It's a must-have staple in a huge number of dishes and you can't make a good tomato sauce without it — but it's also a conversation killer, thanks to its potent aroma. I'm talking about garlic, of course. The age-old question of how to get rid of garlic breath has plagued hungry humans since the dawn of time (or at least, that's what it seems like) — and finally, we may have an answer to the problem. Researchers at Ohio State University believe they may have found a way to help us get rid of the lingering after-effects of garlic on our breath, and it's a game changer in more ways than one.
A new study published in the September issue of the Journal of Food Science examined the effect of garlic on the body, with the help of a group of strong-stomached volunteers. Scientists asked the participants to consume a whopping three grams of soft-neck garlic cloves, requiring them to keep the cloves in their mouths for 25 seconds before swallowing (yikes). Then, the participants were given a variety different drinks and foods to try and rid their mouths of the potent aroma. During this phase, the researchers analyzed the varying levels of volatiles — which are responsible for that lingering smell — in the participants' breath
After garlic consumption, all volunteers were given water as a control; green tea; raw, juiced, or heated apple; raw or heated lettuce; or raw or juiced mint leaves. The findings showed that many of the options were successful to some degree at decreasing the concentration of volatiles in the mouth; raw mint leaves, however, were far and away the best. Raw lettuce and raw apple were also quite effective, reducing garlic breath by 50 percent or more. Cooked lettuce and cooked apple helped eliminate that garlicky pong as well — and if you're not planning to keep a sprig of fresh mint in your bag at lunchtime and soggy lettuce isn't your thing, apple juice and mint juice (side note: where the heck can you actually find mint juice?) also reduced the levels of volatiles in the breath. Green tea, unfortunately, had no effect.
If you want to be super prepared, Dr. Sheryl Barringer, study author and professor and department chair in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the Ohio State explained to Yahoo Beauty that using both a breath mint and a few leaves of fresh mint could have an even bigger effect on that post-garlic stench. Mint had a higher deodorization level than all the volatile compounds measured, so doubling up might be your best bet.
And hey, in case you don't have apple, lettuce, or mint available, at least you've got some other options, too; other garlic breath studies have also suggested that milk, parsley, and mustard can soothe breath ailments, too. Now who wants to volunteer themselves for a more comprehensive study?
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