Scientists at Ohio State University have found a cure for the stinky garlic breath.
Unsurprisingly, researchers found that chewing on mint leaves was a top garlic breath deodorizer, but the results also showed that raw apple and raw lettuce were just as effective.
The research, which was published in the Journal of Food Science last week, studied the effect of different foods on the volatile compounds responsible for garlic breath (diallyl disulfide, allyl mercaptan, allyl methyl disulfide, and allyl methyl sulfide).
Participants were given three grams of garlic cloves to chew on for 25 seconds before drinking water as a control. Scientists then measured the effects of raw, juiced, or heated apple; raw or heated lettuce; raw or juiced mint leaves; and green tea. The results were measured up to an hour after consumption using selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry, a piece of equipment which analyses trace gases and compounds in exhaled breath. Slightly more accurate than the sniff-and-see test, then.
While green tea didn’t help with smelly breath situations, researchers found that “raw apple and raw lettuce decreased the concentration of volatiles in breath by 50% or more compared to the control for the first 30 minutes”.
Mint leaves had an even higher deodorizing effect on all the compounds measured, but across the foods tested, juiced and heated versions were not as potent.
The researchers suggest that raw foods are better at breaking down garlic’s volatile compounds because they contain both odor-eliminating enzymes and phenolic compounds, which destroy the volatiles.