What odd reactions do you get from food?
We all know that food provides core metabolic functions such as providing nutrients to power and constantly rebuild your body, but that’s all way too complex and involved for a 300-word blog piece. So let’s stick to low-hanging fruit: the weird and wonderful effects of various ingredients. I’ve been asking people about their weird food reactions for years, and here are a few to get you to open up and share yours.
‘Apples make my legs itch.’
Sounds weird, but apples can, indeed cause allergic reactions, although it’s usually OAS – Oral Allergy Syndrome, rather than anything leggy.
Dreams – or at least the ability to remember your dreams - are often associated with disrupted sleep. There may be many causes, but one amino acid protein known to stimulate the brain and so potentially cause that disrupted sleep is tyrosine, created in the body from tyramine in foods. It’s in alcohol, chocolate, cheese, and according to this unverified source, potatoes.
‘Asparagus makes my wee smell awful’
The asparagus effect is pretty widespread – around half of the 500 or so people I’ve asked have experienced the same. There’s been a bit of disagreement on what causes the smell, but it’s likely to be mercaptan, a sulphur-containing compound. Interestingly, it seems that asparagus affects everyone’s urine, but not everyone can smell its effects. Oh, and while many people think the smell is grim, Proust claimed that it “…transforms my chamber-pot into a flask of perfume.” I think I agree.
‘Cashews make me sneeze’
‘Golden syrup makes me cough’
‘Curry gives me smelly sweat’
Personally, cheese seems to make me dream, chillies give me hiccups, asparagus makes my wee smell, Jerusalem artichokes make me pump like that cheeky Icelandic volcano, and butter substitutes make me sad. What about you?
Stefan Gates is a BBC presenter and food writer.