An intense body odor is a problem that isn't often discussed, but is one that should be. You may unknowingly offend others; if you're aware of your own body odor, you may feel self-conscious. Take measures to combat body odor with diet and lifestyle habits. What you eat and don't eat may contribute to the intensity of your body's natural scent.
Certain foods may make your body odor worse, so eating less of them can help reduce your odor. An amino acid known as carnitine, found primarily in beef and pork, requires your intestines to put forth extra effort to break down the amino acid. Enzymes in your gut, called flavin monooxygenases, break down the residue of this amino acid so you can excrete it -- but if you don't have enough of these enzymes, you may emit a "fishy" odor. A study published in Chemical Senses in 2006 confirmed this negative effect of over-consuming red meat. Choose protein alternatives to beef and pork, such as poultry, soy and beans. Fish is another alternative, but it can make some people smell fishy if they eat too much of it.
Over relying on processed foods and not eating enough plant-based foods, such as fresh vegetables, legumes and fruit, can contribute to body odor, as you're missing out on the natural detoxifying effects these foods have. Plant foods contain fiber, which helps clean you out by maintaining regular digestion. A green salad with baby kale and spinach that includes lots of other raw vegetables -- including carrots, peppers and cucumber -- at most meals helps increase your intake of plant foods. Order vegetarian tacos instead of beef fajitas, have stir-fry chicken and peppers for dinner, and add vegetables to your morning eggs. Avoid eating too much broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, though, as the sulfur in this brassica genus can cause body odor.
Citrus fruits are another way to add fiber to your diet, and the acid in them readily flushes through your body, dismissing compounds that could cause lingering odor. Have grapefruit for breakfast or have an orange as a snack.
Herbs as Antidotes
A handful of fresh green herbs smells good, so imagine what this can do for your insides. If you primarily season foods with garlic and onion, your body may start to smell like these foods. Herbs that contain large amounts of chlorophyll, the compound that makes leaves green, can counteract body odor. Wheatgrass juice and herbs such as parsley, cilantro and mint, are examples of these foods. Drink wheatgrass straight and mix the herbs into steamed vegetables, salad dressings and pesto.
A strong body odor can sometimes be a sign of poor gut health. Consume probiotic-rich foods to help restore good intestinal bacteria and to aid your digestion so that it processes foods more smoothly, and with less odor. Fermented tea, known as kombucha, yogurt, fresh sauerkraut and pickles, Korean kimchi and kefir are good choices for this.