Don’t Dodge Them: 10 Anti Social Foods That You Shouldn’t Avoid
There are times when our bodies or its functions land ourselves in embarrassing situations. A burp or the passing of gas is not an experience pleasant to the ears or to the nose either. Bad breath, as we all know, keeps conversations short and relationships apart. Sometimes, these embarrassing moments are caused by our habits but they can also be caused by the food we consume.
Here’s a list of the usual culprits that cause social lives to be more difficult than it should. Eat them anyway because they are good for you:
After consuming food heavily peppered with garlic, people who are concerned about having bad breath will reach for mints to mask the pungent smell, hoping that they won’t be labelled ‘garlic breath’. The effects of garlic on the breath are immediate and can last for hours, leaving you popping mints and reaching for the mouth freshener spray well into the next day.
The sulphur compounds in garlic are the culprit that gives bad breath. The smell not only comes from the food particles stuck between the teeth but also from the oil in the food which is absorbed into the bloodstream and carried around the body into the lungs. This explains the lingering presence of the odour until the food is eliminated from the body.
Garlic is a powerful antibiotic that helps to boost one’s immune system, reduce occurrences of cold and cough. Garlic is also reputed to be excellent in managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. As such, we shouldn’t pick out every bit of chopped garlic from our food but instead, we could just consume less and drink plenty of water. If there is chewing gum or parsley around, we can chew on it to reduce the smell or we could just suck on a mint or sip some mint tea which works just as well. For those of us who are not lactose intolerant, milk is also an option.
The effects of onions, especially raw ones, are also immediate and can last for hours too. The smell of a person’s breath after eating raw onions will leave the individual in front of them with watery eyes and most likely with a cringed up nose too.
Onions too contain sulphur compounds, thus contributing to the bad breath. The pungent oils that raw onions contain can be absorbed into the bloodstream and then carried around the body into the lungs after being digested. We will eventually breathe it out and have bad breath until we eliminate it from our body.
Just because it causes bad breath, we shouldn’t eliminate onions from our diet entirely too. Onions are a very good source of vitamin C, B6, biotin, chromium, calcium and dietary fibre. In addition, onions contain good amounts of folic acid and vitamin B1 and K. The onion is the richest dietary source of quercitin, a potent antioxidant (also in shallots, yellow and red onions only but not in white onions), which is specifically linked to inhibiting human stomach cancer.
Quercitin in onions also thins the blood, lowers cholesterol, raises good-type HDL cholesterol, wards off blood clots, fight asthma, chronic bronchitis, hay fever, diabetes, atherosclerosis and infections.
Eating carrots is good for us since it is rich in vitamin A and beta carotene. Whenever too many carrots are consumed, we overload our body with beta carotene and our skin turns orange. It is a harmless condition called carotenaemia and is most commonly seen in vegetarians and young children, who may be given a lot of carrots as mashed up baby food. Sometimes, the condition is mistaken for jaundice.
If you need to take a lot of carrots but do not want to be mistaken for a jaundice sufferer, you will need to drink plenty of water, get enough sleep and make sure your diet is full of variety. As our skin reflects our diet and lifestyle, we will need to look out for nutrients and minerals that are good for our skin, namely omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish, zinc, vitamins B as well as vitamin C.
Some of us might notice that we expel air after having beans in our meal. There is no polite way to put it but beans causes flatulence. Beans are high in soluble fibre that does not get broken down until it reaches the large intestine. When it does, it is finally digested and produces gas which gets expelled in not so preferable ways.
Herbs such as peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm, ginger and liquorice can be used to help soothe bloated and gassy stomachs. These herbs should be drunk as strong teas. Probiotics may also help over a period of time since digestive enzymes taken with food can improve the digestive processes. If you have long-term bowel upsets, you should see your doctor as this could be a sign of food intolerance or irritable bowel syndrome.
We might not know or realise it but it has been well-documented that asparagus makes urine smell worse in some people. About half of the population is affected; it is thought that our genes not only determine whether our urine emits a pungent odour after eating asparagus but also whether we can detect any odour.
Again, the culprit are the sulphur compounds found in asparagus. These compounds smell as they are expelled from the body. Although asparagus has been a delicacy since Roman times, according to an article in the US medical journal Drug Metabolism and Disposition, mention of its ‘fetid smell’ only came about in the 1700s, about the time when sulphur and sulphate were introduced as fertilisers.
Studies show that asparagus balances insulin levels, which means that it powerfully prevents diabetes. Its unique mineral profile makes it an effective natural diuretic. Natural diuretics promote the formation of urine in the kidneys, aiding in detoxification and cleansing. Asparagus is also a powerful aphrodisiac and one of the best foods to increase libido. Just check out its shape.
Asparagus is also one of the only vegetables to contain inulin, which feeds friendly bacteria that live in the large intestine. This makes it a great food for preventing yeast overgrowth, and it generally keeps the digestive system and belly well.
Asparagus contains loads of folate. Among other health benefits, folate is essential for pre-conception and the early stages of pregnancy. Asparagus’ high level of this mineral means that is can reduce the risk of birth defects and helps the nervous system develop well.
Radish cake is probably the most popular radish dish locally but many are put off by the ‘earthy’ or ‘rooty’ smell of their breath and burp after eating it. Some even complain about the smell it leaves in the refrigerator. No one really knows why radishes smell so bad but what we know is that by reducing the amount we consume in a sitting plus drinking a lot of water will help to reduce the intensity of the smell.
Interestingly, despite many being intolerable to the smell of radish, radish is named as one of the home remedies to combat body odour. Mixing radish juice with glycerin and applying it to the underarms apparently serves as a deodorant but how effective it is, only those who are adventurous enough will find out.
Radishes are high in vitamin C, making them a good detoxifier. This is especially true to prevent many types of cancer including; kidney, stomach, mouth and colon cancers. But this same vitamin C is also responsible for keeping illnesses like the common cold at bay, as well as chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
Another health benefit of radishes is due to their status as an anti-congestive, which relieves congestion in the respiratory system. When you get a cold, or an allergic flare-up or infections, a healthy dose of radishes can help clear up congestion for a quicker heal time.
Radishes are also a healthy and low calorie way to cure jaundice, urinary disorders, fever, insect bites and kidney disorders.
The occasional red wine is good for us but drink too much and you will start to resemble Dracula. Other than making us drunk, drinking too much red wine will stain our teeth.
Red wine contains a type of antioxidant called polyphenols that stains teeth. The alcohol content of red wine also has acidic properties that can wear tooth enamel, making it a double kill. To prevent stains from forming, rinse your mouth thoroughly after you finished your drinks and brush regularly too, although it is probably easier to not drink too much.
Saving the best for the last gives us the petai, the king of all antisocial foods. Petai is an acquired taste – you either love it or hate it. Those who hate it have every reason to. Sambal petai might taste absolutely good with nasi lemak but just like asparagus, the amino acids in petai causes urine to smell even two days after consumption. Of course, the smell lingers in the mouth and body too, making you smell like a walking bag of petai. If the lingering smell isn’t bad enough, petai, just like any other bean, causes flatulence. And even worse is that the odour smells just like the bean itself. Petai was not nicknamed ‘stink bean’ for nothing.
Petai is great for tackling anaemia, lowering blood pressure, aiding bowel movement for those suffering from constipation and increasing the brain’s ability to learn with its high calcium content. Petai is even useful for soothing mosquito bites and itches; simply rub the beans on the affected areas. Smokers trying to quit will find petai helpful too for alleviating the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Foul-smelling breath and urine is just a small price to pay for the benefits of petai on the body. Therefore, don’t hold back from reaching out for that sambal petai or ulam petai. Chew gum after your meal to keep your breath fresh for a while, but do be warned that it does not give a deodorising effect in the washroom.
Although eating the foods mentioned might make people shun away from you, there is no reason to abstain from these foods. Garlic and onions are good for our health as much as carrots, beans and asparagus are. For those of us who are able to drink red wine, the occasional glass boosts our immune system and blood flow.