Is food the new deodorant? In a way, yes! The quality of your diet can make you smell great, according to a 2017 study. This gives you yet another reason to be mindful of what you eat. Generally, body odor has several factors. The combination of sweat and bacteria on your skin produces a smell. Usually, this is a bit stinky, especially if you’re a heavy sweater.
Good hygiene and regular bathing will control this odor.1 But it doesn’t stop at the skin. Your body odor is affected by the immune system’s genes, explaining why certain diseases make people smell. In fact, this is applicable to some animals, as well. Several species use body odor to avoid sick mates. Sweat says a lot about your health status, so it’s no surprise that nutritious food produces more pleasant sweat. It “cleans” you from the inside out.
How Are Diet And Sweat Related?
The 2017 study, which was published in the journal evolution & human behavior, took place in Sydney, Australia. Researchers took sweat samples and diet information from male participants. Females then rated the attractiveness of the samples. Men and women held these roles for a good reason. Females, who have a higher reproductive drive, judge attractiveness based on odor.
They’re also simply better at smelling scents. Meanwhile, men tend to sweat more than women. Their sweat is also smellier. At the end of the study, ratings were compared to the males’ self-reported diets. Researchers found that the following foods are linked to more pleasant smelling sweat. This was defined as floral, fruity, sweet, and medicinal.
Foods That Have A Deodorizing Effect
1. Fruits Produce Medicinal Odors
As expected, high fruit intake was linked to a fruity smell. It also produced floral, sweet, and medicinal odors. Less oily and meaty qualities were reported.
2. Vegetables Produce Pleasant Smelling Sweat
Veggies also produced more pleasant smelling sweat. As an added bonus, it increased carotenoid intake, which yellowed the skin. This was actually associated with increased facial attractiveness.
3. Meat’s Odor Produces Less Smelling Sweat
Meat intake was linked to more pleasant, less intense smelling sweat. The odor was reported to be less chemical.2 However, these findings contradict a 2006 study that linked better odor to non-meat eaters.3 More specific research is needed. Regardless, meat should always be eaten with health in mind. Opt for lean protein sources like skinless chicken and fish.
4. Fat Produces Less Fatty Odors
Oils and fats were associated to floral, fruit, and sweet smells. Interestingly, less fatty and oily odors were reported. Does this mean you should top your salad with greasy food? Definitely not. The study didn’t specify what type of fats were involved. Until more research is done, stick to healthy fats like omega-3’s.
5. Eggs Produce A Sulfuric Odor
Eggs are known for their sulfuric odor. Luckily, they don’t have the same effect on the sweat and body scents. Positive smells, which were described as less chemical and burnt, were associated with eggs.
6. Tofu Produces A Less Chemical And Burnt Odor
Like eggs, tofu was linked to less chemical and burnt odors. Sweat was also reported to smell less like chemicals. Additionally, tofu also increased carotenoids, a factor of yellower skin.4
7. Garlic Produces A Less Intense Odor
This one might be hard to believe. While garlic does cause bad breath, it can improve body odor, according to a separate study in the journal Appetite. Researchers found that it increases attractiveness and decreases intensity. Considering garlic’s antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, this actually makes sense.
The health-boosting effects results in better sweat.5 As for the smelly sweat? There was a strong relationship with high carbohydrate and seafood intake. These odors were described as more meaty, oily, and intense.6
Despite these findings, it’s important to eat a well-rounded diet. Don’t be afraid of healthy carbs like whole grains. Seafood is also a great source of lean protein, so don’t shy away.
Both men and women can benefit from this information. Between healthy eating and personal hygiene, you’ll smell great.
|↑1||Sweat. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑2, ↑4, ↑6||Zuniga, Andrea, Richard J. Stevenson, Mehmut K. Mahmut, and Ian D. Stephen. “Diet quality and the attractiveness of male body odor.” Evolution and Human Behavior 38, no. 1 (2017): 136-143.|
|↑3||Havlicek, Jan, and Pavlina Lenochova. “The effect of meat consumption on body odor attractiveness.” Chemical senses 31, no. 8 (2006): 747-752.|
|↑5||Fialová, Jitka, S. Craig Roberts, and Jan Havlíček. “Consumption of garlic positively affects hedonic perception of axillary body odour.” Appetite 97 (2016): 8-15.|