Something to Kale About: How Leafy Greens Fight Bad Breath

leafy greens fight bad breath

We all know that leafy greens are good for us. They detox our system, provide us with essential nutrients, and work wonders on our vital organs. Leafy greens are the kid on the playground that you always want on your kickball team: they get the job done. It’s a good idea to throw some on your plate, whenever possible.

In fact, eating leafy greens can even help your social life…

Bad breath is notorious for leaving a less-than-great impression on the people you’re talking with. It lurks invisibly from your mouth and imposes itself into the nostrils of your companions. Bad breath has a tendency to speak without words, and what it says isn’t always nice. Fortunately, leafy greens got your back.

Why do leafy greens fight bad breath?

Upping the greens in your diet can help your breath in four unique ways.

1. Digestion

“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates

When your digestive tract is out of sync, it affects every part of your body – including your mouth (and by proxy: your breath). Bad breath can be a symptom of acid reflux tendency,  bronchitis, digestive tract disorder, gingivitis, and various other periodontal issues. Sickness in the bowels, leads to sickness everywhere else.

Your gut is responsible for the majority of your immune system, and when that takes a dive, it’s like a gaping hole in the walls of your body’s defense. Boost the immune system, and your body will have a better chance at fighting off diseases of all kind. If you haven’t heard, leafy greens are fantastic for your immune system. Their vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins, and fiber provide amazing building blocks for your body’s natural defense system.

2. Detox

That fabulous fiber in leafy greens is essential for eliminating toxins that invade our system on a daily basis.

Have you ever noticed a yellow-ish film on your tongue? That is one way your body attempts to get rid of excess toxins. The problem? It smells awful. If you want to see for yourself, wake up one morning and before eating or drinking anything, take a spoon and scrape off that film. Let the spoon sit for a few minutes, then come back and take a whiff. It won’t be pleasant.

This film often accounts for 70-80% of the bacteria and toxins that cause bad breath. Leafy greens aid in proper elimination, while also binding to toxins and removing them from your system. The less toxicity in your body, the less film on your tongue, and the better your breath will smell.


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3. Environment

Your mouth – and your whole body for that matter – is a diverse community of microorganisms. Your cells aren’t the only ones at the party. They are joined by trillions of bacteria, some helpful and some malicious.

What’s interesting is that the environment (a.k.a. the condition of your mouth) has a direct influence on the kind of bacteria that flourishes. You see, bad bacteria prefers an acidic environment. Sugar, alcohol, and white flour all create a rather acidic environment where harmful bacteria can thrive.

On the other hand, vegetables – and in particular, leafy greens – do the opposite: they shift the environment toward alkalinity. And when your mouth is alkaline, there is more oxygen present. The bad bacteria despise oxygen. They want a dry, acidic mouth in order to multiply and conquer. (It’s also why alcohol-based mouthwashes can actually make your breath worse over time, by drying out your mouth.)

By saying “yes” to the leafy greens and “no” to excess sugar, you support your mouth with the healthy, alkaline environment that will keep bad breath at bay.

4. Chlorophyll

Remember learning about photosynthesis in high school? You might recall a useful green pigment known as “chlorophyll” which helps the plant absorb light, and convert it into energy. Turns out, it’s also great for the health of human beings. You, me, your aunt Carol – we all benefit from adding more chlorophyll to our diets. It does a lot for us, but today we’re focusing on exhaling with confidence.

Chlorophyll is useful in the fight against foul breath because it neutralizes unwanted smells. It’s a “natural deodorizer” of sorts. In fact, it’s also useful in fighting body odor. Since the 1950’s, medical professionals such as Dr. Franklin Howard Westcott have been using chlorophyll (both internally and externally) to treat bad breath and body odor in their patients.

It’s hard to deny: chlorophyll is great for you (and your breath). And leafy greens are chock-full of it.

“Lettuce Wrap” Things Up

Leafy greens fight bad breath by improving your digestion, eliminating toxins, alkalizing your mouth, and naturally neutralizing unwanted odors. Not only do leafy greens make you feel like a spinach-pumped Popeye, but they also freshen your breath – one bite at a time.

Put it in action: next time you’re eating out, consider enjoying a fresh salad over a heavy bowl of pasta. Or when you’re shopping for groceries, pick up one or two extra servings of greens and find a way to work them into a meal.

How Do You Go Green?

Let us know in the comments: what’s your favorite way to get in your greens? Crisp salad? Sautéed in coconut oil and seasonings? Got a favorite recipe? We want to hear about it!

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