First, you better check that it’s not April the 1st.
OK, done. It’s not. Onwards…
Eating garlic — and I mean a lot of garlic — makes men’s body odour smell more attractive, a new study finds.
The surprising finding adds to garlic’s established health benefits.
It took the ingestion of four cloves of garlic to do the trick.
Two cloves was simply not enough.
Women smelled the body odour of some men who’d eaten no garlic, some who’d eaten two cloves and some who’d eaten four.
They rated each man’s odour sample for attractiveness, pleasantness, intensity and masculinity.
There is, of course, a fatal flaw to this experiment.
Women did not smell the men’s breath!
This may well have changed the ratings somewhat…
If you are planning to try out the power of garlic, though, look no further than a 2010 volume of the Journal of Food Science (Hansanugrum & Barringer, 2010).
This study found that drinking milk can help prevent garlic breath.
That should help a bit.
So, why does the body odour of garlic smell sexy to women?
Professor Craig Roberts, who led the study, said it could be related to its health benefits:
“Our results indicate that garlic consumption may have positive effects on the pleasure derived from perceived body odour perhaps due to its health effects.
From an evolutionary perspective, formation of preferences for diet-associated body odours was possibly shaped by means of sexual selection.
Previous research indicates that many animal species use diet-associated cues to select mates in good physical condition.
As the health benefits of garlic consumption include antioxidant, immunostimulant, cardiovascular, bactericidal and anti-cancer effects, it is plausible that human odour preferences have been shaped by sexual selection.
The study was published in the journal Appetite (Fialova et al., 2015).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Looking quizzical image from Shutterstock