Do you smell? How to beat body odour with what you eat

Kavita Devgan
Kavita DevganMay 23, 2017 | 14:30

Do you smell? How to beat body odour with what you eat

There is no other way to put it - body odour is unpleasant. And embarrassing, depressing and debilitating.

In fact, body odour can wreak havoc on a person's social life, and self esteem too. And come summer, this problem escalates. But one can fight back and win.

The thing is everybody sweats. We have to. Perspiration is the body's biological way of relieving heat, and fresh perspiration, when allowed to evaporate, does not cause body odour.


An offensive smell is caused when bacteria that are present on the skin get to work on the sweat and decompose it. Some common suspects that can add to the problem are:

Toxic build up and diet are big causes of body odour. The more toxins the liver has to filter out, the more overworked and sluggish it becomes.

Over time, the digestive process and the detoxification pathways become clogged, resulting in thickened waste matter along colon walls.

Eating foods like cumin, curry, garlic, fish, onion and dairy products could also cause body secretions to smell. PC: Dhaba.us

This, along with the decay of waste material, not only robs us of vital nutrients, but also produces bothersome symptoms like bad breath and body odour.

Eating foods like cumin, curry, garlic, fish, onion and dairy products could also cause body secretions to smell. Other culprits such as sugar, a high-fat/low-fibre diet or even antibiotics and medication can upset the balance of friendly flora in the intestines.

That, in turn, impairs the digestive process, which provokes body odour all the more. Excessive sweating and body odour are more likely if people are overweight, exercising, anxious, or have medical conditions such as thyroid disease.


Eat your greens. Get more chlorophyll. Photo: Veg Recipes of India

Skin problem; if you have a bit of eczema or psoriasis or allergy problems, it is possible that a skin infection, probably fungal, is contributing to the problem. 

Also double-check your medicine. Synthetic hormones, oral contraceptives, steroids and some asthma medications sometimes stimulate sweat production.

How to win the battle

You need to fight on two fronts: reducing bacteria on skin by practising good hygiene, and keeping your body nutritionally balanced by eating right.

Detoxify your system regularly. It's the only way to keep your liver and gastrointestinal tract functioning at optimal levels - and potential body odour at bay.

Load up on antioxidants. Fruits and vegetables thus support the healthy detoxification of the body, so that there are no (or minimal) smelly toxins struggling to escape through your skin.

Go easy on processed foods; these are notorious for causing body odour. The body has a very hard time detoxifying all of the chemicals and preservatives found in these foods, and this can lead to glycemic index (GI) overload and funky smells.

Cut down on dairy products and sugar. Protect your GI tract from yeast-enhancing sugar.


Look out for hidden sugars in everything from burgers, mayonnaise and soups to non-dairy creamers. 

Don't miss the eggs.

Eat foods high in zinc. That is because zinc is found in body fluids, and we lose some zinc every time we cry, sweat or excrete excess body fluids.

So if there is a deficiency, the body odour will reflect it in an obvious way. Try eggs, lean meat and seeds - flax, watermelon, pumpkin seeds.

Include a probiotic in your diet as it can re-establish the proper pH balance in your digestive system.

Eat enough fibre rich foods as they move through your system slowly and flush out toxins and waste build up that contribute to body odours.

Drink 10-12 glasses of water daily. It will flush out toxins from your body and keep metabolic processes humming along at peak levels.

Curb your coffee and tea intake. Caffeine can stimulate the autonomic nervous system, which regulates sweating. Limit yourself to two cups daily.

Parsley tea is a great deterrent to BO.

Avoid alcohol as it increases perspiration potential by dilating blood vessels, which may increase body odour.

Avoid excessive intake of foods that are rich in lecithin or choline or lysine such as soya products, corn, wheat and also chocolates, peanuts, nuts, raisins.

Eat your greens. Eat plenty of spinach and other leafy vegetables. These are rich in chlorophyll, and have a powerful deodorising effect on the body.

Parsley also helps, so a cup or two of parsley tea is a good idea (steep a teaspoon of chopped fresh parsley in a cup of boiling water for five minutes. Allow to cool, then drink it).

Last updated: May 23, 2017 | 14:30
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