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What to drink to make you smell better?

What we eat and drink has a big impact on how we smell. Certain foods and beverages can make us more fragrant, while others can cause strong, unpleasant body odors. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best drinks for making you smell fresher and more attractive.

Why Do We Smell?

Body odor is caused by bacteria on our skin metabolizing the proteins in our sweat, armpits, and groin. This bacterial breakdown causes the release of pungent gases like isovaleric acid – resulting in underarm stink.

Factors like diet, lifestyle, and genetics also affect body odor. People of East Asian descent, for example, have lower levels of body odor because they have a gene mutation that results in smaller sweat glands.

While some body odor is natural and healthy, an overly strong, unpleasant smell could be a sign of imbalanced bacteria or poor hygiene. It’s important to drink enough water, practice good hygiene, and make dietary changes if body odor becomes an issue.

How Can Drinks Help with Body Odor?

Staying hydrated is key for reducing body odor. Drinking plenty of water dilutes compounds in sweat and urine that bacteria feed on to create smelly compounds. Dehydration leads to concentrated sweat, allowing odor to come through stronger.

Beyond plain water, many drinks contain nutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds that support the healthy balance of bacteria on the skin to reduce odor.

Drinks like green tea, apple cider vinegar, kefir, and lemon water promote the growth of good bacteria. They increase the acidity of the skin, making it less hospitable for odor-causing bacteria. These drinks also support detoxification through the liver to flush out toxins.

Some drinks can directly alter the smell of sweat itself. For example, caffeinated drinks like coffee may intensify odor, while parsley, cucumber, and citrus can help neutralize smells.

Let’s explore some of the top drinks for combating body odor and promoting fresh, healthy skin from the inside out.


Staying hydrated is the #1 strategy for smelling fresh. Water dilutes the smelly compounds in sweat and urine so they are not as potent. It also keeps sweat more fluid, preventing the “concentration effect” that allows odors to be stronger.

Drinking adequate water ensures your sweat glands work optimally. Dehydration actually causes you to sweat less, letting odor compounds build up on the skin rather than being washed away by fresh sweat.

Sticking to the standard guidelines of drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day is ideal for hydration and body odor. Increase your water intake during hot weather, exercise, or times of sickness when sweating increases.

If plain water is boring, add some sliced fruit like lemon, lime, watermelon, or cucumber to increase flavor without adding sugars or calories. Herbal tea is another hydrating, unsweetened beverage option.

Tips for Staying Hydrated

– Carry a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day for easy sipping
– Drink a full glass of water first thing when you wake up
– Choose water over sugary sodas, juices, and energy drinks
– Eat your water – choose fruits/veggies with high water content like cucumbers, watermelon, zucchini
– Set a daily alarm on your phone reminding you to drink water
– Drink a glass of water before meals so you feel fuller faster

Green Tea

Green tea is a delicious anti-odor drink choice thanks to its unique polyphenols called catechins. The most potent catechin in green tea is EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate).

EGCG has natural antibacterial effects to help fight the bacteria responsible for body odor. It inhibits the growth of bacteria species like staphylococci and Brevibacterium that live on the skin and break down sweat compounds.

Green tea also has an astringent effect on the skin, causing the pores to constrict so less sweat is produced. Drinking 2-3 cups of organic green tea per day can help tighten pores for less odor.

The antioxidants in green tea support the liver’s detoxification process to flush out toxins through sweat. Detoxifying before hitting the gym helps purge impurities so post-workout sweat smells less offensive.

Some small studies show that gargling with green tea can neutralize bad breath by killing odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. This effect could potentially translate to body odor when ingested.

To get the benefits, choose high-quality, organic loose leaf or bottled teas. Avoid low grade teas which can sometimes have a fishy aroma of their own!

Green Tea Tips

– Brew green tea at 180°F for maximum catechin content
– Drink 2-3 cups per day for anti-odor benefits
– Choose shade-grown Japanese Sencha or Chinese Dragonwell teas
– Sweeten lightly with honey, if needed
– Try chilled green tea for a refreshing summer drink

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar balances the natural pH of skin to control bacteria growth and body odor. Acetic acid makes it harder for odor-causing bacteria to thrive in the acidic environment.

It contains antibacterial compounds that inhibit the growth of strains like E. coli that live on the skin and contribute to armpit odor.

Apple cider vinegar also supports detoxification through the liver. The acetic acid gets converted to alkaline ash once metabolized to alkalize the body. A more alkaline state discourages smelly bacterial overgrowth.

Drink 1-2 tablespoons diluted in water or tea once or twice daily. It can also be used topically as a refreshing body wash. Avoid drinking it straight as the acidity can erode tooth enamel.

When buying apple cider vinegar, choose organic, unfiltered, raw varieties with the “mother” culture. This contains the largest concentration of beneficial compounds.

Apple Cider Vinegar Tips

– Dilute with twice as much water to dilute the acidity
– Sweeten with a little honey or maple syrup, if needed
– Drink before meals to improve digestion
– Add to lemon water first thing in the morning
– Use topically as a natural deodorant


Fresh parsley is a long-used home remedy to make bodily secretions like sweat less odorous. It’s typically chewed raw or made into a strong tea to drink.

Parsley contains chlorophyll that helps neutralize smelly compounds and acts as a natural deodorizer. The herb also inhibits bacterial overgrowth due to its antimicrobial effects.

One study by the American Dental Association showed that chewing parsley reduced bad breath via antimicrobial activity against odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. This effect could carry over to body odor.

Some people report success drinking parsley tea several times per week to control sweat smells. Add 2-3 sprigs of fresh parsley to boiled water and allow to steep for 10 minutes before drinking as tea.

Parsley contains oxalates that can promote kidney stone development in predisposed people. Speak with your doctor before regularly consuming parsley if you’ve had kidney stones.

Parsley Tips

– Chop raw parsley to sprinkle on meals for freshness
– Make parsley water by boiling 2-3 sprigs in hot water
– Chew a few sprigs after meals to neutralize mouth odors
– Use parsley essential oil diluted in water as a natural deodorant

Lemon Water

Drinking lemon water helps purge toxins, balance pH, and control bacteria growth – leading to reduced body odor. Lemon juice has an astringent effect to tighten pores and decrease sweating similar to green tea.

The vitamin C in lemon juice gets broken down into alkaline byproducts once metabolized. This helps counteract acidity on the skin to discourage odor-causing bacteria growth.

Lemon water supports healthy liver detoxification to flush smelly toxins out through sweat and urination. It stimulates bile production to aid breakdown of fats that can cause odors when excreted.

Drinking warm or room temperature lemon water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach maximizes these cleansing effects. Adding some mint provides additional antimicrobial and deodorizing properties.

Lemon water is very acidic, so avoiding straight lemon juice is important for tooth enamel. Always dilute lemon juice with water before drinking.

Lemon Water Tips

– Squeeze fresh lemon juice from 1/2 lemon into 8-12oz water
– Add mint, sliced cucumber, or ginger for extra flavor
– Drink first thing in the morning before eating/drinking anything else
– Use a straw to prevent contact between lemon juice and teeth
– Rinse your mouth after drinking lemon water

Cucumber Water

Hydrating cucumber water is another great choice for combating body odors internally. Cucumbers have astringent, antimicrobial, and antioxidant compounds that reduce sweat and neutralize odors.

Cucumbers contain polyphenols called lignans that are converted to enterolactone in the body. This phytoestrogen compound inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria like staphylococci.

The cucurbitacins and triterpenes found in cucumbers also have natural antimicrobial effects against bacteria that live on the skin. The phytochemicals limit bacterial breakdown of sweat components.

Beyond its anti-odor effects, the water content in cucumbers is naturally hydrating. All the nutrients are held within the skin and seeds, so leave them on when preparing cucumber water.

Slice up organic cucumbers and add to a pitcher of water overnight in the fridge. The longer it infuses, the more antioxidant benefits it provides. Add mint, lemon, lime, or ginger to boost flavor.

Cucumber Water Tips

– Use 1/2 to 1 thinly sliced cucumber per 8-12oz water
– Leave the skin and seeds on the cucumber for maximum benefits
– Let infuse in the fridge overnight before drinking
– Consume within 24 hours for the freshest taste
– Add other fruits and herbs like lemon, lime, strawberries, or mint


Kefir is a fermented milk beverage similar to drinkable yogurt that contains over 50 strains of probiotics. Consuming probiotic-rich foods helps balance the bacteria on your skin to reduce odors.

The “good bacteria” from probiotics help crowd out and kill the “bad bacteria” responsible for the smelly compounds in sweat. They restore a healthy microbial balance.

Probiotics also support digestion and immunity. Poor gut health and imbalanced microflora are linked to increased body odor. Optimizing your internal microbiome helps minimize odors.

Choose plain, unsweetened kefir with live active cultures to avoid added sugar. Traditional kefir uses cow or goat milk, but coconut, almond, and cashew varieties are also available.

Aim for at least 1/4 to 1/2 cup of kefir per day to promote skin health. It can be blended into smoothies or consumed on its own as a drink.

Kefir Tips

– Look for kefir with at least 10 active live cultures
– Avoid added flavors or sweeteners
– Consume within 10 days for peak probiotics
– Store in the fridge to maintain potency
– Use as a base for smoothies, dressings, or dips


What you eat and drink has a significant impact on body odor. Staying hydrated, supporting detoxification, increasing antioxidants, balancing pH, and optimizing your microbiome are key internal ways to smell fresher.

Drink plenty of purified water to dilute odor compounds in sweat and urine. Herbal teas, lemon water, cucumber water, and kefir are also great unsweetened beverage choices.

Apple cider vinegar, green tea, parsley, and cucumber contain specific compounds that counteract odor-causing bacteria on the skin. Aim for 1-2 servings of these drinks daily.

Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol which can worsen odors. Cut back on strong-smelling foods like garlic, onion, curry, and red meat as well.

Improving your diet is an easy first step to fresh, healthy skin. But certain medical conditions can also cause body odor issues, like diabetes, kidney disease, and metabolic disorders. See your doctor if odor persists despite dietary changes.

With the right dietary tweaks, you can smell clean, fresh, and attractive from the inside out. Drinking more of these body odor-fighting beverages allows you to sweat with confidence.