Are These Veggies Making Me Smell Bad?

If you’ve been cleaning up your diet, you’re probably eating more vegetables.

Depending on the type of produce on your plate, you might also start noticing a rather unwelcome side effect to your healthier ways.

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are so good for you – they contain lots of fiber and vitamins and minerals and are great for digestion and gut health. Unfortunately, they can also make you a bit stinky.

As your body breaks this type of vegetable down, they can emit sulfur, which can make for a not-so-pleasant body odor. Onions and garlic also have this effect. Working out and sweating can exacerbate the funk, although how much you smell depends on a variety of factors. Some people will emit the odor more than others, based on their particular biology and genetics.

“Sulfur-rich foods are imperative to keeping a variety of biological functions working efficiently,” said registered dietitian and diabetes educator Grace Derocha. “This includes everything from our metabolism to musculoskeletal function, while fighting inflammation and chronic conditions, like metabolic syndrome and diabetes.”

The good news? The smell is temporary and it’s not as though there will be cartoon-like odor waves radiating from your body. The scent may offend you more than anyone else.

Parboiling veggies can help reduce the smell factor. You can try that technique before finishing the vegetables off in a stir-fry or some other dish. You can also try eating them in conjunction with foods known to improve your natural smell, such as citrus fruits and spices such as cardamom, rosemary, cinnamon, thyme and peppermint.

The bottom line: keep eating cruciferous vegetables. Mix them into your daily and weekly intake along with other, less odor-causing vegetables to get a wide range of nutrients and health benefits. If you’re worried about the smell, try easing up, eating them in moderation and filling in the gaps with other produce. Staying hydrated can also help dissipate some of the temporary odor.

“Eating vegetables is key to better health,” Derocha said. “It helps with weight loss and maintenance, while also keeping us regular and helping clean out waste from our system. Any time you are eating a diet high in vegetables you are reducing your risk for cancer and you’ll have more energy.”

Do you love or loathe cruciferous veggies? Tell us in the comments and make sure to share your favorite preparation tips. 

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Photo credit: Charles Smith

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