At The Garlic Farm we don't tend to worry too much about garlic breath. In fact, we love the smell! We have learnt a few things about it though and since you've probably been wondering, here's the scoop.
Garlic breath? Why does garlic make your breath smell?
Here's the chemistry. When garlic is crushed or damaged in any way a chemical reaction takes place which combines the enzyme alliin with the sulphur compound allinase to create allicin. It is allicin which is the wonder substance which is responsible for the incredible health benefits of garlic and also for its smell and flavour.
When we eat garlic our bodies produce a number of sulphur containing gases that are produced by natural changes in the allicin, the active sulphur compound in garlic. Most of these gases are metabolised by the body except for allyl methyl sulphide (AMS). The liver and intestines can't metabolise AMS so it ends up finding its way out of the body in our breath and other secretions. When we eat raw garlic, the odour comes initially from the mouth, then from the stomach and finally through the lungs and skin. If the garlic is cooked, the smell might be reduced but so will the health benefits since the allicin is changed by cooking.
How to avoid garlic breath
- There are a number of things you can do to avoid offending your neighbours:
- Eat more garlic! This may seem counterintuitive but there is evidence to suggest that the more we eat, the easier it is for our bodies to metabolise it.
- Chew a roasted coffee bean.
- Eat a couple of slices of lemon.
- Brush your teeth and tongue with toothpaste of baking soda.
- Chew parsley, mint or lettuce leaves.
- Drink a wheatgrass drink or a glass of milk. This can also help to neutralise the odours and reduce the burning sensation of raw garlic.
- Eat an apple. Something in apples helps to neutralise the odours.
Spread the word! Make sure all those around you eat more garlic. Not only is it good for them, they are less likely to notice any garlicky smells. Don't let the fear of garlic breath hold back your garlic consumption!! The more you eat, the better your body will be at metabolising garlic's wonderful ingredients so make sure you carry on with your clove a day.