With the massive heatwave that’s currently making everyone sweat buckets all over the US, you might also have noticed that the heat brought with it some unpleasant guests, aka mosquitoes. Yep, we all hate them, and they are probably the most irritating creatures on this earth. We can’t escape them, no matter how hard we try, but we can try to keep them from biting us by making a few small changes to our diet. Yes, really.
If you’re that person who always gets bitten even when you’re among an entire group of humans, you’ve probably tried every kind of mosquito repellent you could lay your hands on. Maybe they worked, maybe they didn’t, but new studies have popped up that show your diet might actually be the key to keeping those bloodsuckers away for good. Of course, not all these options are guaranteed to work for everyone, but you might find something that ends up working for you.
A bit of garlic a day keeps the bloodsuckers away
According to MindBodyGreen, the first thing you might want to try is garlic. You’ve heard all about how garlic helps to fend off vampires, well it’s possible that it’ll also get rid of the tinier variety of bloodsuckers. Previously thought to be a myth, new studies have shown that garlic might be effective at keeping mosquitoes away after all. If you love garlic, this will be a no brainer. If you don’t, try to incorporate small amounts of it into your diet.
The allicin in the garlic is thought to be the active component that makes the mosquitoes pull up their noses for your blood. To make sure that the garlic actually works, you need to try and leave the allicin intact – this means that you should consume the garlic as raw as possible. Don’t worry, no one’s asking you to eat it all at once – you can crush it and add it to some of your favorite dishes. Of course, there’s also the option of drinking supplements. These contain bioavailable allicin, but as with all things, natural is the best way to go.
Get yourself some lemongrass
If garlic is not your jam at all, you can opt to try lemongrass. It’s actually a great food source of citronella, which, as we all know, is great for repelling mosquitoes. Doctors have not yet been able to prove that consuming it will actually have an effect on mosquitoes, but there are anecdotal reports that claim it works wonders when ingested.
There’s no downside to trying it, really, because it’s delicious and can also be added to a wide array of dishes. For example, you can use it in a curry (just remove it before eating) or even steep it in a tea. According to Mosquito Magnet, it’s also commonly used in Thai cooking and can even be added to some soups. Having a barbeque in the backyard? Serve your guests some lemongrass wings to keep the mosquitoes away.
Put your trust in good old grapefruit
Another miracle worker is grapefruit. It contains a compound called nootkatone, which studies have found helps to prevent mosquitoes and even ticks from biting you. It’s still not clear how much grapefruit you need to consume to repel mosquitoes effectively, but we’ll say just starting to add it to your diet is already taking a step in the right direction. You can add it to your breakfast or eat it as a dessert, plus, grapefruit works great as a summer snack.
Tired of that itch? Chilies might be the fix
If you’re looking to add some spice to your life while also giving the mosquitoes a run for their money, try chili peppers. These contain an active ingredient called capsaicin, which is responsible for the chili’s spiciness. That burning sensation you get when eating chilies is the very reason it helps to repel mosquitoes and other bugs – it serves as an irritant to them, which means your chances of getting bitten is a lot less.
Mosquitoes also hate the smell your body releases when you consume capsaicin, which means they’re going to give your blood a pass. Capsaicin is also used as a natural insecticide in many parts of the world, so the chances of this one working are pretty good.
Apple cider vinegar for the win
Something else you might want to give a go is apple cider vinegar. You might’ve heard of this one before – it’s commonly been used to repel mosquitoes for years. It alters your scent, but don’t worry, you’ll still smell the same way to the people around you. The mosquitoes, however, will be flying the other way.
Many people recommend you take one undiluted tablespoon of cider vinegar once a day to keep the mosquitoes away, but you can also mix it with honey to give it a more pleasant taste. Hey, if it works, it’ll be all worth it. If you really can’t stomach it, start to add it to a soup, homemade salad dressings, or, believe it or not, cocktails.
Tomatoes are good for everything
Tomatoes should become your new best friend when summer arrives – they are rich in thiamine, better known as vitamin B1. Even though there are no studies to back it up, many people claim foods rich in thiamine can be effective at keeping mosquitoes away. There have been some heated debates on whether this is true or not, but one thing that apparently really works is rubbing the juices of a tomato on a mosquito bite to stop the itching. Even if tomatoes do not keep them from biting, we’ll take the juice for the itching, thanks.
You might also be consuming stuff the mosquitoes actually like
Now that you know what types of food could possibly keep the mosquitoes away, you should also know what kind of food and beverages make your blood more desirable.
Steer clear of the beer
Beer, for some reason no one yet understands, draws mosquitoes to you like nothing else. Researches are still trying to figure this one out, but they do know for sure that beer does attract mosquitoes. Even if you consume just a small amount, even as little as a 12 oz. bottle, you’ll end up attracting those bloodsuckers.
Mosquitoes love their salt fix as much as you do
Sorry, lovers of all things salty – mosquitoes love the salt as much as you do. Foods high in salt cause your body to produce high amounts of lactic acid, which research has shown attracts mosquitoes. This is also the reason why mosquitoes tend to bite you more during exercise. According to the New York Times, exercise boosts your lactic acid levels, which makes you smell oh-so-good to those little fellas.
Who knew mosquitoes had a sweet tooth?
If you love sugar more than salt, we have a bit of bad news for you too. There are people who suggest that consuming a lot of sweet foods makes your skin sweeter and thus more appealing to mosquitoes. Others, however, say that this has no effect. We really want to agree with the latter. There’s no research to back this, so if you want to go ahead and try it, do so. Perhaps it does work miracles.
Try it and see what works
There’s no guarantee that any of the above will work miracles, but being more mindful of what could work and trying it out might just help you to figure out what works for you. Getting rid of all those irritating, itchy mosquito bites will most certainly be worth it. Just imagine the satisfaction when you realize you’re no longer being bitten and you can say, “Suck on that, bloodsuckers!”
Over to You: Do you have any miracle workers to fight off mosquitoes? Help your fellow Bad Yogis out and drop them in the comments.