Some Foods Can Make You Smell - 10 of the Worst Offenders

Have you ever noticed that eating seafood makes your urine smell fishy, or that drinking coffee affects your breath? You’re not imagining it! Body odor is one of those topics we’re often hesitant to discuss with our doctor, not to mention the other people in our lives. After all, having smelly feet or bad breath is not the most pleasant topic of conversation.
Nevertheless, it’s an important issue to notice and address, as body odor could be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. That said, an increase in body odor could also be no cause for concern, as it turns out that the foods a person eats greatly influences how they smell. In this article, we list 10 foods known to cause body odor - for you to stop worrying about any suspicious smells and avoid these foods in social situations if you so wish.

1. Asparagus

Foods Known to Cause Body Odor Asparagus
The unfortunate results of eating asparagus appear not through bad breath, they show up much later, if you catch our drift. The healthy side dish makes the urine of some unlucky people smell terrible - an odor often compared to rotten cabbage.
Surprisingly, a lot of studies on the subject were conducted, and they made a curious observation: not everyone can smell the foul odor and even those who produce it sometimes can’t smell it, so you could have a terrible case of BO and not even suspect it.
The culprit behind the bad smell is mercaptan, a sulfur compound that is metabolized and filtered out of the body through the kidneys. The good news is that there are no health repercussions associated with asparagus urine, but there is also no way to prevent it, so just avoid asparagus in a restaurant or a public outing, if you’re worried about the bad smell.

2. Chewing gum

Foods Known to Cause Body Odor Chewing gum
Who would have thought that something specifically sold to reduce bad smells could actually be contributing to BO? But it’s true. While gum is freshening up your breath, excessive chewing also makes you swallow a lot of air. As a result, excess gas starts building up in the stomach, making you gassy and bloated. So, it’s best to avoid chewing gum altogether, opting for sugar-free mints to keep your breath fresh, which you obviously don’t need to chew.

3. Cruciferous vegetables

Foods Known to Cause Body Odor Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale are among the healthiest foods out there, so by no means stop eating them. That said, fresh cruciferous veggies are all quite rich in sulfuric compounds that are actually beneficial for the body, but they kind of smell like rotten eggs when digested. These pungent sulfuric compounds can make your breath, gas, and even your sweat smell unpleasant.
Luckily, there ARE a few ways to reduce these unpleasant smells. Boiling the veggies for a few minutes will remove some of these compounds, for example. Alternatively, you can mask the smell and reduce the bloating caused by cruciferous vegetables with the help of herbs and spices, such as coriander, caraway seeds, or turmeric.

4. Coffee

Foods Known to Cause Body Odor Coffee
Coffee breath is not a new concept for most coffee drinkers, but you may have not known that coffee also makes you sweat more. This excessive sweating caused by coffee is part of the sympathetic nervous system’s response to the beverage, and particularly caffeine. Caffeine stimulates the part of our nervous system responsible for alertness and activity, part of which is the activation of sweat glands.
As for the bad breath, it occurs because coffee dries out the mouth and promotes the growth of bacteria in the mouth, which can lead to bad breath.

5. Fish

Foods Known to Cause Body Odor Fish
If you ever thought you were crazy for thinking that the tuna sandwich you had a few hours ago made your urine smell like fish, we’re here to tell you that your senses didn’t deceive you. As is the case with asparagus, not everyone’s body produces a fishy smell after eating seafood and fish, but many people do produce it without ever realizing the culprit behind the BO.
In fact, this is common that there is an official metabolic disorder that describes it. It’s called trimethylaminuria and it’s the inability of one’s body to metabolize trimethylamine that results in the patient’s sweat, urine, and breath giving off a strong fishy odor after they eat fish or other protein-rich foods.

6. Garlic

Foods Known to Cause Body Odor
You don’t need to be a nutrition expert to know that eating garlic can make your breath smelly. However, bad breath is only half of the problem, as the pungent smell of garlic can also show itself through sweat. The chemical responsible for the BO is called allicin, and it’s another sulfuric compound that is digested poorly and can seep out through the sweat glands. The bad news? Other allium veggies such as onions, shallots, leeks, and chives also have a similar but weaker effect.

7. Curry powder

Foods Known to Cause Body Odor Curry
Potent and pronounced spices like curry, cumin, and even spicy foods can alter your body’s natural smell for days, as they find their way into your pores and sweat glands. So, if you don’t want to smell like chicken tikka masala, maybe choose a different dish. In fact, you can try some naturally deodorizing foods like cardamom and ginger, as well as those we mentioned in our previous article titled Freshen Up Your Breath Naturally With These Yummy Foods.

8. Alcohol

Foods Known to Cause Body Odor Alcohol
If you ever had a hangover and thought you could smell the booze all over, you wouldn’t be wrong. This is because our kidneys aren’t the only way our body is trying to get rid of the alcohol - some of it seeps out through the sweat glands, too, so don’t be surprised if you end up smelling odd after having one too many drinks. While there is no solution for this issue and you have to just wait out for your body to cleanse itself, keeping hydrated helps speed up that process.

9. Beets

Foods Known to Cause Body Odor Beets
“Wait, aren’t beets supposed to be super healthy for you?” you may ask. And they most certainly are, just like many other items on this list. However, beets are also quite rich in methyl, which our bodies digest into trimethylamine, the same smelly compound people with trimethylaminuria can’t process in fish. The result is as expected - eating beets can make you smell fishy, literally.

10. Red meat

Foods Known to Cause Body Odor Red meat
Is red meat really making you smell worse? The answer is ‘yes’ if you trust the results of a 2006 study in which women were asked to rate the perspiration samples of vegetarian men and those of meat-eaters. Unanimously, the women rated the samples of meat-eaters as the least appealing. Why could this be the case? The researchers think that it has to do with red meat being harder to digest. So there you go, here’s one more reason to reduce the amount of red meat in your diet.
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