Coffee, cheese, and garlic are all alike in the sense that they're distinctly delicious, potentially addictive, and the likely culprits behind your biohazard-level bad breath. Garlic in particular is perhaps the godfather of rank breath, but now, scientists say they've finally pinpointed exactly what you should eat after garlic-y foods to make the offensive odor go away. And, no, it does not involve Listerine.
A recent study from researchers at Ohio State University claims two common foods -- raw apples and raw lettuce -- can cure your ghastly garlic breath almost as effectively as chewing mint leaves, according to a report by Munchies. This is pretty great, considering you probably don't carry mint leaves with you often, if ever, let alone chew them, too.
Participants in the study were asked to chew on garlic cloves for 25 seconds before drinking water as a control, then they were given raw, juiced or heated apple; raw or heated lettuce; raw or juiced mint leaves; or green tea to consume right away. After the participants were done eating and drinking, the researchers used "ion flow tube mass spectrometry" to measure the level of the volatile compounds in garlic -- diallyl disulfide, allyl mercaptan, allyl methyl disulfide, and allyl methyl sulfide -- that make your breath wreak. Having volatiles in your mouth has never sounded scarier.
While chewing mint leaves proved the best way to cut the stench, the scientists saw 50% decreases in the concentration of the volatiles in the participants who ate the raw lettuce and raw apples. Green tea, sadly, did nothing to remove the volatiles and, of course, the stink. An excerpt from the study's abstract sums up the findings nicely:
"Garlic has a strong smell responsible for the undesirable garlic breath that may linger for about 24 h. Therefore, it is helpful to come up with means of deodorizing the volatiles responsible for garlic breath as the associated health benefits are enjoyed. Chewing mint leaves, and eating apple and lettuce (raw and cooked) will help reduce the garlic breath volatiles."
So, the next time you're on the fence about getting an order of garlic knots, well, you should never be on the fence about an order of garlic knots because they're delicious. And maybe have some salad or an apple ready.