Dear Living Well Daily Reader,
“Your package is here, and it STINKS! What’s in there? Old pizza? Please come get this out of my house!”
Last week, I ordered a few pounds of garlic cloves for planting. I was traveling, so I had it delivered to a friend’s house. And needless to say, she was not thrilled with its odor.
In fact, she found its stench so overwhelming she eventually put the package on her porch until I could retrieve it. She then commented, “I don’t even want to think about what your breath is going to be like when you eat this stuff in the spring! Vampires won’t come within 100 miles of you.”
If you’ve ever eaten garlic, you know what she’s talking about — garlic breath.
While you’ve likely experienced garlic’s lingering aftertaste and smell (or been embarrassed by it) — and since vampires aren’t a serious threat for most of us — smelling like garlic has few advantages. But that doesn’t mean you should stop eating it.
Garlic is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other health-boosting compounds. Eating garlic regularly can help boost your immune system, reduce your blood pressure and support a healthy heart and bones.
Fortunately, you can eat all the garlic you want without getting bad breath — by eating two specific foods after enjoying the savory taste and endless health benefits of garlic.
Breath So Fresh You’ll Need to Be Wary of Vampires
Garlic breath is caused by substances called volatile compounds. These include diallyl disulfide, allyl mercaptan, allyl methyl disulfide and allyl methyl sulfide.
Some foods contain enzymes and phenolic compounds that can destroy embarrassingly pungent garlic breath by destroying these odor-causing volatiles. Researchers think that raw foods are more likely to rid your breath of your lasagna lunch than cooked foods, due to the levels of these substances in raw foods.
To test this, scientists at Ohio State University recently performed an experiment using raw, cooked, and juiced foods. And what they found was amazing — certain foods can neutralize these volatiles and stop pungent garlic breath when eaten directly after consuming garlicky foods!
For the study, which is published in the Journal of Food Science, the scientists had each participant chew 3 grams of garlic clove for 25 seconds. Next, the volunteers immediately consumed either green tea; juiced, heated or raw apple; heated or raw lettuce; or juiced or raw mint. Water was used as a control.
The levels of volatiles were measured before and after the consumption of the tested foods. After hours of monitoring the garlic chewing, the scientist found that by and large, two foods were the most effective against the odor-causing volatiles — raw apple and raw lettuce. When compared with the control, water, raw lettuce and raw apple slashed the concentration of odor-causing volatiles by 50 percent in just the first 30 minutes!
While the heated apple and heated lettuce both performed well, they were no match for their raw counterparts.
Scientists suggest just a few bites of either of these foods after going on a garlic binge will give you fresher breath. This means you can continue to enjoy all of the amazing health benefits of garlic without worrying about stinky breath.
In fact, your breath will be so fresh you’ll need to watch out for vampires.
Managing editor, Living Well Daily