5 Antisocial Foods You Should Keep Eating

Updated: Apr. 20, 2021

You might want to dodge their after-effects, but these unfriendly, healthy foods are delicious. Here's why you should keep eating them.

The worse it smells, the better it is

You might want to dodge their after-effects, but many of these positively unfriendly foods are good for you—and they taste delicious. So how do you enjoy them without offending everyone around you?

White garlic pile texture. Fresh garlic on market table closeup photo. Vitamin healthy food spice image. Spicy cooking ingredient picture. Pile of white garlic heads. White garlic head heap top view

Garlic and raw onion

The effects are immediate and can last for hours—the smell on your breath will leave your companions’ eyes watering and you reaching for the mouth freshener well into the next day.

Why it happens
Garlic and onions contain sulfur compounds that are very smelly and can contribute to bad breath. The smell doesn’t just come from particles of food left stuck in your teeth; as the foods are digested, the pungent oils they contain are absorbed into your bloodstream, then carried around your body to your lungs. You breathe them out until the foods are eliminated from your body.

Why you should eat them anyway
Adding herbs, spices, garlic, and onions to food means you need less salt, so it’s a healthier alternative, says accredited Rebecca Valle, a dietitian at Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. “Garlic and onions also contain phytochemicals that are thought to protect against diseases and promote good health, so they’re not all bad,” she says.

What you can do about it
Eat less of the garlic and onion, and drink plenty of water, as good hydration will ease the problem. Drinking milk also helps reduce the compounds that cause garlic breath. Chewing on parsley or natural chewing gum, sucking on a mint or sipping peppermint tea will also help. Halitosis can be a sign of poor digestive function or dental hygiene, so see your doctor if your bad breath continues.

Organic carrots
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You’d have to eat them in large quantities, but too many carrots can give your skin an orange tinge.

Why it happens
It’s called carotenemia—a harmless condition in which an overload of beta-carotene turns the skin orange. It’s most commonly seen in vegetarians and small children, who may be given a lot of carrots as mushed-up baby food, and is a condition that’s sometimes confused with jaundice.

Why you should eat them anyway

Carrots are high in vitamin A, an antioxidant that is good for your eyes.

What you can do about it
Your skin reflects your diet and lifestyle. Drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, and make sure your diet is full of variety. Particularly good for skin are omega-3 fatty acids, derived from fish, zinc, B vitamins and vitamin C.

Asparagus texture
Alberto Zornetta/Shutterstock


It’s been well documented that asparagus makes urine smell—but only in some people. About half the population is affected, while the other half are “non-excretors”, for whom it makes no difference. It’s now thought that your genes determine not only whether your urine emits an odor after eating asparagus, but also whether you can smell it. (And one study found it took 4.7 hours for the asparagus smell to disappear.)

Why it happens
It’s the sulfur compounds in asparagus that smell as they are expelled from your body. Although the vegetable has been a delicacy since Roman times, according to an article in the US medical journal Drug Metabolism and Disposition, mentions of the “fetid smell” of asparagus only started occurring in the 1700s—about the time sulfur and sulfate were introduced as fertilizers to improve its taste.

Why you should eat it anyway
Asparagus is a great source of dietary fiber and also contains the B vitamin folate.

What you can do about it

Reduce the amount of asparagus you eat in one sitting and drink plenty of water to flush out the chemicals. “Smelly urine may also be a sign of a urinary tract infection,” warns naturopath and director of education at Blackmores, Pam Stone. “So see your healthcare professional if symptoms persist.”

Homemade Barbecue Baked Beans with pork in a bowl
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Baked beans

There’s no polite way of putting it: beans make you fart. The more you eat, the more explosive you’ll be.

Why it happens
Beans and pulses are high in soluble fiber, which is not broken down until it reaches the large intestine. Here, when it’s finally digested, it produces gas.

Why you should eat them anyway
A high-fiber diet is essential to ward off many diseases and keep your digestive system healthy. It’s been shown to have benefits for diabetes, blood cholesterol levels and weight control.

What you can do about it
Holding in farts can cause issues, so don’t get into the habit of doing that. Pam Stone suggests herbs such as peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm, ginger and licorice to help soothe a bloated and gassy tummy. “Drink these herbs as a strong tea,” she says. Probiotics may also help over a period of time, while digestive enzymes taken with food can improve the digestive processes. Long-term bowel upsets can be a sign of a food intolerance or irritable bowel syndrome, so you should see your doctor if this is happening.

glass of red wine
Evgeny Karandaev/Shutterstock

Red wine

We all know the red wine smile: drink too much and you start to resemble Dracula.

Why it happens
Red wine contains polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that stains the teeth. Its alcohol content also has acidic properties that can wear tooth enamel.

Why you should drink it anyway
A moderate amount of red wine helps reduce the chance you’ll develop periodontal disease. Its high antioxidant content is good for preventing illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, though only in small quantities: the current recommendation is no more than two standard drinks a day.

What you can do about it
Thoroughly rinse your mouth after you finish to prevent stains. And brush regularly.