How to Beat Garlic Breath

We all love garlic, but dreaded garlic breath? Not so much! We’re showing you how to combat it so you can enjoy all these amazing garlic recipes we’re delivering.

We all love garlic, but dreaded garlic breath? Not so much! We're showing you how to combat it so you can enjoy all these amazing garlic recipes we're delivering.

Garlic is amazing, I think that’s something a lot of you will agree with me on. However, along with it being a pain to peel unless you have our tips for the best way to peel garlic, the after effects of this delicious ingredient can sometimes be less desirable.

We’ve all been there. We’re on a nice date at an Italian restaurant. Without thinking, we order a garlicky meal and spend the remainder of the evening trying to turn our heads lest we offend our significant other with heinous garlic breath. Don’t worry friends, you’re not alone!

Garlic has some awesome health benefits that have nothing to do with its odorous nature. It can improve cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, prevent diseases and even help fight blood clots. (I maintain the myth of using garlic to ward off vampires is just a trick by the vampires to thin our blood out. Nice try, Dracula!)

So, if you want to enjoy the delicious taste of garlic and take advantage of these amazing benefits, does that mean you’re doomed to wander the Earth not breathing in anyone’s direction? Not at all.

There are a number of surefire methods that you can use to keep your breath smelling fresh while enjoying the taste of garlic. What are they? Read on to find out.

Why Does Garlic Cause Bad Breath?

Before we talk about how to cure garlic breath, we should first discuss how it happens. This is going to get a little technical, so pardon me while I balance these spectacles upon my nose…

Garlic in its natural state has no smell. But when you chop into it, an enzyme called allinase is released. This converts the normally odorless molecules of allin into sulfurous allicin molecules. Allicin is pretty unstable, so it’s going to break down fairly quickly. The bad news about that is it breaks down into a slew of other sulfurous compounds which tend to linger through the air in your mouth. That’s what leads to garlic breath.

Within a few hours the majority of these compounds will be metabolized by the body. However, one nasty little slice of stink called allyl methyl hangs on for a longer period of time and can stay in the body for up to two days. While in the stomach it can slip into your bloodstream where it gets circulated to your lungs and creates garlic breath all over again.

It can also be excreted through your sweat, which is why people who eat a lot of garlic sometimes smell like they’re surrounded by a cloud of it.

Fighting Garlic Breath

Now that we understand the enemy, it’s time to start fighting back. Thankfully, there are a number of foods, ingredients and beverages that you can use to stop garlic breath in its tracks.

Lemon Juice

There’s acid in lemon juice that can neutralize allinase. (For those of you who skipped the previous section, that’s the smelly enzyme produced when you crush or chop garlic). Consider adding a bit of lemon juice in with some of your favorite garlic recipes to help keep your breath fresh.  

Raw Apples

Eating raw apples is a great way to fight back in the war against garlic breath. You know how when you cut an apple it starts to turn brown? That’s because of compounds called polyphenols, which act as a natural deodorant. They help neutralize the sulphides which contribute to nasty smelling garlic breath.

Parsley and Basil

This is one of the easiest garlic breath deterrents to mix in with your recipes. These leaves also contain polyphenols, but for maximum effect they should be eaten in the same meal as the garlic. They don’t necessarily have to be in the same dish, but they should be eaten together.

Spinach

Polyphenols to the rescue once again. Spinach is a great source of polyphenols and can be mixed with garlic to break down sulfur compounds. This is another deterrent that’s super easy to have alongside garlic. Just make yourself a side salad. It’s beneficial to your breath and good for you.

Milk

Drinking milk can actually help keep your breath clear of garlic if you drink it before or during a meal. It’s not only the water present within the milk washing your mouth out, but the fat contained within that helps control your breath. Because of that, whole milk is the most effective.

Green Tea

This is another consumable that contains polyphenols, aka the kryptonite of garlic breath. Again, this should be consumed at the same time as the garlic for maximum neutralizing effects, and is much easier than milk to pair with a major meal.

In Conclusion

No one likes garlic breath, so thankfully there are a number of ways outside of breath mints that you can fight back naturally. What do you do to preserve your breath when you eat garlic? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know.

Kevin Kessler

Kevin J. Kessler is an experienced professional writer and published author living in Orlando, Florida. With a lifelong passion for food, this sandwich loving Italian boy enjoys exploring unanswered questions about the foods we all know and love so well. Kevin’s foodie lifestyle was born through his love of Walt Disney World and the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. A lover of stories, he enjoys trying new dishes from all over the world and learning everything there is to know about where food comes from, how its prepared, and what variations on it exist.