Here's Why Garlic Gives You Bad Breath

Garlic is known for bringing flavor to certain dishes, especially savory ones. Along with adding a distinct taste to recipes, it also boasts plenty of health benefits. Garlic may help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and it can also help fight the common cold (via Healthline). Furthermore, the antioxidant qualities of garlic could help prevent dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. It may even help improve the quality of your workouts and help you recover quicker from exercise. Moreover, adding garlic to your diet may also help detoxify your body of heavy metals. The benefits of garlic come from the sulfur compounds that are released when it is crushed or chewed.

From a health standpoint, there is no reason to exclude garlic from your diet. However, there is at least one serious drawback to eating garlic, especially if you do so right before you attend a social event: It can give you bad breath.

The culprit is tiny molecules

The sulfur compounds released when garlic is crushed include allyl methyl sulfide (AMS), per Live Science. This molecule is small enough to be able to move right through the lining of your stomach and straight to your bloodstream. As your blood moves through your lungs, AMS permeates the oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood. If you have AMS in your blood when you exhale, you will release it into the air, thus releasing a garlic scent. This effect can last up to 24 hours.

There are ways to combat garlic breath, and they can work as fast as 30 minutes. A study published in the Journal of Food Science showed that chewing raw mint leaves reduced the odor of garlic breath the most. Raw lettuce and apples were also effective, albeit to a lesser extent. Apparently, the enzymes in the raw foods destroy the odors that garlic leaves in the mouth. So, now you can eat garlic with confidence — as long as you have some mint nearby.