Body odor or bromhidrosis is the unpleasant smell that can occur when you sweat. The sweat itself doesn’t smell. The unpleasant odor is produced by bacteria on the skin that break down the sweat into acids.
Your genes also drive the smell you naturally emit from oil and sweat glands when you are at rest, physically active or exercising. We each have a distinct combination of bacteria, about 1,000 types live in human sweat glands, and therefore, our own unique smell. Age also might impact the way we develop body odor.
Along with genes and age, what we eat can have a major impact on our scent, at least temporarily. While most of us understand that consuming garlic or onions will affect our breath, we might not realize that such foods as broccoli and red meat can significantly raise the volume on body odor. EHC brings out a list of foods or diet regimens known to impact your body odor.
Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower
These cruciferous vegetables contain sulfur, which your body breaks down into compounds that are actually similar to those responsible for the smell of rancid butter. These compounds are absorbed into the body and secreted in sweat. Your body odor can change for the worse as early as one hour after consuming these vegetables. The scent associated with one serving should dissipate within six hours. But cruciferous vegetables are very healthy and you shouldn’t avoid them based on a little body odor. To minimize the effect, parboil these vegetables in water seasoned with a pinch of sea salt. This process can remove much of the odor-producing chemicals while retaining the foods’ nutrients.
The amino acids in red meat leave a residue in your intestines during digestion. Intestinal enzymes break down that residue, which then mixes with bacteria on your skin during perspiration and intensifies your odor. It’s an effect that’s hard to avoid. Since meat is harder to digest than other foods, your body has to work harder to process it. As a result, your sweat glands may respond by secreting more perspiration. Depending on your personal body chemistry, the change in the scent of your sweat brought on by meat consumption can be minimal or can linger for a few hours up to as long as two weeks.
We all know that omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish oil, are essential for brain function and play a key role in reducing one’s risk of heart disease. But choline, a member of the B-complex vitamin family that is found amply in fish like tuna and salmon, delivers a natural fishy smell. Some people may secrete choline in their sweat for up to a day after eating a serving of fish, potentially producing a strong body odor.
The refined sugar content of junk foods, as well as their high glycemic index (a measure of how different carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels), are likely to be the culprits here. It is thought that the sugar present in the blood after eating junk food alters the make-up of perspiration in some people when it combines with bacteria on the skin, leading to changes in odor. Processed foods also lack chlorophyll, the chemical that gives vegetables their color and acts as a deodorizer and cleanser in the body, neutralizing the bacteria that causes body odor.
High-carb processed foods can turn up your odor, but low-carb diets are also a problem for some. When you cut back on carbohydrates, your body has fewer carbs to burn for energy and starts burning fat instead. This is how low-carb diets deliver and body odor, and of course weight loss. When you burn fat, your body produces a chemical that can make perspiration smell either like nail polish remover or fruity. It can take several days after starting a low-carb regimen to notice a difference in your scent. It is suggested you speak to your doctor about adjusting your diet.
Chocolate, soda, tea, coffee, alcohol – consuming any of these in excess causes body odor as when you drink them at least 10% of it will be left unprocessed causing perspiration. Excessive alcohol, in particular, may cause body odor.
Dairy products are rich in protein and high consumption of these food items will take longer for your stomach to digest them. Excess consumption of dairy products can lead to release of hydrogen sulfide and methyl mercaptan in the body that can easily trigger off a foul smell.
When the smoke of cigarettes mingles with other sweat glands in the body it will lead to a release of a distinctive smell which leads to a specific 'smoker' smell that lingers on everything from clothing to hair. And we know the remedy too – do not smoke!