Mosquitoes find you primarily by your scent. Although, the chemical compounds that create your personal scent are very complex, and researchers have barely scratched the surface of what makes one person smell better to mosquitoes than another.
What we do know is that mosquitoes are extremely sensitive and can smell a potential meal from over 50 meters (160 feet) away. We also know that the foods we eat can change how our bodies smell. Have you ever had a meal seasoned with pungent spices, then smelled them on your breath or skin afterwards?
Mosquitoes can also smell what you’ve been eating, and some foods are more likely than others to throw them off your scent. Try loading up on the following foods this summer and see if mosquitoes give you a miss.
Research suggests that the scent of garlic is able to ward off mosquitoes. In fact, garlic is recognized as so effective that it’s included in various commercial bug and mosquito repellents. Garlic’s distinctive smell is partially due to its unique chemical compound called allicin. When you eat garlic, you’ve likely noticed the smell of allicin as it comes through the pores of your skin. Rest assured that you don’t smell bad, you’re simply protecting yourself against mosquitoes.
Incidentally, onions have been shown to repel some insects, but not mosquitoes. This may be due to the fact onions do not contain allicin.
2. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
The strong smell of apple cider vinegar is known to repel mosquitoes and some other bugs. You can take advantage of its repelling action by simply wiping some on your skin. But, if you consume apple cider vinegar regularly, the scent may naturally come through your pores.
It’s recommended to consume at least one tablespoon (18 milliliters) of apple cider vinegar per day to have enough in your system to ward off mosquitoes. Apple cider vinegar has many other health benefits and you can add it to salad dressings, soups or other dishes. You can also drink a tablespoon of plain vinegar each day, but first check these guidelines on how to safely drink cider vinegar.
3. FOODS WITH VITAMIN B1
Anecdotal evidence suggests that vitamin B1, also called thiamine, can help deter mosquitoes. Many people have experienced a benefit of either using vitamin B1 supplements or eating foods high in vitamin B1. Unfortunately, research has not been able to support these claims.
Based on the many personal success stories, you may want to try including foods high in thiamine in your diet and see what happens. Some of the best sources of thiamine include sunflower seeds, black beans, navy beans, soy beans, lentils, brewer’s and nutritional yeasts, macadamia nuts and wheat germ.
Nootkatone is the chemical compound that gives grapefruit its familiar fragrance. Nootkatone is also proven to be an effective repellent for mosquitoes, as well as ticks, bed bugs, head lice and various other insects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working with biotechnology companies to develop a commercial bug repellent based on nootkatone. This would provide a safe and natural product to help combat disease-spreading insects like mosquitoes and ticks.
It’s not known if eating grapefruit regularly will provide enough nootkatone to repel insects from your skin. But, nootkatone and grapefruit are recognized as completely safe to eat, so it’s definitely worth a try.
5. HERBS AND SPICES
The essential oils from many different herbs and spices are recognized as effective mosquito repellents. These oils are typically applied to the skin. The effect of eating the source herbs and spices remains unknown as it has never been studied. Although, it’s very plausible that the pungent oils contained in the fresh herbs and spices could affect the smell of your skin. And considering that most herbs and spices also have many health benefits, you can’t go wrong adding more flavors to your food.