Most people throw out old garlic once it’s grown a bright green shoot.
While garlic can grow harmful mold if left in the fridge, a little sprout actually increases the bulb’s nutritional and medicinal profile.
Amazing Benefits of Garlic
It’s no secret that garlic is a true medicinal gem. It’s antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties have been taken advantage of for the last few millennia (1).
The bulb is a reputable and natural way to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure and heart disease risk. It even may boost the immune system and help fight cancer.
It’s also used to treat infections and non-poisonous snake bites (2).
This is all possible thanks to allicin, garlic’s most famous active compound, and alliin, which lowers levels of tumor necrosis factor-α(TNF-α) and fights high levels of triglyceride, insulin, uric acid, and glucose in the blood. Alliin can also improve insulin sensitivity in diabetics (3).
How Sprouting Makes It Better
Many restaurants use sprouted seeds, nuts, beans and grains before serving them to give them a more interesting texture and taste. But sprouting foods can also increase phenolic content and antioxidant activity.
“Plants are very susceptible to attack from bacteria, viruses, and insects during sprouting,” explains study author Jong-Sang Kim, PhD. “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.” (4)
The study authors found that garlic sprouted for five days had higher antioxidant activity than fresher, younger bulbs. They also contains different beneficial substances.
In addition, it was also discovered that extracts from sprouted garlic protected cells from various damaging substances in laboratory studies.
“Therefore, sprouting may be a useful way to improve the antioxidant potential of garlic,” they concluded (5).
In short, eating garlic that has sprouted may even be better than garlic soup. Although you shouldn’t completely avoid regular garlic, you can still enjoy its benefits long after it’s sprouted. So the next time you a small green shoot, just remember that it still remains edible and that you don’t have to throw it away!