Ever bought too much garlic and have it sprout before you could use it? Turns out those bright green shoots don’t mean it’s gone bad. Garlic that’s been sprouted for five days has significantly higher antioxidant levels than fresher garlic, finds a new study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
It’s a strange concept, but it makes more sense when you consider the current “sprouting” trend: A growing number of food companies and restaurants are now offering sprouted grains, nuts, and legumes because the process actually improves their food’s nutrient composition. With this new study, it’s clear that the same goes for garlic.
Here’s what’s happening: “Plants are very susceptible to attack from bacteria, viruses, and insects during sprouting,” says 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.”
Sprouted or not, garlic's always a good choice. Both varieties have healthy sulfur-containing compounds, like allicin, which studies suggest slow atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), lower blood pressure, and reduce your risk of certain types of cancer, says Alison Massey, RD, registered dietician.
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