Everybody knows that onions and garlic cause bad breath – but did you know that some foods can make you stink all over? Body odor and diet are inextricably linked. If you’ve smelled something strange lately, consider the following sources.
1. Cruciferous Vegetables – Plants in the genus Brassica contain sulfur, which smells like rotten eggs. It’s the same stinky aroma that is added to natural gas (which has no smell of its own) in order to grab your attention in case of a leak. When you eat foods that are rich in sulfur, the potent odor can permeate your being – and drive people away. This includes most cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, rutabaga, bok choy, collard greens, turnips, and everyone's favorite green veggie: kale.
In fact, these plants contain a compound that some people taste as bitter, and others don’t taste at all – hence the widespread dislike of this genus of vegetables. But all the veggies in the Brassica genus are super healthy – so don’t give them up. Just parboil them in water with a little sea salt before you eat them to reduce the smelly effects.
2. Garlic & Onions – Our old friends onions and garlic also contain sulfur compounds, which can permeate the body. Don’t believe it? Rub some crushed garlic on the bottom of your foot. You’ll taste it in about half an hour.
3. Alcohol – Hangovers stink, in more ways than one. Your liver works to metabolize the alcohol in your margarita, but it can’t do it alone. Some of the alcohol is released through your respiratory system (stanky breath) and through your sweat glands – it’s also why you sweat like a pig when you’re hungover. You’ll smell like one too, because the alcoholic odor is literally coming out your pores. Take a shower, already – you’ll feel (and smell) better after you do.
4. Red Meat – If you’re a meat-loving male carnivore, you might want to know that some women find the body odor of men who eat red meat less appealing than their vegetarian brethren. In a 2006 study published in Chemical Senses, the body odor of men on a non-meat diet was ranked as more pleasant and attractive than the body odor of meat-eaters. Meat is hard for the body to digest, and the residue from its amino acids mix with bacteria in your perspiration to intensify your B.O. Can get a date? Might want to lay off the steak.
From the Organic Authority Files
5. Asparagus– You probably already know this connection between body odor and diet. Asparagus makes your urine smell bad. But relax – probably no one but you will ever smell it.
6. Fish – Does eating fish make you smell like one? You may have inherited trimethylaminuria – a metabolic disorder that causes you to produce a fishy odor when you eat fish and various high protein foods. If you have unexplained body odor, you may be releasing trimethylamine in your breath, sweat and urine. You can blame your parents for this one.
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Photo by Lloyd Morgan