Effects of Smelling on the Sense of Taste

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Smelling influences your sense of taste.

A spoonful of sugar might "make the medicine go down," but holding your nose will also make it easier to swallow because you cannot smell the unpleasant culprit. Your nose and mouth are both part of your respiratory system, and they work closely together to help you breathe and taste. So they do affect one another in good ways and bad.

  1. Sense of Smell

    • When you have a cold, you often get a stuffy or runny nose. This prevents you from inhaling aromas from food, so it adversely affects your sense of taste. When you are able to breathe in through your nose, you can smell up to 10,000 varieties of smell, according to Science Project Ideas's website. That might be why soup is about the only thing that sounds good when you have a cold. Once food is actually in your mouth, it gives off smells that must enter your nose to be detected. With blocked nasal passages they will not be noticed.

    Sense of Taste

    • You taste four types of flavors (bitter, sweet, sour and salty) with specific parts of your tongue. Your tongue can also detect a fifth that comes from the food preservative MSG. But take away your other senses like seeing and smelling and food will lack taste and appear bland. You just cannot fully taste a succulent meal without being able to sniff properly.

    Smell Conditions

    • Not only does a cold make it hard to smell, but other conditions do too. Allergies, sinusitis and nasal polyps will all negatively affect your sense of taste. So could hormones or dental issues. Also, taking specific medications can dull both smell and taste. Even a head injury or car accident that shifts your brain inside your skull might diminish your senses. Everyone who ages has a diminished ability to smell because it changes as you get older.

    Improving Sense of Smell

    • You can take certain actions to improve your sense of smell and therefore increase your taste sensations too. Exercise is one of these. After exercising, your sense of smell is heightened, so taste sensations will be more prominent too. It may have to do with more moisture produced in the nasal passages. Another way to improve smell and taste is to give up smoking because it wreaks havoc on associated receptors, thus impairing your whole eating experience.

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