Wanna win with the ladies? Against conventional wisdom, it may help to add some garlic to your diet.
Consuming a hearty dose of garlic can make men’s body odors significantly more attractive to women, according to a new series of studies published in the research journal Appetite.
In one of three studies, researchers from Charles University in Prague had half of a group of men eat a cheese sandwich with slathered with 12 grams of garlic (about six cloves), while the other half ate a plain cheese sandwich. They were instructed to limit other effects on their body odor, such as refraining from using deodorant or smoking. All the men then wore cotton pads in their armpits to collect sweat and body odor for 12 hours. A week later, the men each ate the opposite sandwich and repeated the experiment. Both sets of their pads were then presented to women, who smelled them and scored the pads on appeal.
The pads collected after the men had eaten the hefty dose of garlic were rated to have more “attractive,” “pleasant” and “masculine” body odors, according to the study. Their odors were also said to be “less intense.” Mmm.
These men had consumed 12 grams of garlic, the amount in about 17 garlic breadsticks. And there’s a faster way to get the kick: A third study found that store-bought garlic capsules had mostly the same effect.
Overall, the 12 grams of fresh garlic consumption took men from a 2.9 to a 3.1 on an attractiveness scale of one to seven. While it doesn’t seem like a huge difference, it’s big enough for scientists to consider it statistically significant, Psychology Today reports. But as mentioned, a man will have to consume a lot of garlic for that bump in attractiveness.
The researchers say these positive results could be due to garlic’s antioxidant properties, which have been shown to enhance body odor overall. Or it could be due to the full gamut of garlic health perks — including cardiovascular and antibacterial benefits — which women may have learned to sniff out in a healthy mate.
Either way, it’s one more excuse to eat garlic chicken tonight. Bon appétit!