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NOVEMBER 2022 | 5 Minute Read 

foods that cause body odor


“You are what you eat” – we’ve all heard this saying, but when it comes to your diet, what you eat can be a determining factor on whether or not you will smell more during the day. While this popular saying is often referring to eating healthier options, there are foods, even healthy ones, that can cause body odor. Everyone experiences body odor to some level as our bodies are incredibly complex, however if it’s a concern for you, knowing which foods can cause body odor and minimizing how much of them you eat can greatly improve body odor. Read on to the end for a hygiene routine that will also help you manage body odor while indulging in these foods.
brassica vegetables - foods that cause body odor


Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and Brussel sprouts are all considered cruciferous vegetables, part of the Brassicafamily. These vegetables are incredibly nutritious, containing high levels of fibre and vitamins and are linked to reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, and are being studied for their role in cancer prevention. 

They can cause body odor due to the sulfur-containing compounds (glucosinolates) released during digestion and secreted through sweat. They can also cause pungent breath and, you guessed it… gas.  

Instead of cutting them out completely, merely reduce the amount you eat or parboil them before to eating to still get those incredible nutritional benefits while reduce odor-causing compounds. 


Though the term “allium vegetables” may be lesser known when compared to “cruciferous vegetables”, they are some of the most commonly eaten vegetables: garlic, onions, leeks, chives and scallions. Like cruciferous vegetables, they contain a high sulfuric acid content and thus contribute to body odor. Cooking these vegetables before eating can help cut down some of their odor-causing properties.


Coffee, tea, chocolate and other caffeine-containing foods and drinks could very well be causing increased body odor. This is because caffeine is a stimulant and can accelerate the central nervous system functions which increases apocrine gland activity (leading to sweating), that can cause increased body odor. If you are like many of us and can’t give up that morning coffee, try to limit it to two cups a day to reduce the effect on the body. 


A study published in Medical Hypotheses suggested tomatoes can be the cause of underarm odor. Apocrine glands in the armpits excrete terpenes which is what commonly causes armpit odor. Tomatoes are likely to be the main source of dietary terpenes, so if you struggle with body odor and consume many tomato-based foods, it could be worth limiting your intake to see if it helps improve body odor.   


In 2006, the University of Liverpool conducted a study to evaluate how red meat impacted body odor. The results showed that the red meat diet smelled more intense and less pleasant than those who did not consume meat. Since red meat is so fatty, it is harder for the body to digest properly and as a result, it leaves behind a residue in the digestive tract. This residue interacts with bacteria in the digestive tract, which produces fatty acids that are then released out of the body through the form of pungent-smelling sweat or gas. You can read more on this here. 

spices - foods that cause body odor


Cumin, fenugreek (used in curries), chili and other pungent spices can end up causing your sweat to smell as their odor tends to be released through your pores as the body digests them. Additionally, spicy foods increase your sweat levels and can also contribute to body odor. Reduce the amount of foods you eat that contain these spices to help manage body odor. 


Seafood can contribute to body odor in two ways. Firstly, if you tend to notice a fishy smell after eating seafood, you may have a condition called trimethylaminuria (fishy odor syndrome) which prevents the body from breaking down trimethylamine which is often found in seafood, and shellfish. If you suspect this is the case, seek the advice of your doctor. 

The second way seafood can contribute to body odor is from fish oil. Fish and fish oil supplements contain a vitamin called choline which creates that fishy smell and can stay in our body for up to a day afterwards, and come out in sweat. 


how to naturally manage body odor

All these foods are incredibly common, highly nutritious and also enjoyable as a part of a healthy diet – so what should you do to manage body odor while enjoying these foods? In addition to the tips provided, a proper hygiene routine will help you enjoy these foods without risking odor. It’s called the takesumi detox® 3-step system: 


Start with the underarm bar, which contains activated charcoal, sea salt and apple cider vinegar to help remove deodorant residue and kill odor-causing bacteria. The key is to wash each armpit for 20-30 seconds to get a squeaky-clean slate before the next step. 


The second step is the takesumi detox® charcoal deodorant. Ensure you are applying a generous amount and covering the armpit fully with deodorant. The charcoal and a potent fermentation extract works to neutralize odors throughout the day, without irritating baking soda or synthetic fragrances. 


The last step in this routine is a generous layer of the sweat powder, which was inspired by highly absorbent athletic chalk used by elite athletes. The formula contains magnesium carbonate, zinc oxide, apple cider vinegar and a silky rice starch powder to absorb sweat and help manage odor.  

These three steps will significantly reduce body odor and sweat throughout the day, naturally. 


Many of the foods we enjoy on a daily basis can be contributing to body odor. The answer is not to eliminate them completely, but to observe how they impact your own body odor and enjoy them in moderation, or limit them before important events. Incorporating the takesumi detox® 3-step system into your routine will also help manage excess odor and sweat and give you the confidence to go about your day without worry. 

All content found on this website is created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. 


Clean beauty industry maven and product developer Madame Sweat (Mary Futher) founded kaia naturals after spending 20 yearsworking for global beauty companies. She now shares advice on modern hygiene etiquette for grooming, hosting, home and travel on Instagram, TikTok and her popular blog called The House of Hygiene.

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