Drinking a glass of milk can stop garlic breath
- 31 August 2010
- From the section Health
If you are worried about garlic breath, drink a glass of milk, say scientists who claim it can stop the lingering odour.
In tests with raw and cooked cloves, milk "significantly reduced" levels of the sulphur compounds that give garlic its flavour and pungent smell.
The authors told the Journal of Food Science it is the water and fat in milk that deodorises the breath.
For optimum effect, sip the milk as you eat the garlic, they say.
Mixing milk with garlic in the mouth before swallowing had a higher odour neutralising effect than drinking milk after eating the garlic in the trial.
And full-fat milk provided better results than skimmed milk or just water, according to breath samples taken from a volunteer.
One of the compounds milk counteracts is allyl methyl sulphide or AMS.
This cannot be broken down in the gut during digestion, and so it is released from the body in the breath and sweat.
Although garlic is good for you - containing several vitamins and minerals - once eaten, it can cause bad breath and body odour lasting hours or even days.
Plain water, and some foods, such as mushrooms and basil, may also help neutralise garlic smells, the study authors Sheryl Barringer and Areerat Hansanugrum say.
But it is the mixture of fat and water together that works best, the Ohio State University team say.
"The results suggest that drinking beverages or foods with higher water and/or fat content such as milk may help reduce the malodorous odour in breath after consumption of garlic and mask the garlic flavour during eating," they say.