Body Odour

You are what you eat.

“I’ve been trying to ignore this for a while. He’s my best friend, but…he stinks like a pig. We are great pals you know. Had it been someone else I would have stayed away. I have really tried to be nice about it, but I just can’t stand it anymore. I’m afraid to say anything because I’ll probably hurt his feelings. Please I need your advice.”

I once came upon this grievance in my mailbox. Really, can body odour get that threatening? Can it really make or break a relationship? Going by the amount of anti-odour soap and deodorant commercials on air, it seems that body odour is one of the greatest social off-putters of our time.

Whether you are on a bus, in a busy shopping mall or at the pub, there is no getting away from that acrid and pungent smell of sweat. Strangely, most people with bad body odour are blissfully unaware of the smell emanating from their armpits.

The reasons beneath

Everybody sweats, it’s only natural, but then why do some people stink? Most people wonder why they suffer from body odour in spite of maintaining utmost hygiene and bathing several times a day.

In reality sweat doesn’t smell. Tight clothing and humidity slow down evaporation and the sweat mixes with the bacteria thriving on the skin resulting in an offending odour. Besides, nutritional shortages make metabolic procedures less efficient. The body is then unable to detoxify effectively and the by products develop a strong body odour.

Fighting body odour

A magnesium and zinc deficiency, diabetes, liver disease or chronic constipation can give rise to body odour. It is not certain how zinc and magnesium supplements help eliminate body odour but they work. So incorporate magnesium in your diet. Natural dietary sources of magnesium are almonds, soyabeans, leafy vegetables, oats (jav in marathi) and wheatgerm. Doctors also recommend taking zinc supplements (30 mg).
Zinc can also be naturally found in eggs, lamb, chicken, wheat, soyabeans, corn, sesame seeds, wheatgerm, etc.

Smoker’s breath

Cigarettes can give rise to smoker’s breath, which can be quite offensive. Even too much of alcohol can make you stink the next day. The obvious solution is to avoid smoking and drinking or keeping a tab on the amount you smoke or drink.

Odour forming agents in your diet

Yet another reason behind persistent body odour could be certain types of foods in your diet. Garlic, fish, methi leaves, onions, strong curry flavours, etc are some of the culprits. Avoid or limit such foods from your diet.

Smell like a fish?

Believe it or not, but some people actually stink like a fish. This could probably be because of over-consumption of non-vegetarian foods in your diet. Animal proteins are rich in choline and some people are deficient in an enzyme, which metabolizes choline, giving the person a fish-like odour. Such people should eliminate all foods containing choline including eggs, fish, chicken and legumes (peas and beans) to avoid embarrassment.

A little extra hygiene helps. Scrubbing in the armpits, groin and feet areas is essential in removing the sweat and reducing the number of bacteria thriving upon it. But one has to remember that hygiene is not always the problem. When no amount of scrubbing or deodorants helps, it has to be a health problem. It can be managed by adding nutrients like zinc, magnesium and Vitamin B6 and excluding choline-rich foods.

Applying turnip juice or apple cider vinegar to the armpits also helps fight body odour. This is especially for those people who are against using deodorants. A glass of coriander juice will also help you get rid of unpleasant odour because chlorophyll has a powerful deodorizing effect.

So come on, eat the right stuff so that you no more have to fret while you sweat. And you can move around without worrying about disgusting someone or being embarrassed yourself!

ANJALI MUKERJEE, Nutritionist, Founder Director-Health Total, having health centers
in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune -manages obesity & other health related disorders.
Contact numbers: 1800 8918131/+91 86575 61727
For further information, Visit

January 19, 2021

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