No one wants to smell bad, but your diet can really have an impact on how you smell, whether it’s in your sweat, on your breath, or causing gas. Any of those issues can be pretty embarrassing. Here’s a list of what foods to avoid if you want to smell your best.
Those high-protein diets can leave you a little smelly if you’re replacing most of your carbs with meats, eggs, or protein powders. When you cut out a lot of veggies, fruits, legumes, and grains and eat a ton of protein to stay full, your body could go into ketosis mode to turn fat instead of carbs into fuel for your brain. Ketones, a byproduct of ketosis, show up on your breath and smell not-so-fresh (more like sour fruit).
This doesn’t have to be an official type of “diet,” by the way, and eating a lot of protein in lieu of most other things could be done without even thinking about it (so remember to stay mindful of what you’re consuming throughout the day!). This way of eating could be a part of the Standard American Diet—lots of animal products and not much else.
Red meat in particular can keep you from smelling your best. In a study published in the journal Chemical Senses back in 2006, 17 males were put on a meat or non-meat diet for two weeks. Their sweat from the last day of the diet was collected, then 30 women (not on birth control pills) ranked their scents based on pleasantness, attractiveness, intensity, and masculinity. The study was repeated with the men on the opposite diet of the one they had before, and their odors were ranked again. The scent of the men who hadn’t eaten meat was ranked more pleasant and attractive, plus it was less intense.
Dishes Featuring Lots of Spices like Curry and Cumin
We love spices for their flavor and health benefits and would never recommend staying away from them all the time. However, it’s important to be aware of the way some of them, like curry and cumin, can affect your scent so you can plan your grocery trip and meals for the week accordingly. If you have a date, a meeting, or an interview coming up, you probably don’t want to eat curry the day before, for example. It comes through in your sweat (and if you’re especially nervous, you may be doing more of that!) and may be noticeable to the people around you.
Processed Foods and Junk Foods
Your body can’t digest processed foods and junk foods well because they’re not in their natural form. That means a lot of it may sit around in your body and the resulting smells of the rotting food comes through your pores. When you don’t get enough fiber (likely, on a diet of processed foods) and the food can’t move out of your digestive system, toxins may be released through your skin.
Junk foods also lack chlorophyll, which can act as a sort of internal natural deodorant, neutralizing odors that could otherwise make their way out through your skin or breath.
Like the junk food mentioned above, fried foods can also make you smell. Your body can’t digest them properly, so they may sit around in your digestive tract. They can also give you gas, which presents another smelly (and potentially embarrassing) problem.
Refined sugars may be all wrapped up with those junk foods we mentioned above, but they pose another threat, too. They feed the bacteria that cause bad breath, and if you have candida, the sugar will also feed the yeast in your gut and lead to gas. If you do have candida, you should eliminate all forms of sugar, including honey and agave (though you should never consume agave no matter what).
Dairy is a major culprit behind a lot of uncomfortable or even embarrassing things, and body odor is one of them. It, too, is difficult for the body to break down, and in the process of trying, it breaks down into sulfurous compounds that make your breath smell, well, like sulfur.
For some, it may also lead to gas or even constipation, which means smelly toxins could begin coming through your skin when they can’t move out of your body through regular elimination.
Smell Good Naturally
Now that you know what foods to avoid if you want to smell your best, what about the things you can do to smell good?
- A clean diet helps create a clean body, as does adequate hydration.
- Probiotics will give you more beneficial gut flora that make digestion easier (so food’s less likely to hang around in there and make you smell bad).
- You can also try a natural deodorant (you can even make one yourself!)
- Munching on parsley or mint will help with bad breath without the nasty side effects of chewing gum. For more parsley tips (using it in recipes or growing your own), visit Your Organic Gardening Blog.