Garlic is a superfood known for its many health benefits, like treating acne, lowering blood pressure, improving bone health, and more. The only problem is the vegetable also has the dubious distinction of causing terrible breath.
Enter scientists at Ohio State University. They claim – to the delight of everyone – to have found a solution that may eradicate said horrible stink… for good.
To find the answer, researchers had volunteers chew on three grams of garlic then eat several foods they believed would neutralize bad breath.
Their goal was to find foods capable of fighting off garlic’s “volatiles,” natural chemicals known for causing the bad breath and odour our noses detect.
According to Triskelion database, there are thousands of different types of these food chemicals – otherwise known as volatile food compounds – that are found in any number of foods and drinks. Other foods with similar volatiles to garlic include onions, leeks and chives.
So what food busted bad breath best? Mint.
Not far behind were raw apples and lettuce, both of which reduce odour by 50 per cent. Cooked apples and lettuce were also effective, but not as much as the raw options.
“At a maximum, the mint takes out 75 per cent (of the odour),” Sheryl Barringer, co-author of the study, told Today. “If you’re really worried about garlic breath and you’re going to an important meeting, then you shouldn’t do anything that will make you more nervous. But practically speaking you could eat mint or an apple and not worry about it.”
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A previous 2014 study published by the Institute of Food Technologists also found parsley and spinach do the job in fighting garlic breath.
So what doesn’t combat evil smells? Apparently green tea (despite popular belief).
The reasons why certain foods work, the study says, is that they all contain enzymes and phenolic compounds that help deodorize the volatiles found in garlic. (Phelonic compounds are bioactive substances in food plants that are associated with sensory and nutritional quality of fresh and processed plant foods, according to the American Chemical Society. When these compounds become oxidized, a chemical reaction occurs that deodorizes the chemicals found in garlic.)