This week I want to talk a bit more about senses, in particular the sense of smell, and how we can improve ours.
We talked a few weeks ago about how our sniffers work, and how we smell things, and I mentioned that the sense of smell is the most fragile of our senses in that once it is gone, it is often impossible to reclaim. It is also one of the most impactful if we do lose it, as we often take for granted the pleasure of smelling our favorite foods, our favorite flowers, and even our favorite people. We receive so much information on a daily basis through all of our senses, it is unimaginable to be without one, but can you imagine if your senses were even stronger? That’s what I’m proposing now.
When working with wine and food your sense of smell is particularly valuable. Taste and smell are integrally connected and if your sense of smell falters, your sense of taste is weakend as well.
Try this experiment: Taste something, anything, preferably something with a strong flavor like chocolate or coffee or even sardines. Let the flavor roll around your mouth while you eat it normally. What do you taste? Where on your palate do you notice these flavors coming through? What do you enjoy and dislike about these flavors?
Now, Cleanse your palate with water and a cracker.
Now hold your nose with one hand, and taste the food again. Do you taste the same things? Are you still able to enjoy these flavors in the same way?
Probably not, Am I right? Now imagine if you’re sense of smell was suddenly gone. How would that impact your life, your happiness, and your enjoyment in the everyday experiences like your morning coffee or dinner with a friend. I think we can all agree that without our sense of smell life would look and feel dramatically different, which is why I’ve put together a list of ways to protect and improve your sense of smell and how to get the most out of your favorite moment.
Before you think about trying to improve your sniffer or expanding its knowledge base, you need to consider if your day to day activities are protecting or prohibiting your sniffing.
#1. Avoid Strong Smells.
Being around strong smells constantly, like a dirty home, or heavy perfume can make your nose less sensitive to the more delicate and subtle smells.
#2. Provide a Supportive Environment
It’s also important to avoid things which can kill your scent receptors or dry out your nose like nasal spray and cigarette smoke. They say for animals that a wet nose is a happy nose, and that is just as true for humans. You don’t want it to be runny or stuffy, but keeping your nasal passages suitably moist is important for effective sniffing. If you live or work in a dry environment this could also mean making sure you have an air humidifier around to keep your nose in fighting shape.
#3 Avoid Mucus Causing Foods
Though you definitely want an appropriate amount of moisture, you do not want congestion or a build up of mucus as that will block your scent receptors in your nose. Some foods are more prone to causing mucus production than others and dairy items are key culprits, so avoid overdoing it on milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream or they could block your pleasure receptors.
There are more than just a few reasons why exercise is good for you, and increasing your sniffing power is certainly one of them. Doctors have been unable to pinpoint why, however studies have shown that one’s sense of smell is improved after an extended workout. My theory, is that your blood is pumping and the receptors are more energized, but I’m no scientist.
#5 Get your Zinc
A lack of Zinc has been connected to weakened Olfactory powers, so make sure you’re adding this mineral into your diet, either through the foods you eat or a dietary supplement. You can find Zinc in oysters, lentils, seeds and nuts.
#6 Connect with Nature
This benefit is twofold. First, fresh air is a great way to reset your sniffer and refresh your palate. Get out into the woods and get away from pollution and the smog of city living. Secondly, If you’re out of your element you will assumedly be exposed to new scents which leads us into point number seven.
#7 Seek New Smells.
The best way to expand your sniffin powers is use and practice. You should smell everything you eat or drink before it goes into your mouth. Many sommeliers purchase practice kits which include sample jars that they sniff and identify. You can buy something similar or try making your own with spice jars. Coffee is a great purifier between scents, as well, so grab a cup of fresh brewed, black coffee and you can sniff and study ‘til your heart’s content. The more scents you expose yourself to, good and bad, the better you will be at dissecting the scents in wines and other foods. The best part is, it’s all subjective, so while you may smell or taste something entirely different than the person standing next to you at the bar. You’re both right.
Are you going to try this at home? How do you plan to use your new super power? Do you know of any other way to improve your sense of smell, or have you tried any of these before? How did they work for you? I love to hear from you, so please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org