Garlic, the longtime scourge of date night, may actually have a beneficial impact on certain bodily smells. While it wreaks havoc on your breath, it could also make your BO a little better, a new study finds.
Researchers from Charles University in Prague and the University of Stirling in the UK recruited 42 male “odor donors” to either eat extra garlic or none at all over the course of three different studies with varying types and amounts of garlic (two with raw garlic, one with garlic capsules). After consuming the garlic, participants wore pads in their armpits for 12 hours to collect their odors. A week later, the garlic and non-garlic groups switched roles. Later, a group of 82 women smelled these pads in jars, and rated how pleasant, attractive, masculine, and intense the smell was.
The results, published in the journal Appetite, indicated that garlic might have a beneficial effect on how you smell. Women rated the body odors of those who ate an increased amount of garlic as more pleasant and attractive, and less intense, than the odors of non-garlic eaters, whether it was eaten raw or in capsule form.
Garlic has various health benefits and is a good source of antioxidants. One study found that a compound in garlic, allicin, might be able to fight cold viruses, and others indicate that it can fight against certain bacteria strains, fungi, and parasites. The researchers hypothesize that these antibacterial properties might be what makes it a great deodorant.