There are certain things — like exercise, a scorching summer day or a fever — that you can expect to make you sweaty. But eating? Yep, certain foods that you put on your plate can make your temperature soar and produce perspiration.
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1. Spicy Foods
Fond of fiery foods? That piquant or peppery flavor you crave in hot wings and wasabi can promote perspiration.
A compound called capsaicin is what gives your spicy food its kick and what can also get you sweaty, Sauceda says.
Here's why: Capsaicin binds to nerve receptors, which transmit signals to your brain that are translated as heat. This, in turn, produces a cooling response (i.e., sweating) in the body.
And the spicier the food, the moister you might find your armpits, Sauceda says.
2. Hot Foods and Drinks
This one's common sense: If you're slurping a smoldering mug of hot chocolate or a big bowl of bubbling soup, you're bound to feel warm inside, Sauceda says.
Indeed, eating or drinking a hot food can increase your internal temperature, and this triggers your body to cool itself by sweating, according to the International Hyperhidrosis Society.
And if it's already 90 degrees outside, the sweltering weather will likely make you sweat even more, Sauceda adds.
Your cup of joe might be the source of your pit-stained shirts.
While caffeine wakes you up, it can also increase your blood pressure, body temperature and blood flow to the skin and extremities, according to the University of Michigan. And all this expended energy can translate into a great deal of dampness.
Plus, if you prefer your java piping hot, the heat can also heighten your body temperature, stimulating a sweaty reaction.
Ever notice how your face flushes and your pits perspire when you throw back a little too much booze? Yep, sweating is a common side effect of drinking a lot of alcohol.
Here's why: When your liver metabolizes alcohol, it emits heat, making you feel all warm and toasty inside, per American Addiction Centers.
And this sweat-inducing scenario just becomes compounded when you kick back a bunch of cocktails as your liver can only metabolize one drink per hour, according to American Addiction Centers.
On the other hand, sweating and hot flashes can also be a sign of alcohol withdrawal, Sauceda says. In fact, once the effects of liquor lessen in your system, you may experience hot flashes along with other hangover symptoms like headaches, per American Addiction Centers.
If you experience these alcohol-related effects often or believe your drinking has become an unhealthy habit, talk with your doctor or a trusted mental health professional for help.
For some, a sweet treat can trigger sweating.
In people with diabetes, savoring too many sweets may stimulate sweating, Sauceda says. "This could be because sweets can contribute to a blood sugar spike," she says.
Indeed, certain medical conditions like diabetes are associated with an increased risk of chronic food-related sweating (also known as gustatory sweating, gustatory hyperhidrosis or Frey's syndrome), according to the International Hyperhidrosis Society.
In addition, scarfing down sweets in one sitting could also lead to reactive hypoglycemia, Sauceda says. Reactive hypoglycemia happens when your blood sugar levels are low even after eating, she explains. And sweating is one of the symptoms.
This condition may occur after snacking on something sweet as your body burns through simple carbs quite quickly, which can cause a sudden dip in blood sugar, Sauceda says.
Other signs of reactive hypoglycemia include, per the Mayo Clinic:
- Pale skin
The reason why chocolate can get your sweat glands going is twofold.
First, chocolate contains caffeine. For example, a Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Bar boasts 25 milligrams while a Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar clocks in at 10 milligrams, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. And, as mentioned previously, this stimulant can rev up your sweat response.
Secondly, depending on the variety, chocolate may have a lot of sugar. As we already know, sweets can make your pores pour with perspiration.
7. Salty Food
Snacking on salty foods may result in a sweaty situation too.
One potential hypothesis for this is that some foods — like those high in sodium — may shift your blood flow and send your heart racing, according to the Peconic Bay Medical Center.
That means your heart must pump harder than usual, especially if you overdo it with the saltshaker. And this requires your body to exert more energy, which might make you sweat.
Another possible theory is that when you eat excessively salty foods, your body may try to get rid of the extra salt through sweating.
Meat may set your sweat glands in motion, too.
That's because animal protein can take more energy to digest than other foods, which could contribute to sweating, Sauceda says. Still, you would have to munch on a significant amount of meat to feel this effect, she adds.
But some folks may find that they're more prone to perspiration when they eat meat. For instance, those who have a harder time digesting meat — like older people or those taking antacids — could experience this sweaty side effect, Sauceda says.
If you notice that a certain food leaves you dripping in a puddle of perspiration, the simplest solution is to ditch it from your diet.
But if you can't part with your sweat-inducing foods, try reducing the portion size, which may help to lessen sweating, Sauceda says.
And if your food-related sweating is associated with a health issue such as diabetes, maintaining good blood sugar management will also be useful, she says.
Lastly, staying hydrated — which can help keep the body cool — is a solid strategy to slash sweating.
So, how much H2O should you gulp? Try this equation:
Body weight (in pounds) ÷ 2 = minimum ounces of water you should drink per day
- Peconic Bay Medical Center: “Why Your Heart Pounds Fast after Eating”
- International Hyperhidrosis Society: “Gustatory Sweating (Frey's Syndrome)”
- University of Michigan: “Caffeine Q & A”
- American Addiction Centers: “Night Sweats and Alcohol: Why Alcohol Makes You Hot”
- Mayo Clinic: “Reactive hypoglycemia: What can I do?”
- Center for Science in the Public Interest: “Caffeine chart”