Sharpen Your Senses

Want to enjoy every bite (and sniff) of your favourite foods? Strengthen your sense of taste and sense of smell with these sensible strategies.

From: Stealth Health, Reader's Digest Canada

Serve Food That Looks Like Itself

Forget fancy-schmancy presentation. If you’re serving fish, keep it looking like a fish. Your sense of taste is stronger if your brain can connect what you’re eating with how it looks.

Buckle Up!

A common cause of loss of smell (which then directly affects taste) is automobile accidents, even low-speed crashes, says Alan Hirsch, M.D., neurological director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. Any impact can shift the brain within your skull, tearing delicate nerve fibres that connect your nose to your brain.

Go for a Walk or Jog

Go for a brisk, 10-minute walk or run. Our sense of smell is higher after exercise. Researchers suspect it might be related to additional moisture in the nose.

Drink Water

Drink a glass of water every hour or so. Dry mouth—whether due to medication or simply dehydration—can adversely affect your sense of taste, says Evan Reiter, M.D., an otolaryngologist at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Eye & Ear Specialty Center in Richmond.

Eat Oysters

Shuck a dozen oysters. Among their other benefits, oysters are one of the highest food sources of zinc, and zinc deficiencies contribute to a loss of smell as well as taste.

Butt Out

Stub out that cigarette and make it your last. Nothing screws up the smell receptors in your nose and the taste receptors on your tongue like cigarettes. Long-term smoking can even permanently damage the olfactory (a.k.a., sniffing) nerves in the back of your nose.

Eat Only When Hungry

Our sense of smell (and thus taste) is strongest when we’re hungriest.

Have a Humidifier

Humidify your air in the winter. Our sense of smell is strongest in the summer and spring, says Dr. Hirsch, most likely because of the higher moisture content in the air.

Eat in Public

Eat in a restaurant or with other people. Dr. Hirsch calls this the “herd response.” He cites studies that find that eating in the presence of other people makes food taste better than eating alone. Plug Your Nose
Stay away from the diaper pail and other stinky smells. Prolonged exposure to bad smells (like the sewer plant up the road) tends to wipe out your ability to smell, says Dr. Hirsch. So if you must be exposed to such odours on a prolonged basis, wear a mask over your nose and mouth that filters out some of the bad smells.

Spice It Up

Add spices to your food. Even if your sense of smell and taste has plummeted, you should still retain full function in your “irritant” nerve, which is the nerve that makes you cry when you cut an onion, or makes your eyes water when you taste peppermint or smell ammonia. So use spices like hot chili powder to spice up your food.


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