Garlic is an invaluable cooking ingredient.

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It smells amazing when you sauté it.

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And it makes food taste delicious.

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But afterwards, there’s the dreaded garlic breath.

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And it lingers, no matter what you do.

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Here’s why: Chopping or crushing garlic creates four sulfur compounds, which are notoriously stinky—they’re behind such lovely scents as rotting eggs and skunk spray.

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One of those compounds is allyl methyl sulfide, which takes a really long time for the body to break down.

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Once the compound is absorbed by the stomach, it goes into the blood stream and travels all around the body.

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It comes out in your sweat and your urine.

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And it comes out through your lungs and in your saliva.

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It can take up to two days for your body to metabolize the compound and make the smell disappear.monkey1

So enjoy your food—it’s going to be with you for a while!

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(Actually you can eat some foods that will help—watch the Compound Interest video above to find out more).

[via io9.com, NPR]