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Why Asparagus and Beets Affect Urine

Orange Skin and Other Food's Weird Effects on the Body

Fruits and veggies are full of vitamins and nutrients, but eating them can do some funky things to your body. We all know that beans can make you gassy and onions can cause bad breath, but here are some of produce's effects on the body that might not be as familiar.

  • Asparagus: After eating some grilled spears with dinner, you may notice an odoriferous effect when you use the restroom. Does everyone experience smelly urine after eating asparagus? No, but if it happens to you, it's completely harmless. Mercaptan is the culprit. This compound found in the green stalks causes the ammonia- or sulfur-like smell to be released when you relieve yourself.
  • Beets: You enjoyed some delicious beet salad at your friend's barbecue and hours later a visit to the powder room has you reaching for your phone to dial 911. Don't be alarmed! Many people experience reddish-colored urine after they eat beets. It's either caused by a genetic condition known as Beeturia (that's the real name!) or an iron deficiency. A trip to your doctor for a quick blood test will let you know if you need to include more iron-rich foods in your diet.
  • Carrots: A person needs 2,310 international units (IU) of vitamin A a day. One carrot contains 10,255 IU, half a cup of red pepper has 2,333 IU, and half a cup of sweet potato contains 15,740 IU. If you're a fan of these foods, it's easy to overdo it on vitamin A. Your skin can become saturated, which results in an orange glow. This symptom alone isn't harmful, but if it's coupled with blurred vision, nausea, irregular periods, and hair loss, you've probably overdosed on vitamin A and it's time to cut back. Sadly, getting too much vitamin A while pregnant can also cause birth defects, so don't ignore that orange tint!

Find out what food causes a color change in your number two.

  • Blueberries: Eating too many while berry picking may turn your poop blueish black, but it's nothing to worry about.
  • Zucchini: When weeding your veggie garden, it's safest to sport some gloves because the prickly leaves and stems (and sometimes the veggies themselves) of zucchini, Summer squash, pumpkin, or cucumber plants can cause a red, dotty, itchy rash known as contact dermatitis. If you experience this uncomfortable irritation, immediately wash your skin with cold water and a mild soap.
  • Butternut squash: This doesn't happen to everyone, but while peeling and cutting butternut squash, you may notice a strange allergic reaction on your hands known as Cucurbita Moschata dermatitis. The skin may get wrinkly, tight, rough, dry, or peel off, due to a reaction to the veggies' sap. Wearing rubber gloves should protect your skin so you can still enjoy your favorite recipes like this Butternut Squash Dip.

Have you noticed other foods that have strange effects on your body?

Image Source: Thinkstock
Join The Conversation
Skorpio Skorpio 6 years
If I get too close to Fresh tomatoes from the garden it causes me to get a rash on my hands and arms.
Susi-May Susi-May 6 years
My Fare Foodie, That sounds like a full on allergic reaction. You should talk to your doc about that.
amber512 amber512 6 years
I have totally had the asparagus thing happen. And when I was a baby I turned slightly orange because all my mom could get me to eat was sweet potatoes and carrots.
christinaorso christinaorso 6 years
where's the info about the beets?
My-Fare-Foodie My-Fare-Foodie 6 years
I've had a bad reaction after eating raw yellow beets. My throat seemed to have closed off and it was difficult to breathe. Has this happened to anyone else?
Jenny-Sugar Jenny-Sugar 6 years
I get a horrible itchy rash when I touch zucchini and cucumber plants. My skin gets all red and dotty, and it itches for a while after.
nikkisoda nikkisoda 6 years
Wow, I never knew that I was getting an allergic reaction from Butternut Squash. That happens to my hands every time. Ha, the more you know. =)
karinacocina karinacocina 6 years
haha im always slightly orange due to my love of carrots and sweet potatoes. another strange healthy food reaction? ever hear of the mango rash?
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