I’m a doctor – these are the 3 foods you didn’t know could make your urine smell weird
- Dr Semiya Aziz, GP in London, advises seeing a doctor for any persistent change
- It’s bad news for coffee fans as it is a common trigger of odd-smelling urine
Many don’t think twice about going to the toilet for a wee.
But, sometimes funky-smelling pee can leave you feeling panicked and questioning what is behind the odour.
Here, MailOnline reveals the top three foods which could be the cause of your whiffy urine, according to a doctor.
Dr Semiya Aziz, a London-based GP, said that while an unusually-scented wee is typically harmless, you should consult your doctor if you notice a persistent change.
Coffee compounds and antioxidants are absorbed by the digestive tract, broken down into waste products called metabolites, then excreted in urine, which can make urine smell
It’s bad news for coffee aficionados. Coffee is a common trigger of funky-smelling urine.
Compounds and antioxidants inside the beans are absorbed by the digestive tract, broken down into waste products called metabolites, then excreted in urine, which can make urine smell.
On top of this, caffeine is a diuretic — meaning it increases urine production.
As a result, those who drink large amounts of coffee can become dehydrated, making their urine have a higher metabolite concentration and stronger smell.
Dr Aziz said: ‘The compound found in coffee may give urine a stronger and more distinct smell.
‘While it can act as a diuretic, it can also lead to dehydration, which in turn can lead to concentrated urine and a more noticeable smell.’
While the average person in the UK and the US drinks around two cups daily, many rely on five cups to get through a working day.
Smelly urine is not the only downside to consuming so much of the hot beverage. The copious amounts of caffeine can have serious impacts on your heart.
Consuming high doses (more than 500mg, around five cups of coffee) can lead to anxiety, restlessness, insomnia and increased heart rate.
One cup can have 80 to 100mg.
Asparagus, garlic and onions
It is not surprising pungent foods can lead to stinky urine.
Sulphur-loaded foods such as asparagus, garlic and onions can have a massive impact on not only the smell of your wee, but also the colour.
Methyl mercaptan is a sulphur-based compound in these foods that is absorbed into the bloodstream and passed through the body’s renal system — the kidney, ureters and the urethra.
Sulphur-loaded foods such as asparagus, garlic and onions can have a massive impact on not only the smell of your wee but also the colour
It is a common cause of funky smelly urine described as rotten cabbage.
However, not everyone can detect the stench.
It is estimated that less than 50 per cent of people can smell a change in urine after eating sulphur-packed foods such as asparagus.
Some also break down the sulphur byproducts quicker, so there is not enough passing through the body’s renal system to make any impact.
Dr Aziz said: ‘Asparagus is a vegetable which contains a compound called asparagusic acid, which produces a sulphur-like odour when broken down by the body.
‘Luckily not everyone can detect this odour, but those who do, may notice a strong, pungent smell shortly after consuming asparagus.’
The ingredients that give your curry its smell may also leave your urine smelling odd.
Spices such as cumin, turmeric and coriander are all well-known culprits of stinky wee.
The aromatic chemicals which give those delicious dishes their enticing smell can be maintained as they pass through the body.
Even after all your food has been digested, the smelly compounds can still pass through your kidneys and be noticeable in your wee.
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS
• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count
• Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain
• 30 grams of fibre a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and large baked potato with the skin on
• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks) choosing lower fat and lower sugar options
• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consuming in small amounts
• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day
• Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men a day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide
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