We live in an age of wonderous convenience. Take lasagna for example. This Italian classic takes an hour and a half to cook from scratch, not counting the sauce, yet you can microwave a plate of it from the grocery store in less time than it takes to read this article.
While processed foods may be tasty and cheap, they can wreak havoc on your body. As one study conducted by BMJ Journal concluded, the increasing dependence on processed food has contributed greatly to the rise in obesity and heart disease in the U.S. And if that weren't enough, processed food may also be more likely to cause bad breath.
In honor of Earth Day, reject manufactured temptations in favor of a more natural diet, full of vegetables, fruit, and unprocessed meats. Your body (and your mouth) will thank you.
Bad breath, or halitosis, is caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth and throat. These bacteria feed off of leftover food, mucus, dead flesh and other tissue present in the oral cavity. As they feed, they release odorous compounds, typically involving dimethyl sulfide, hydrogen sulfide, and methyl mercaptan.
Those names are a bit of a mouthful, so we typically refer to them as "Volatile Sulfur Compounds", which literally means sulfur compounds that easily turn into gas. Smelly, smelly gas.
While dental hygiene plays a vital role in fighting halitosis, the food you eat also matters. A notable example is onions and garlic, which are nutritious but contain sulfur compounds.
However, what you might not know is that sugar is a prime cause of bad breath as well. You're not the only one who finds sugar sweet and energizing, the bacteria in your mouth have a sweet tooth of their own.
Processed foods tend to add sugar, or other artificial sweeteners, as flavor enhancers. The BMJ study found that processed foods contain five times more sugar than unprocessed or minimally processed dishes, which include meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, and milk. They have eight times the sugar of less processed items like breads and cheeses.
Every time you choose cheesy Cheetos or crackers over just cutting off a slice of the real thing, you're treating the odor-causing bacteria in your mouth to a veritable banquet of sugary delights.
Fighting back with a more natural diet and added help
Of course, the obvious method to fight against this sugar-charged bacteria is to avoid sugar-ladened foods whenever possible. SFGate listed a variety of fruits and vegetables with low sugar levels, including berries. This may surprise some people, but sweet berries contain far more fiber than sugar, at least before they're turned into juice. Blueberries have more than strawberries or raspberries, but a half cup of each has far less sugar than even half a can of soda.
Of course, can't go wrong with leafy greens. Every recent healthy diet article has mentioned kale, and with good reason. Just be sure to cook it before you eat it, reducing the sulfur compounds within the vegetable.
Gum and breath mints can also help fight bad breath, provided they don't contain sugar themselves. Our TheraBreath Chewing Gum is created without sugar, loaded instead with oxygen, xylitol and zinc to instantly fight halitosis. The same is true for our lozenges.
While sugar is sweet, it can smell pretty nasty - especially when it is left unchecked in your mouth. Do your mouth (and your body) a favor by limiting sugary indulges and going for a more natural diet. What better time to make the change than the holiday where we celebrate all things organic, Earth Day.