5 Fresh Ways to Deal with Garlic Breath

Garlic's health benefits are many, including fighting cancer and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, but many people pass because of the garlic-breath effects. These natural remedies ought to help out.

By Amy Paturel from Reader's Digest | June 2013
Serge Bloch

1. Eat the Garnish

“Sulfur compounds in garlic are released not only in the mouth, but also in the gut, from which they seep into the lungs and skin,” says Victor Sierpina, MD, professor of family and integrative medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. This makes freshening garlic breath more complex than merely cleansing the mouth. But start there. It’s handy that chefs decorate plates with parsley: Plant chemicals like chlorophyll and polyphenols bind to sulfur compounds in garlic and help neutralize odor. Basil, thyme, cilantro, mint, and dill have similar effects.


2. Sip Milk

Milk effectively reduces garlic breath if you drink it before or during a meal, a 2010 Journal of Food Science study suggests. “The water [in the milk] acts like a mouth rinse, and the fat neutralizes sulfur,” says Kantha Shelke, PhD, spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists. That’s why whole milk is more effective than skim.


3. Drink Green Tea

Can’t stomach milk with stir-fry? Polyphenol-rich green tea may dull garlic stench too.


4. Add Mushrooms to Your Tomato Sauce

Preliminary research suggests that the polyphenols in mushrooms work faster than any other compound to counteract garlic’s effects on breath, says Shelke.


5. Have Fruit for Dessert

Natural enzymes in apples, berries, pineapple, and kiwis break down sulfur compounds.

More: 13 Surprising Benefits of Garlic »

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