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7 Foods You Didn’t Know Could Cause Body Odor

7 Foods You Didn’t Know Could Cause Body Odor



hen you’ve done all that pertains to hygiene and still have body odor, this can be frustrating. Imagine spending hours under the shower, submerging yourself in perfume, and cleaning up your environment, only to notice an unpleasant body odor that still lingers. This can be a source of embarrassment and self-consciousness.

While it’s common knowledge that poor hygiene causes mouth and body odor, many people don’t realize that the foods we eat can also have a significant impact on how we smell. To state the obvious, the smell of garlic lingering on your breath after lunch and the repugnant smell of raw cheese in the kitchen are good examples. Indeed, foods can cause unpleasant odors, and there’s a science behind it.

Check out 7 common foods that cause mouth and body odor…

#1. Coffee

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It’s true coffee works magic for an agile day at work, but its effect on mouth and saliva production might provoke a reevaluation. When you drink coffee, it often leads to mouth dryness and decreases saliva production. Your body needs your saliva to neutralize bacteria in the mouth that can cause bad breath. In a case where there is less saliva production in the mouth, bacteria will thrive and produce volatile sulfur compounds, which will in turn cause bad breath.

Coffee can also lead to an increase in stomach acid production, which can cause acid reflux. Acid reflux can cause a sour taste in the mouth and increase the number of bacteria in the mouth and digestive system, which can lead to bad breath. They contain compounds like caffeine and tannins that can stick to the tongue, teeth, and gums, providing a surface for bacteria to grow and produce odor.

#2. Asparagus, broccoli, cabbage

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When you eat too much cabbage, broccoli, or asparagus, their sulfuric chemicals make you susceptible to developing body odor. Your digestive system converts these compounds into smaller sulfur-containing molecules like methanethiol, dimethyl sulfide, and dimethyl disulfide when you eat these veggies. These substances are then taken up by your bloodstream, transported to your epidermis and lungs, and then released through breath and perspiration, giving off a pungent odor.

Additionally, the high fiber content of these vegetables may contribute to a rise in bowel movements and gas production. The sulfur molecules that cause the odor can be found in the digestive system’s gas.

#3. Fish and red meat

Foods That Cause Body Odor
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Body odor results from the breakdown of amino acids that occurs during the digestion of fish and red flesh. These proteins are broken down into amino acids, which your body processes. Some amino acids undergo this transformation into volatile organic compounds (VOCs), like trimethylamine (TMA), which have a potent and disagreeable stench.

TMA is created when bacteria in the gut break down choline, an important nutrient found in fish and other animal products, and it is specifically responsible for the fishy odor associated with fish consumption. The amino acids in red flesh can also lead to the production of several VOCs, such as putrescine, cadaverine, and skatole, which can have an unpleasant odor. While fish and red meat won’t necessarily be foods that cause body odor, this can only occur if eaten in moderation.

#4. Alcohol

Foods That Cause Body Odor
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Blame it on the alcohol. Apart from making bad decisions under the influence of alcohol, ethanol can cause body odor due to its effect on the liver and kidneys. When you drink alcohol, your liver works to metabolize it into acetic acid, which can then be used for energy or eliminated from the body. However, when the liver is overwhelmed with alcohol, it cannot metabolize it as quickly, and some of it is released through breath and sweat.

Because alcohol is a diuretic, it can make you dehydrated and increase the production of urine in your system. This can lead to loss of water and electrolytes from the body, leading to a dry mouth and decreased saliva production. Remember what happens with coffee? When there is less saliva in the mouth, bacteria can thrive and produce volatile sulfur compounds, and bad breath will occur.

#5. Onions and garlic

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Onions and garlic are obvious foods that cause body odor due to their sulfur-containing compounds. When you consume these foods, especially in their raw state, your digestive system breaks down the sulfur-containing compounds into smaller molecules, such as allyl methyl sulfide and allyl mercaptan. These compounds are then absorbed into your bloodstream and carried to your lungs and skin, where they can be released through breath and sweat, producing a strong odor on the skin.

#6. Dairy products (milk and cheese)

Foods That Cause Body Odor
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The vegans will give a knowing side eye to this one because they believe they dodged a bullet. Since milk and cheese are rich in protein and fat, they release amino acids and other compounds with a pungent odor.

Additionally, some individuals may not process lactose (a type of sugar found in milk) due to lactose intolerance. Lactose can ferment in the gut and create gas when it is improperly digested, which can lead to bloating and bad breath.

#7. Spicy dishes

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Capsaicin is a compound found in hot meals like curry and chilli peppers that can raise body temperature and make you perspire. The body naturally cools itself off by sweating, but when perspiration and bacteria on the skin combine, it can also cause the body an unpleasant smell.

Featured image: Chevanon Photography/Pexels

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