Food Science: Help for Garlic Breath!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Some say that the only cure for garlic breath is to avoid eating this pungent allium altogether. But for folks who can’t help but throw in an extra clove or three when a recipe only calls for one, a life without garlic is a bleak and flavorless prospect!

Luckily, we’ve come across some other solutions for garlic-lovers…

The main chemical causing garlic breath is a sulfide that is produced as the garlic meanders through our digestive system. This is why we often taste garlic strongest and most persistently the morning after a garlicky meal instead of right after eating.

One of the most frequent “cures” we came across in our research was to chew a sprig of parsley. There may be some scientific backing to this.

According to Harold McGee in On Food and Cooking, the same enzymes that cause browning in fruits and vegetables have been shown to render the chemicals causing garlic breath odorless. If you don’t have parsley on hand, try eating a bowl of fruit or a salad of leafy greens!

We’ve also heard that chewing cardamom pods dispels bad breath, though we wonder if this is simply covering up the garlic smell with another (albeit more pleasant) one.

Personal experience has also made us wonder if we’re less affected by garlic when it’s a part of our regular diet. We tend to throw garlic in almost every dish we cook, amounting to quite a bit of garlic consumption!

These days, we only notice garlic breath or odor after we’ve eaten a particularly garlic-heavy meal (a garlic soup incident comes to mind…) or if we realize that we haven’t eaten any garlic for a while.

Has anyone else found any good cures or preventative advice?

(Image: Flickr member blp1979 licensed under Creative Commons)

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