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What renders garlic its pungent smell?

Have you wondered why do we end up with a bad breath after eating food that had garlic in it? In fact, even our burps emit a foul smell after we consume garlic in our food. Why is it that in spite of using so much of deodorant our body emits a foul smell especially when we consume garlic! Let us find out the reason...

Everyday Chemistry - What renders garlic its pungent smell?

Everyone relishes garlic bread but even one bite later you realize that not just your mouth but even your sweat smells funny! The culprit is none other than our very own Mr. Garlic! Let us find out why this happens...

The cause of foul smell

Garlic is made up of sulphuric compoundsthat render the pungent smell to it. Also, when we put garlic in our mouth, it encourages the growth of certain bacteria that is already present in our mouth. This leads to bad breath.

Garlic contains allyl methyl sulphide, which is the reason for the pungent smell. It passes into our blood stream during the digestion process. Once it is in our body, it gets to the pores of our skin and when we sweat, it gets expelled and causes the sweat to smell. The allyl methyl sulphide also enters our lungs and contaminates the air inside. As we breathe, the air enters our lungs, gets contaminated and comes out as we exhale. This is why our breath smells.

The effect of this chemical lasts for few hours but the bad breath and body odour will continue till it is completely thrown out of our system by way of sweat or excreta.

How to get rid of the smell

  • Brush your teeth and wash your mouth with a good mouthwash to kill the triggered bacteria that adds to the foul smell.
  • Have a good shower to wash off the stinky sweat.
  • Dab your skin with some good smelling powder or deodorant to keep the smell away.
  • Research has shown that drinking milk helps bring down the effect of garlic in our blood stream and thus reduces the odour from reaching the lungs.
  • Another way to reduce the effect of garlic is to have parsley and sprigs. This is the reason why parsley and sprigs are combined with garlic in many of the exotic food preparations.

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, it is always better to stay away from garlic if you do not wish to smell "garlicky". Or else the next time, you decide to have anything garlicky, be prepared to drink milk to bring down the effect of the same.

Tags :     Garlic     Garlic bread     Foul     Smell     Sulphuric Compounds     Pungent     Allyl Methyl Sulphide    


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