Science Finally Has A Cure For Garlic Breath

Photographed by Danny Kim.
Halloween (prime vampire season) is coming up, so it's only natural if you've been eating more garlic lately. The only downside of all that supernatural protection is that your breath might be scaring away humans too — luckily, a new study published in the Journal of Food Science may have found a solution, once and for all.

For the study, researchers at Ohio State University had volunteers chew three grams of garlic for 25 seconds, then eat a variety of foods that are supposed to help neutralize garlic breath. After analyzing the volunteers' breath to measure the levels of chemicals responsible for the odor (also known as "volatiles"), they found that three foods were the most effective in lowering them: apples, mint, and lettuce.

All three of these foods contain the two things that can combat garlic's volatiles: enzymes and phenolic compounds.

Mint, probably most people's go-to cure for garlic breath anyway, was found to be the most effective out of the three. But, more surprisingly, apples and lettuce weren't far behind — both deodorized participants' breath by 50%. Study author Sheryl Barringer, PhD, told Yahoo Beauty that it made no difference if they were cooked or not.

The study also proved that green tea, one supposed bad-breath cure, is ineffectual. The drink didn't do much to cut down on the volatiles in volunteers' breath, but Dr. Barringer told Yahoo that might have something to do with the type of green tea they used. “Some people have reported green tea working, which made me think, ‘Did we use a green tea that just didn’t have very much phenolics in it?’” she said.

So, next time your garlic breath is a problem, know that mint tea is best. And if that's not available, you have two solid backups in apples and lettuce.
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