How to Cure Garlic Breath Without Gum (Yes, Really)
Is there anything worse than dealing with garlic breath at work? If you ask us, tucking into a burrito bowl for lunch then realising you need gum (usually just before a meeting), is a real-life horror story. Even worse, depending on the dosage of garlic consumed, Tic Tacs might not even cover it. That's because, according to a new study out of the Institute of Food Technologists, we've been going about treating garlic breath all wrong. Yep, instead of reaching for mints, you should be munching on—of all things—an apple.
First, a little science. Garlic contains compounds called volatile compounds. These both give it flavour, and are responsible for the less-than-fresh breath that follows a garlicky meal. The study focused on finding foods which most effectively decreased the levels of volatile compounds. Researchers from Ohio State University had participants chew on three grams of garlic (the equivalent of one clove) for 25 seconds, then immediately gave them a chaser of either water, raw, juiced or heated apple, raw or heated lettuce, raw or juiced mint leaves, or green tea. After this, volatiles on the breath were analysed, and the results were remarkable. Raw apple and lettuce decreased volatiles by at least 50 per cent compared to water, as did cooked apple and lettuce to a lesser extent. Unsurprisingly, raw mint leaves had the highest deodorisation level but green tea had no discernible effect. (That's okay by us, green tea has other benefits.)
According to the researchers, foods likely cure garlic breath in one of two ways; either the enzymes in raw foods wipe out odours, or phenolic compounds (aka aromatic plant compounds) in both raw and cooked foods nuke the volatiles. Either way, we're happy to know pleasant breath is now just an apple (or mojito?) away. In a pinch, try Vermints' Organic Mints ($5). They're made with real peppermint oil and leaves for maximum freshness.