When bacteria found on our skins break down acids in our sweat, the result is an offensive scent- body odour, or bromhidrosis in medical terms. There are people who believe sweat is the cause of their body odour while, in fact, sweat itself has no scent. The chemical reaction between sweat and bacteria therefore is to blame for the odour.
The most common body odour factors are gender, health, medication, hygiene and diet.
Though not always, people can tell what we ate just by catching a whiff of our body odour no matter how much effort we put on personal hygiene.
These are some of the foods that give body odour:
This health benefits packed popular food comes with a disadvantage of its own- a strong hard to ignore pungent smell. When you consume garlic in any form, raw or cooked, it releases enzymes that break down into a sequence of compounds to eventually form allicin. Allicin, a sulfuric compound, breaks down in the body and converts to other odiferous substances that mingle with bacteria and seep out in your sweat.
Downing one too many bottles of your best alcoholic drink might be the reason you have a lingering unpleasant smell. This is because as alcohol enters your bloodstream, some is released through your breath and skin pores. Upon consumption, your body breaks alcohol fast and passes it to the liver. Here the liver metabolizes most of the alcohol and excretes it through the urine. When you exceed your liver’s function ability, the excess alcohol is expelled through your skin by sweating hence giving you a stale odour.
While this many people’s favourite drink has health benefits, coffee is a diuretic which makes you thirsty and many times results to a dry mouth. When your mouth is too dry, it gives off a bad taste and smell (“coffee breath”) due to the bacteria in your mouth. Coffee also increases the activity of apocrine sweat glands making you sweat more and increasing the chances of reaction with bacteria.
Yes, your favourite meal could be the reason body odour has caused you problems. Red meat, unlike white meat is harder to digest and it leaves behind residue in the digestive tract that eventually mingles with bacteria, and then is released in your sweat. This bacteria reacts with sweat to give off an odour that might haunt you the entire day or more.
Fish is many people’s favourite food to its richness in omega 3 fats. However, when your body cannot break down trimethylamine, a compound found in fish that has a strong smell, the compound is released into your intestines. Your body then expels it through your urine, breath, semen and sweat. The latter gives you a long lingering fishy smell.