Men and women go through many rituals to try to attract a mate, whether it's putting on perfume or cologne, wearing an outfit they feel good in, making a few jokes, or studying up on a subject to try to impress the person they're interested in.
For men, however, there appears to be one simple thing they can do to get a few dates, and it has nothing to do with whether they've got a cool car.
A new study found that women preferred the body odour of men who ate a lot of fruits and vegetables, and were less attracted to men who ate a lot of refined carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta.
"We've known for a while that odour is an important component of attractiveness, especially for women," said study author Ian Stephen of Macquarie University in Australia.
As the researchers note, our sweat can help signal our health status, which plays a role in how we choose a mate, and in how a mate chooses us.
For the study, researchers examined the skin of 43 healthy young men using a spectrophotometer, which uses a light to find carotenoids (pigments from plants) on skin. The idea is if you eat a lot of colourful veggies, the spectrophotometer will be able to detect that colour on your skin.
The men also filled out a survey on their eating habits and then put on a clean shirt and exercised. After they began to sweat, nine women were asked to smell, describe, and rate the shirts.
"We asked the women to rate how much they liked it, how floral, how fruity," and other descriptors, Stephen explained to NPR, adding, "Women basically found that men who ate more vegetables smelled nicer."
Women basically found that men who ate more vegetables smelled nicer.
The men who ate a lot of meat didn't produce a sweat that was any more — or less — attractive to women, but their odour was more intense.
This, albeit small, study seems to back up previous research that shows that smells make a potential mate more attractive.
"Scent and scent communication do play important roles in human sexuality," Kelly Gildersleeve, a post-doctoral research fellow at Chapman University, told Men's Journal.
Scent and scent communication do play important roles in human sexuality.
In a 1995 study, researchers found that women preferred the body odours of men whose MHC compositions differed from their own, and while the study didn't go into what the men ate, it clearly shows a link between body odour and the mating process.
So it can't hurt to start eating healthier — not only to attract that special someone, but to keep yourself feeling good, too.
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