It happens to the best of us. One minute you’re casually chatting with friends, sipping margaritas and dipping homemade tortilla chips in savory salsa. The next minute your forehead and armpits are dripping like someone turned on a faucet. Whether you suffer from hyperhidrosis or only perspire when you eat, learning about the foods that make you sweat can help prevent future embarrassment when the flood gates open. It's equally important to find out why your diet changes how your sweat smells.
The most common reason is that foods have a thermogenic effect in your body. This simply means when the food breaks down, a portion of it is released as heat into your body during digestion. When your body works harder or takes longer to digest certain foods, the thermogenic effect increases. And when your body temperature rises, your body automatically tries to cool it down by sweating.
Learning why you may sweat during or after a meal is important. Learning which foods trigger your body’s sweat glands are even more important. Below we highlight seven foods (or food types) that make you sweat and the reasons why.
When you eat foods that contain a lot of sodium, your body is forced to get rid of the excess as urine and sweat. If you already sweat excessively, eating salty foods may only compound the problem. To steer clear of a sweaty situation, avoid foods like cured meats, salad dressings, bacon, instant soup, potato chips, roasted nuts, and most canned foods including canned vegetables.
When your body temperature rises, your body automatically tries to cool it down by sweating.
Processed foods typically lack the fiber and enzymes necessary for your food to digest properly. When foods are also high in fat, your body goes into overdrive to process them, making digestion even more difficult. Any time your body struggles to digest after meal, perspiration increases. To avoid an uncomfortable and sweaty aftermath, refrain from eating fatty or processed foods like deep-fried foods, fast food, crackers, margarine, bread, savory snacks, frozen or microwavable meals.
Drinking coffee in the morning is a great way to jolt you awake. But what else does it do? When that shot of caffeine sets your central nervous system into motion, your heart rate increases and your blood pressure goes up. After this happens, your body begins to simulate the flight or fight response, awakening your sweat glands. The heat from the coffee also raises your internal body temperature, making the sweat pores open even further. To avoid this effect, limit your consumption of coffee, black and green teas, and energy drinks.
Who doesn’t enjoy a glass of wine or cold craft beer among friends? Unfortunately, when one glass turns into two or three or more, your body begins to overheat. When your body starts to overheat, your heart rate increases and your internal body temperature rises. The natural reaction to cool things down and restore balance is to start sweating. Once the process starts, it continues until your body’s internal thermometer is normal. If you continue to drink, so does your body’s natural process of self-correction.
Spicy curry, hot wings, or wasabi are a few of the spicy foods that can prompt profuse perspiration. These foods, among other spicy dishes, typically contain Capsaicin. This active compound creates a burning sensation when it comes into contact with tissue. When you eat spicy foods, the Capsaicin tricks the nerves that make your body feel warmer; triggering your sweat glands to start the cooling process. Thus, making spicy dishes among the top foods that make you sweat.
Comfort foods like pasta, bread, potatoes and ice cream may be Grandma’s way of showing love, but they do more trouble than good when it comes to sweat. Foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar are known to produce a significant thermic effect when eaten because they are more difficult to breakdown. Additionally, foods high in sugar can cause insulin spikes which can result in heavy sweating.
Believe it or not, the term “meat sweats” has some credibility.
Believe it or not, the term “meat sweats” has some credibility. While foods high in protein have health benefits, they also have a significant thermic effect when digested. This means they give up part of the energy they contain as heat. For example, to digest four bites of a delicious filet mignon steak, your body must release the equivalent of one bite as heat. When you eat a lot of protein, your body breaks it down, forming urea as a byproduct. As urea in your body becomes excessive, your body has to dispose of it and that happens through excessive sweating.
Another common reason for sweating during or after a meal is that some excess compounds need to be flushed out of your system. When these compounds are flushed out of your body as sweat, the composition of your sweat changes. This results in a noticeably fragrant substance.
This is particularly noticeable with foods containing onion and/or garlic. Your body can easily turn into a diffuser of body odor after you eat a dish containing a large amount of garlic and onions. This is a result of allium, a chemical found in onions and garlic, which your body converts to a sulfur compound.
If you want to control the way your body sweats and smells, take a good look at what you put into it. Start small by making simple changes to help minimize sweat and odor. If the sweating persists, start a food journal to try to identify the specific foods that make you sweat. Finally, if you are unable to control your sweating during and after meals, visit your doctor to make sure you don’t have a more serious health concern like gustatory hyperhidrosis.
In addition to making dietary changes to stop sweating, wear an Ejis sweat proof undershirt or a pair of Ejis sweat proof boxer briefs (buy in our shop or on Amazon) to regain your confidence and protect your clothing from sweat marks.
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