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Sprouted Garlic Has Heart-Healthy Antioxidants

Sprouted garlic with bright green shoots emerging from the cloves is typically considered to be past its prime and usually ends up in the garbage can. However, a study published in February 2014 in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports that this type of garlic has even more heart-healthy antioxidant activity than its fresher counterparts.

A release from the American Chemical Society, which publishes the journal nots that scientists Jong-Sang Kim and colleagues underscore the fact that people have used fresh, raw garlic for thousands of years as a natural way to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, heart disease risk and possibly to boost the immune system and help fight cancer. Yet sprouted garlic has received much less attention even though it is common knowledge that when seedlings grow into green plants, they make many new compounds including those that protect the young plant against pathogens. Kim's team 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 group set out to see if the same is true for garlic.

The team 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. 

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