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What (and what not) to eat to smell irresistible

Imagine your natural body odour was so irresistible that someone created a fragrance of it. Or room spray. Or scented candles.
Well, that’s what happened to Gwyneth Paltrow. And not just of her general BO, but of the scent of her lady parts.

Wait, what?

Let us rewind a bit.


In January of this – decidedly the craziest of years in recent history – actress turned wellness guru Gwyneth Paltrow launched a candle through her lifestyle brand Goop named… wait for it… “This smells like my vagina”.  

Overnight it, uhm, lit up the internet. Shock, curiosity, outrage, admiration, it was all there. What wasn’t there were the candles. They sold out instantly.

Although it eventually surfaced that the name was a joke, and Gwyneth’s vajayjay does in fact not smell like geranium, bergamot, cedar, Damask rose and ambrettes, it got people talking about one of those oft neglected topics: natural body odour. And just what we can, can’t, should or shouldn’t do to influence it.

 Sidebar: Why do we care? Because scientists say that, amongst other things,  sweat and body odour can help signal our health status and could play a role in helping to attract a mate. And who doesn’t want to be desirable?

While we are all fond of slathering our outsides with layers of fragrances, it seems that we frequently forget that our natural smell is something we can control by what we put inside it.

So what should we eat (or drink) to smell irresistible?

Little to no meat
A study by Jan Havlicek and Pavlina Lenochova observed that women found the body odour of men who had a meat-free diet for two weeks more attractive than those who had consumed meat. Digesting fish also doesn’t release the same unpleasant odours that are released when metabolizing red meat. So carnivores beware of date night.

Probably also not fish
Most fish contain choline, a b-complex vitamin present in many multivitamins that comes with a fishy smell and can be held in your sweat for almost a day after eating fish. This is not a problem for everyone, but typically those that suffer from the metabolic disorder trimethylaminuria, and who are missing enzymes that normally causes the fishy-smelling compound trimethylamine to be excreted in urine. Maybe the vegans are onto something?   

Yoghurt instead of milk
Milk is not great for BO. Yoghurt, thankfully, has two odour-busting ingredients on its side: active cultures that lower the amount of odour-causing sulphite compounds, and vitamin D that helps fight bacteria present in the mouth (and thereby bad breath). Serve your morning-after coffee black, with, at most, a side of yoghurt and granola.

Some green stuff
It seems that an apple a day keeps more than just the doctor away: Also bad breath, because of its natural detergent properties. Celery, bizarrely, helps the body to release pheromones – making you seem more attractive to potential partners. So if you ever get the chance to attend a non-socially-distanced cocktail party again, don’t skip the crudites.

All of the water
There really is no end to the list of benefits of drinking enough water. In this instance, it helps the body flush out toxins that cause bad body odour. Add a bit of high-in-antioxidants lemon and it detoxes even more. The same goes for herbal teas.

Which incidentally is one of Gwyneth Paltrow’s favourite drinks, also available on Goop. But that’s probably obvious. If one’s vagina inspired a scent, you definitely know all the tricks in the book.   

One of my favourite scents, the smell of a ‘kampvuur’ fills me with warmth and nostalgia; the essence of which is perfectly captured in Feu de Bois JAN candle. Buy it here