Tag Archives: taste

Improving Your Sense of Smell is a Real Possibility

Improving Your Sense of Smell is a Real Possibility

Believe it or not, but you are actually able to work on improving your sense of smell and this is something that is often quite surprising to people. It can of course be useful in a number of situations and the following are a number of things that you can start doing straight away in order to start working on developing this particular sense.

The first thing you need to do is actually pay attention to your sense of smell as the more you use it the more trained your nose will become. Learn to identify things just by their smell and one particular exercise that is worth trying is to be blindfolded and work out what an item is just by smelling it.

Bloodhund na krajowej wystawie w Rybniku - Kam...
Bloodhound (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One exercise you should try to do in order to improve the sense is to pay attention to how cats and dogs sniff as they tend to use a series of short sniffs rather than a prolonged one and this is something that we often do ourselves. By taking their approach you will slowly increase your ability to actually pick up a scent much more easily, but do not expect to be turned into a bloodhound.

Pay attention to your environment as this is going to make a difference when it comes to your ability to pick up a scent. Look at using a humidifier in a room as the more moisture there is in the air the more moisture in your nose. This then means it is going to be more receptive to a scent; however, do not do this if there is a bad smell around as prolonged exposure to a bad smell is only going to numb the sense over time.

Apart from training your nose you should also try to avoid eating as much food that results in you creating more mucus as this will impair the sense and make it harder to distinguish different smells. This makes sense as you will have already noticed how things change when you have a head cold and this is due to congestion in the membranes of the nose which has an impact on the sense. Look at, therefore, cutting down on the amount of dairy products you eat, including ice cream and cheese as they can really promote a more stuffy sensation in your nose.

When looking at buying food try to use your nose more than your eyes so if you are walking past the bakery work out the bread that smells the most appealing and then look at sniffing out items that would go best with it. By doing this you are actually buying items your body is craving and it also strengthens the connection between smell and taste and you will be aware of how different food can be when your nose is blocked up. By understanding, and working on, the link between the two you can actually improve both senses at the same time with both being heightened as a result.

One pretty obvious way to improve the sense is to avoid any substance that has been shown to impair it in some way. Smoking is one thing to look at avoiding as is drinking as much alcohol due to the well known fact that as your blood alcohol levels begin to rise your ability to smell things decreases. Do also be warned that some medicine, especially that for colds, can also make a difference so do look for those items that contain a decongestant.

Finally, a lack of sense of smell, which has the medical term Hyposmia, can sometimes be attributed to low levels of zinc in your diet. You should, therefore, look at getting some more either through a supplement that you can take every day or by eating foods that are known to be high in the mineral. This means eating the likes of lentils, oysters, and pecans to name only a few examples or if you are taking the supplements, then try to make sure you are getting around 7mg of zinc per day.

So by doing the exercises mentioned above you should find that your sense of smell will start to improve. It does require some work, and for you to continue doing it, but you will begin to notice a gradual difference and will probably wish you had started the exercises earlier in life.

tongue

How To Heighten The Sense of Taste

Some people will say that we eat to live, and while that is technically true, many more people will tell you that we eat to taste. Cooking shows, that teach us how to blend great tasting food together, are becoming increasingly popular as we discover the wonder of taste when food is perfectly balanced. However, even though we are all seeking the ultimate taste from our cooking, very few of us are actually using the sense of taste to its full advantage!

We can sense five basic tastes. They are sour, salty, sweet, bitter, and savoury. Certain combinations, such as sweet and sour or sweet and salty, work really well together and thrill our sense of taste.

Where Does Our Sense of Taste Come From?

Our sense of taste comes from the papillae (where taste buds live) on our tongue. There are three primary papillae.

  • First, the vallate papillae form a v-shape on the back portion of the tongue and detect bitter and sour tastes.
  • Second, the foliate papillae are on either side of the tongue, and they detect sour tastes.
  • Lastly, the fungiform papillae are located on the tips and surface of the tongue, and they detect sweet and salty tastes.

Inside papillae is our taste buds. It is interesting to note that our taste buds actually transfer messages to the brain about what we taste, and our brain has the final say in the taste experience. You can even trick your taste buds with your mind. For example, if you convince yourself that the banana you are about to eat will taste bitter, and you are really convincing, then you may experience a bitter taste!

Taste buds are not the only things that play a part in determining how food tastes. Chefs and scientists alike know that, in reality, all of our senses play a part in our sense of taste. Flavor physiology, and how the combination of taste, smell, texture, temperature, appearance, and our mind can help to determine taste, is part of the curriculum for chefs in training. Even your memory can affect the way that apple crisp tastes to you. Knowing all of this information gives us a good indication as to how to heighten the sense of taste.

Tips To Heighten The Sense of Taste

  • First, and probably most importantly, you have to limit sensory distractions. Many of us will eat supper in front of the TV, and before we know it our food is gone, and we barely even tasted it! Distractions cause us to use our senses for things other than taste. Therefore, if you are using your mind and sight to watch TV, and your taste and smell get put on the backburner, then you are not going to taste your food to its full-potential taste. It is best to eat at a table without any distractions.
  • Second, you have to be willing to smell your food. About 95% of what we think is taste, is actually smell! You can experience this for yourself by plugging your nose while you eat. You will notice that you barely taste your food, if at all. This is why when we are sick, with a stuffed up nose; our taste also seems to be sick. So, make sure you are eating food that smells appealing to you and contributes positively to your overall experience of taste.
  • Thirdly, make sure that your food is visually appealing. If you are eating something that looks like a pile of poop, it can be very hard to allow your mind to convince you that it is something that tastes good.
  • Fourthly, you may want to try a fast of sorts. Our pallets are dulled because of all the high additive and high-salted food we eat. If you allow your palette some time in between eating, and then experience a whole, fresh food after some time has passed, you will notice that the taste is exceptionally good, even if it is just a tomato. A fast is great, but if you can cut out food that over stimulates your taste buds altogether, like processed food, then you will notice that food starts to have unique and special taste again, and not just fried or salty.
  • Lastly, to heighten your sense of taste during a meal, you may want to cleanse your palette in between courses. This is something that food judges often do to bring their palettes back to life, and experience the full taste of food without the previous food affecting the taste. You can clean the palette by having a drink of sparkling water or a citrus flavored drink that is not too sweet. You may even want to have some lime, grapefruit or mint sorbet on hand. This trick is used in fine dining restaurants.

In the end, if you want to heighten your sense of taste, then you have to remember that all of your senses are responsible for the flavor you experience. Limit sensory distractions, smell your food, eat food that is visually appealing, and clean your palette in between foods. This will all help you to experience the taste of food as you never experienced it before!