Men Who Eat Garlic May Smell More Attractive to Women


It’s #NationalGarlicDay, and to celebrate the very nutritious member of the lily family that so deliciously flavors our foods, helps us combat sickness and reduces our blood pressure, we thought we’d share a fun, sexy fact about garlic you may not know.

Forget what you heard, because this potent food actually helps to bring men and women together. Garlic makes men smell more attractive to women, according to a study published last year.

Credit: JP Goguen/Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

Here’s how researchers from the University of Stirling and Prague’s Charles University got this data. They asked 42 men to eat raw garlic, garlic capsules or no garlic at all, and then instructed them to wear pads in their armpits for 12 hours afterwards. This was done to collect their natural body odor.

Subsequently, 82 women were told to sniff the odor samples and rank them based on what smelled pleasant, attractive, masculine or intense. The findings showed that women found men who consumed various forms of garlic much more attractive than those who did not have any garlic.

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The desirable, positive effect only happened when the study subjects ate a substantial amount of garlic. When the men ate 6 grams of garlic, which is equivalent to two cloves, with bread and cheese, there was no difference in the rankings between that and when the they ate the bread and cheese alone. However, when researchers doubled the dosage to 12 grams, or four cloves, the men who ate it smelled more attractive to the women.

Credit: Phil Norton/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“Certainly, breath odour plays a crucial role in most social interactions, but human axillary (armpit) odour is also an important factor in intimate relationships,” said Craig Roberts, professor of Psychology at the University of Stirling. “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.”

“From an evolutionary perspective, formation of preferences for diet-associated body odours was possibly shaped by means of sexual selection,” Roberts continued. “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.”

Perhaps research like this will encourage men to not forgo that garlicky dinner on a first date. Apparently garlic breath isn’t the worst thing to have, considering garlic itself has such a positive effect on the body — and one’s attractiveness.

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