Foods That Make Your Urine Smell Funny
This is probably the most well-known food that affects the smell of your urine. One of the many chemical compounds in the vegetable is asparagusic acid, which as you might guess from the name only shows up in asparagus. Once it's in our digestive system, that acid breaks down into a group of sulfur compounds, the same ones that give skunk spray its distinctive tang. Once those compounds hit the air in your urine, they enter a gaseous state and create that awful smell.
Certain spices maintain their pungency even after passing through the body's digestive tract. If you eat a lot of Indian food, you might notice that your pee smells a little spicy when it hits the bowl. That's because cumin and coriander, two of the most vital ingredients in many Indian curries, pass their odor-causing chemicals through the kidneys. The resultant product is very strong-smelling and pungent. Interestingly enough, in traditional Ayurvedic medicine coriander seed is thought to aid in healing urinary tract infections.
Eating foods rich in vitamin B-6 is recommended by doctors, as it helps the body metabolize proteins and fats. Freshwater fish like salmon is one of the best ways to get your B-6 along with lots of other nutrients. Unfortunately, that precious vitamin has some negative effects in your urinary tract. You'll probably notice first off that your urine is a much brighter yellow than usual, and it also has a smell that is somewhat medicinal. B vitamins are water soluble, which means that they get passed through the kidneys into urine intact. Your urine is scented with some of the chemical compounds that flavored the original food, so it can smell fishy or even medicinal.
If you're an aficionado of spicy food, you've probably experienced a burning sensation when going to the bathroom after a particularly volcanic meal. That's because of capsaicin, a compound present in the flesh of chili peppers. A powerful irritant, capsaicin triggers an immediate reaction when it comes in contact with the body's mucous membranes. It also doesn't break down into its component parts in the digestive system, meaning it gets passed out nearly as potent as it came in. Too many chili peppers can cause frequent urination and make you develop an unpleasant odor in your waste.
If you've ever drank to excess, you know that too much booze can make your pee smell pretty awful. Interestingly enough, this isn't because of anything in the drinks being passed on. Instead, it's because of alcohol's powerful diuretic properties. As you drink, you urinate more without passing clean water into your system to rehydrate. With less water to create urine, the uric acid becomes more concentrated, and when you let it out it's typically darker and considerably more pungent. There are lots of good reasons to stay hydrated when you tipple, but stinky pee is a solid one.
The genus Brassica contains a number of vegetables that are exceptional for your health. Although people typically only eat Brussels sprouts at Thanksgiving, the tight little balls of leaves are high in fiber, vitamins A and C, and beta-carotene. Unfortunately, they also pack a dose of a less pleasant chemical called methyl-mercaptan. Don't worry, it doesn't have any detrimental effects on your body. But when methyl-mercaptan is run through your kidneys, it combines with organic sulfur compounds to create a bitter, unpleasant smell. Cabbage, turnips and cauliflower also contain methyl-mercaptan.
One of the most interesting foods that has an effect on your urinary tract is puffed wheat. Typically eaten as a breakfast cereal (think Honey Smacks for a hyper-sweetened version), puffed wheat creates a strong malty odor in the urine of certain people who eat it. Interestingly enough, unlike most of the other entries on this list, the puffed wheat urine odor smells quite a bit like the original food. There have been no recorded studies on the cause of this odor, which doesn't affect all eaters, so we can't go into any further detail onto the chemical causes.
Much like alcohol, caffeine has a notable diuretic effect, and can cause the odor of your urine to become stronger. But it also contains a chemical ingredient that can add to the bouquet, in some cases causing your bathroom to smell like a low-rent Starbucks. Caffeol is the fragrant oil that is released by coffee beans after they're roasted, and its insoluble in water.
Another methyl-mercaptan-strong vegetable, garlic is notorious for passing odors along through the urine. People who eat large amounts of Italian food often notice a strong sulfurous odor in their pee due to the garlic used in many recipes. Interestingly enough, cooking the garlic properly can reduce the amount of methyl-mercaptan passed through the kidneys.
It was in my e mail in box so I just passed it along as a public service announcement...just in case there was anyone who didn't already know all this.
Thanks Renee for the funny topic. Very informative! I appreciate your PSA!
We used to put it in our friends drinks at grad school... when they got up to use the restroom, they would come back all freaked out :-)
Spray the bowl before you go
And no one will ever know...
It comes in a variety of fragrances, too.