Science Is Working on a Cure for Garlic Breath

90626020

90626020

Photo by: Guy Erwood ©Guy Erwood

Guy Erwood, Guy Erwood

We’ve all been there after indulging in a deliciously garlicky dish: supremely satisfied — and also self-conscious that your breath seriously reeks. Garlic breath can last as long as 24 hours after you consume garlic. They don’t call it the “stinking rose” for nothing.

Thankfully, science is on it. Researchers at Ohio State University have determined that chewing mint leaves and eating apple or lettuce (either raw or cooked) may remedy garlic breath. They arrived at this simple conclusion after engaging a group of study participants to chew three grams of softneck garlic cloves for 25 seconds. Then the participants were immediately given either water (the control), apples (either raw, juiced or heated), lettuce (raw or heated), mint leaves (raw or juiced) or green tea.

The researchers then measured and analyzed the “volatiles” that cause garlic breath — diallyl disulfide, allyl mercaptan, allyl methyl disulfide and allyl methyl sulfide — in the participants’ exhalations.

And?

According to the study, just published in the September issue of Journal of Food Science, raw apple, raw lettuce and mint leaves dramatically reduced the concentration of garlic-breath-causing volatiles in participants’ breath. Apple juice and mint juice also worked to deodorize breath — working their magic on the “garlic volatiles” — but they weren’t quite as effective as the raw foods. Heated apples and lettuce significantly reduced two of the volatiles. And Green tea was found to have no deodorizing effect whatsoever on the garlic-breath-causing volatiles.

The researchers suggest that raw foods were more effective than cooked foods because they contain two methods that help deodorize breath: enzymes that combat odors and phenolic compounds that destroy volatiles.

Certainly an interesting study to chew over — along with a few mint leaves (or apple or lettuce) after a flavorful meal.

Photo: iStock

Keep Reading

Next Up

Three Tips for Working with Chocolate

Learn the basics and advanced cooking techniques from Food Network with how-to advice on everything from cooking or carving a turkey to grilling corn.

Science Class: Fun Food Projects

Teach your kids a few basic science concepts using items you can find right in your kitchen.

Tell All Your Friends: Jennifer Aniston Is Working on a Cookbook

Jennifer Aniston recently revealed that she’s working on a cookbook for “people who struggle with dieting.”

Technology Is Working to Save You from Overcrowded Coffee Shops

A Portland, Ore., startup wants to spare you the frustration of walking into a coffee shop and finding that the place is packed and there’s nowhere to perch.

Ted Allen Is Working Late on Cutthroat Kitchen — Alton's After-Show

Watch Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen: Alton's After-Show hosted by Alton Brown.

Best Hangover Cures

Had one too many last night? We aren’t recommending you tie one on regularly, but when that unexpected hangover strikes, look to these foods and drinks.

Win This Cookbook: Blending Science With Spices

Win a copy of dietitian Gita Patel's cookbook, Blending Science With Spices by letting us know what you do to live a healthy life.

The (New) Science Behind Protein Intake

Making sense of the latest research on protein intake.

College Students Learn Complex Science with Chocolate

Chocolate can make anything better — including, it turns out, complex matters of science.