Counter to most vampire lore, there is no magic to the pungent odor of garlic. The stench is the result of four major sulfur-containing compounds, which, when ingested, move into the bloodstream and then out through the lungs and sweat glands. But that doesn’t make it any less repellent. In April, food scientists at Ohio State University published a paper exploring the best foods and beverages to neutralize garlic’s noxious effect. We drew a few practical conclusions:
EAT AN APPLE
Fruits that brown when exposed to air contain an oxidating enzyme. This compound also sets off a chemical chain reaction that deodorizes offending sulfides.
SIP SOME GREEN TEA
It’s loaded with plant chemicals known as polyphenols, which work through a similar mechanism to neutralize all four sulfide compounds.
SWILL A LITTLE LEMON JUICE
Acidic beverages with a pH below 3.6 destroy the enzyme alliinase, which activates when garlic is crushed and enhances the smelly sulfuric properties.
This article originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of Popular Science.