Men: want more success with the ladies? Think your body odour could do with a bit of care and attention? Well, forget about pricey colognes, and just start increasing your garlic consumption. Yes, garlic, that stinkiest of foodstuffs, can apparently make men smell more attractive to women.
It sounds entirely counterintuitive, but that was the verdict of a 2015 study, the findings of which have resurfaced online in recent days.
Researchers from the University of Stirling and Prague’s Charles University asked 42 men in rotation to eat raw garlic, garlic capsules, or no garlic, and wear pads in their armpits for 12 hours afterwards to collect body odour.
Then, 82 women were asked to sniff the odour samples and judge them on their pleasantness, attractiveness, masculinity and intensity.
The body odour of the men was perceived to be “significantly more attractive and less intense” when they had eaten the garlic in bulb and capsule form than when they (the same men) hadn’t eaten it.
“Certainly, breath odour plays a crucial role in most social interactions, but human axillary (armpit) odour is also an important factor in intimate relationships,” researchers wrote in the journal Appetite.
“Our results indicate that garlic consumption may have positive effects on perceived body odour hedonicity (the pleasure derived from it), perhaps due to its health effects, for example antioxidant properties and antimicrobial activity.
“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.
Previous studies have shown that garlic consumption can also affect the odour of human breast milk, increasing the time infants spend on their mother’s breast and feeding more vigorously.