If you thought that the only thing your diet could make smelly was your breath, then it’s time to do some fact-checking. Apart from bad breath, certain foods and drinks can cause the smell of your sweat to change, giving rise to body odor.
Every body has its own unique and natural scent, but generally, you don’t stink unless you have sweated a lot and it got stuck to your clothes. Normally, one shouldn’t be smelling strongly at all, unless it has something to do with their diet.
There are certain foods and drinks, even healthy ones, that cause body odour, but this doesn’t mean you should lay off them completely. In fact, you may be missing out on some essential nutrients if you do that. But, eating these foods in excess quantities can make the foul-smelling compounds in them get excreted through your sweat glands.
These compounds, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), can contribute to pungent-smelling sweat. It’s best to keep an eye out on what and how much of it you’re eating to avoid bad breath, body odour and even excessively foul-smelling poop.
5 foods and drinks that affect body odour
Even though there’s not enough scientific evidence to support certain foods as the worst offenders, we have enough anecdotal evidence to determine the following foods as the likely culprits of body odour:
- Cruciferous vegetables - If you are fond of vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, radish and other such cruciferous vegetables, they can probably add to your body odour along with smelly flatulence and bad breath. The high fibre content in these vegetables make them harder for your body to digest, and thus, as they sit in your colon, the bacteria react with them and produce gas. The high sulphur content in these foods break down into hydrogen sulphide and make both your flatulence and sweat smell pungent. But, these foods are extremely healthy and are even known to prevent some forms of cancer. So, enjoy them to a limit and stay healthy and more or less odour free.
- Red meat - Red meat is also rich in sulphur, and thus cause body odour and pungent flatulence. The high content of fatty acids in red meat makes its way into your sweat, giving your body a foul odour. In fact, there was a study published in the journal Chemical Senses, which found that meat-eaters had smellier underarms than vegetarians.
- Spicy foods - Spices are essentially warmer foods that can make you sweat more. Foods like cumin, clove, cinnamon, etc can make you sweat more than usual and thus, increase your body odour. These spices are healthy when taken in smaller amounts, so you can sometimes add them to your food to get a well-balanced diet while avoiding excessive intake.
- Alcohol - Alcohol is identified by the body as a toxin, which is why it is broken down into acetic acid. Since the body cannot metabolize alcohol, it is oxidized through the various pathways, breaking the toxins further down into carbon dioxide, diacetic acid and water. As these compounds exit the body through sweat, urine and breath, you can start to smell. Further, the acidic sweat is metabolized by your skin bacteria, leaving you with a signature alcoholic scent.
Allium vegetables - Onions, garlic, chives and leeks are among the common allium vegetables which are rich in sulphur. The sulphur-containing compounds in them can leach through the skin pores, urine and bloodstream, giving you bad breath and an unattractive body odor. But, these foods are also healthy in moderate amounts, which is why you should not kick them out of your diet.
So, what can you do?
The best way to get rid of bad breath is by popping a mint or using mouth wash to eliminate the smell. And, as for body odor, the trick is to try natural deodorants that are free from aluminum and triclosan. You do not want to stop your body from producing sweat in an attempt to smell lesser, because sweat is actually very healthy for your body.
You can try the Carmesi Natural Deodorant Roll-On, which comes in three refreshing scents. They are made with mostly natural ingredients and are completely free from aluminum and triclosan, which are harmful to your body.
Lastly, minimize the intake of the foods and drinks that induce body odor but do not eliminate most of them completely from your diet. Anything taken in moderation is healthy, and hey, you always have the option of skipping them out before important occasions!