What To Drink With Garlic-Heavy Dishes To Keep Bad Breath At Bay

Few can resist the allure of garlic. The tiny clove can transform a simple stick of butter into an entirely different spread, make a boring little veggie seem a whole lot more appetizing. It can also transform a good bowl of pasta into a great one. It's hard to imagine a meal that garlic wouldn't automatically make better, which may be why we tend to have a loose hand when it comes to adding garlic to food (two cloves are always better than one, after all).

As much as your stomach and taste buds love the little allium, those with the misfortune of sitting around you may have a different story to tell. Garlic's pungent aroma can waft from one's breath for as long as 24 hours after eating it, and it's quite an unpleasant scent to carry. Bad breath is one thing, but garlic breath is an entirely different matter.

Fret not, however. Just as the world found a solution to garlic hands years ago thanks to stainless steel soap bars, researchers at the Ohio State University have found a remedy for garlic breath. The antidote is simple: A cup of green tea will neutralize garlic breath, especially if you drink it along with the garlicky meal in question.

Why you get garlic breath in the first place

It's hard to fathom where the severity of garlic's aroma on your breath comes from, especially because a bulb of garlic doesn't have as strong an odor in itself. In reality, garlic's aroma comes when the alliin present in it — which otherwise has no smell of its own — converts into allicin, the principal compound that gives garlic its distinct fragrance.

Whole garlic doesn't inherently have allicin. It's only when the enzyme alliinase is released when chopping, crushing, or slicing garlic that the odorless alliin turns into the fragrant allicin. The allicin eventually leads to other chemicals that are responsible for the unpleasant garlic breath that lingers in the mouth, some of which remain in your system for hours, traveling up, down, and finally out of your body in the form of bad breath, sweat, and urine.

Essentially then, bad breath is inevitable the second you peel a clove of garlic and start prepping it, causing damage to the allium's tissue. There isn't much you can do to prevent garlic's aroma. You can, however, neutralize its odor to keep bad breath at bay.

Green tea is the antidote for garlic breath

Bad breath has often just been the price to pay for the deliciousness that comes with garlic. But researchers at the Ohio State University say that you don't always have to. According to them, the antioxidant called polyphenol that is present in large quantities in green tea is just what you need to mask the bad breath that garlic leaves in your mouth. Some studies suggest that green tea's deodorizing properties may be a far more effective solution for bad breath than mints and chewing gums.

Researchers also found that lemon juice and raw apples are equally excellent antidotes, but there's a catch. For the most effective solution, it's best to use the remedy along right when you're eating the garlic. So unless you want to munch on an apple after every spoon of pasta or swallow a swig of lemon juice after every bite of garlic bread, a simple cup of green tea is the best solution. 

Simply sip on some hot green tea as you eat your garlicky meal to mask the bad breath and keep it at bay.