Men everywhere, take note: Nature is the best cologne.
A recent study found that women preferred the body odor of men who ate plenty of fruits and vegetables. Meanwhile, men who preferred a diet full of refined carbohydrates such as bread and pasta smelled less appealing.
And no, this isn’t some scam dreamed up by your mother to convince you to eat more fruits and veggies. According to scientists, our sweat could be an evolutionary signal of our health and might determine whom we attract when it comes to sexual partners.
“We’ve known for a while that odor is an important component of attractiveness, especially for women,” lead author Ian Stephen, from Macquarie University in Australia, told NPR.
For the study, researchers first evaluated male participants’ diet and eating habits by assessing their skin color and their answers to food questionnaires. The men then donned clean t-shirts and exercised long enough to break out in a sweat. Afterward, the study’s female participants were asked to sniff the sweat and rate it using descriptors like how floral or fruity each scent was.
The conclusion: “Women basically found that men who ate more vegetables smelled nicer,” Stephen said.
Simple enough, right? Here’s how it works: When you perspire, your sweat glands release compounds that are then broken down by the bacteria on your skin—hence your body odor. Still, your sweat isn’t immediately smelly; it takes the bacteria to release that scent. The healthier the bacteria, researchers say, the nicer the smell.
Looks like beauty is in the nose of the beholder—literally. So if you’re looking for a mate, you might want to pay attention to what’s on your plate first.