You know what you eat directly affects your body and how it behaves. Sugar and caffeine may make you more energetic, and eating certain meats may make you sleepy. Choosing some foods can negatively impact you, and others are packed with health benefits.
However, what you might not realize is that certain foods can actually have really weird effects on you. They can change the way your body reacts, functions – and even smells.
Here are 10 really weird and surprising ways the food you eat can have an effect on your body.
1. Garlic Can Improve Your Body Odor
You’ve probably heard garlic before a first date is a bad idea. Garlic breath is real! But did you know that eating garlic can actually improve your perceived body odor attractiveness?
There’s even scientific proof: in a series of studies completed in 2015, researchers separated 42 male odor donors into garlic and non-garlic categories. The results were shocking. The researchers found that “the odor of the donors after an increased garlic dosage was assessed as significantly more pleasant, attractive, and less intense.”
So, eating loads of garlic can make you more attractive to the opposite sex.
2. Beef Jerky May Cause Manic Episodes
Ever wonder why the people in beef jerky ads are always yelling? There might be a scientific reason.
A recent scientific study asked 1,101 people about their diets and various psychiatric disorders. As is usually the case with headline-generating science, the results were astounding. According to the data, those who admitted to a diet rich in cured meats like jerky, salami, and meat sticks showed an increased likelihood of having been hospitalized for mania.
Researchers made the connection between the two, though they didn’t provide much of an explanation. Could beef jerky make you have a manic episode? There may be some kind of connection.
3. Almonds Make You Sleepy
If you need a little help falling asleep, you might want to reach for a chilled glass of almond milk.
If almonds haven’t unseated dairy as the go-to pre-bed drink, they will shortly. As it turns out, almonds are a fantastic source of popular natural sleep-aid melatonin. And, according to the study, “melatonin has been reported to improve sleep efficiency and it was found that eating melatonin-rich foods could assist sleep.”
Almonds aren’t the only thing packed with melatonin. It’s also prevalent in fish, eggs, germinated legumes and some kinds of mushrooms.
4. Asparagus Makes Your Urine Smell
You probably already know eating asparagus makes your urine smell funky. But that doesn’t make the phenomena any less weird.
Why does asparagus make your urine smell so funky? Two words: asparagusic acid. When you consume asparagus, your body breaks down this chemical into a number of sulfur-containing compounds. The compounds turn gaseous when at room temperature and manifest themselves into a cooked-cabbage-like aroma when you urine.
Some of you are probably thinking, “Wait a minute! I eat asparagus all the time, and my urine never smells like sulfur.” Science has an answer to that, too. According to research, some people don’t experience the popular asparagus side effect at all.
5. Spicy Food Disturbs Sleep
Eating an abundance of spicy food has health benefits. Spices like turmeric and cinnamon can aid digestion, combat inflammation, and even lower blood sugar. They’re also a fantastic source of antioxidants.
But there are some drawbacks to a diet rich in spicy food. Most notably, the impact of spicy food on your ability to get a good night’s sleep. According to a research study, “tabasco sauce and mustard taken with the evening meal markedly disturbed sleep of six, young, healthy male subjects.”
The study claims that spicy food before bed may reduce slow wave and stage 2 sleep, increasing the total time you’re awake. So, next time you want to eat hot wings in bed, be sure to keep them mild.
6. Red Meat Equals Bad Body Odor
A red meat rich diet can come with negative consequences. Most people are well aware red meat is often loaded with saturated fats and can cause high cholesterol. But did you know that red meat actually makes you smell bad?
That’s right: in a 2006 study on the effect of red meat consumption and body odor, researchers discovered that “the odor of donors when on the non-meat diet was judged as significantly more attractive, more pleasant and less intents.” This suggests that “red meat consumption has a negative impact on perceived body odor hedonicity.”
7. Carrots Can Change Your Skin Color
Eating carrots, under certain conditions, is said to actually help you improve your eyesight. But don’t start scarfing down baby carrots just yet – you’d need to eat an awful lot of them every day in order to reap these vision benefits. And, as it turns out, eating too many carrots can cause your skin to change color!
Consuming too many carrots has been shown to cause hypercarotenemia, or yellowing of skin. The condition is generally harmless, so it’s nothing to worry too much about. You know, unless you’re eating a carrot-heavy diet.
8. Soy Consumption Can Lower Sperm Count
Gentlemen, if you’re looking for a lactose-free alternative for your morning corn flakes, make it almond milk. Unless of course you don’t plan on having children.
Drinking soy milk or consuming soy products is not an effective alternative to contraception. But a 2008 study set out to examine the connection between soy products and sperm count.
The results were astounding. The study discovered an inverse association between soy food intake and sperm concentration. In the findings, researchers noted that “men in the highest category of soy food intake had 41 million sperm/ml less than men who did not consume soy foods.” So, opting for soy over dairy could actually affect your sperm count.
9. Nutmeg Can Cause Hallucinations
The seed of the nutmeg tree is often used to spice up apple pie, pumpkin pie and eggnog, But the spice-aisle staple has a dark and tumultuous past. In large doses, the popular spice is toxic and even hallucinogenic.
You see, nutmeg contains the psychoactive chemical myristicin. Myristicin is an active ingredient in designer drugs like MDMA and extasy. Granted, a person would have to ingest more than 2 full tablespoons of nutmeg before they notice any adverse effects. Still, it’s important to know the dangers lurking inside your spice cupboard.
10. Pomegranates Improve Erectile Dysfunction
Pomegranates may be tough to cut and eat, but they can really be worth all of the leg work.
In a win for pomegranate farmers around the world, a study released by the International Journal of Impotence Research found that pomegranate juice may help the management of erectile dysfunction.
The 2007 study gave a daily 8 ounces dose of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice to a selection of male ED sufferers. According to the study, “forty seven percent of the subjects reported that their erections improved with POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice, while only 32% reported improved erections with the placebo.”
The study technically didn’t achieve overall statistical significance. But are those results good enough for men to give pomegranate juice a second look? Yes.