benefits including:
• Effective against drug-resistant bacteria
• Reduces risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke
• Helps normalize your cholesterol and blood pressure
• Protects against cancer, including brain, lung, and prostate cancer
• Reduces risk of osteoarthritis
But the health benefit of sprouted garlic has received much less scrutiny – until now
The researchers knew that as seedlings transform into green plants they manufacture many compounds including those that protect the plant from pathogens. Researcher Jong-Sang Kim explains, “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.”
Kim’s group postulated that a similar process may be occurring when green shoots grow from old garlic cloves. Other studies had already revealed that sprouted beans and grains have richer antioxidant profiles than unsprouted varieties, so the team decided to see if sprouted garlic had increased antioxidant levels as well.
What the Researchers Found
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.
The researchers concluded that sprouting may be a viable method to increase the antioxidant potential of garlic.
However, they still are not certain of the exact mechanisms behind the enhanced antioxidant levels found in sprouted garlic.
Should You Ditch Unsprouted Garlic?
Does this mean you should ditch regular garlic and only use only sprouted garlic? NO! Just add some sprouted garlic (tastes bitter) to your dietary repertoire. Garlic is an effective anti-inflammatory, a proven immune booster, it enhances cardiovascular health in numerous ways and helps fight against 14 types of cancer cells.
A sulfur-rich compound in garlic called allicin is effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites without toxic side effects. The sulfur compounds in garlic seem consistently helpful in lowering our risk of squamous cell carcinoma (one type of cancer) throughout our upper aero-digestive tract (UADT). Including in this region is our mouth, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus.
In some situations, scientists have been able to identify not only contributing causes to cancer development (like chronic cigarette smoking) but also compounds in garlic that inhibit this cancer development process (like diallyl disulfides, or DADS). After risk reduction for cancers of the UADT, risk reduction for stomach cancer (also called gastric cancer) is the next strongest link in recent studies on garlic and cancer prevention.
Garlic has also been shown to be effective against cardiovascular disease such as heart attack (myocardial infarct), coronary artery disease (CAD), high blood pressure (hypertension), and atherosclerosis. The flexibility of our blood vessels has been shown to improve when we eat garlic, and the likelihood of blood vessel damage due to chronic excessive inflammation has been shown to decrease when garlic in consumed on a regular basis. Source.