It is a fact that some sense of taste and smell is lost as we age. Maybe lost is not the word. Let’s say that it is greatly reduced from what it was. Learn how you can maintain your taste buds and your sniffer well into your golden years.
Both taste and smell are detected in the brain. Receptors in the nose and on the tongue detect stimuli and it is then transmitted chemically to the brain where it is interpreted as a certain smell or taste. With age, neurons can atrophy and degenerate, leaving you with a weakened sense of both.
But, like other parts of your body, if you don’t use it you will lose it. Gaining better control of these senses takes focused practice. How many times have you seen something and remembered how it smelled or tasted instead of actually experiencing the sensation? This is not active smelling or tasting, and can make those receptors lazy.
There are many ways that you can help to reduce problems with these senses.
* Practice smelling and tasting – When you smell something, take the time to deeply smell it and take in all of its nuances. The same goes for taste. Savor your food on your tongue and experience the dominant flavor and the subtle undertones as well.
* Learn to associate smells with emotions – How does a flower make you feel? Maybe it reminds you of a spring day. Music has the ability to alter our emotional state and so can smell. This exercise forces you to concentrate on the smell instead of taking for granted that one flower smells much like all the others.
* Relearn familiar smells – Let’s say that you have a wood-burning stove in your home. You’ve smelled it a thousand times so you have developed a type of immunity to it. Take the time to notice the smell again and note what you like about it. Familiar smells are the ones that we least want to forget and they are the ones that we often neglect. Take short sniffs instead of one long one.
* Avoid unsavory smells – Strong odors that smell bad can affect your sense of smell.
* Eat foods high in zinc – This mineral is supposed to help improve smell. Foods that contain zinc include pecans and oysters.
* Stop smoking – Cigarette smoke can impair your smell. Getting away from the smoke can restore freer breathing and help you notice other smells around you.
* Smell your food – Your sense of smell will help with your sense of taste. If it smells pleasant, you will salivate in anticipation of the meal.
Smell and taste are so closely related that the absence of one affects the other. Sharpening both senses through usage can make then sharper than ever.