Smell and taste are senses we take for granted. When we smell something it can put us in memory of happy days. If we taste a certain food it may call to mind grandma’s cooking. However as we age we can lose our sense of smell. If that happens food does not taste that good because smell has a lot to do with taste.
What can cause the loss of smell? If you get the flu or if you have allergies, it may affect your sense of smell. Further you may find that medications can affect your sense of smell. Cancer treatments can affect your sense of smell as well.
Of interest is that your sense of smell greatly affects your sense of taste. The scent of food helps give it the flavor we enjoy. Your sense of taste and your sense of smell are intertwined.
It is important you have your sense of smell because it can tell you if you have gas leaks, smoke, or household chemicals in your home. If your sense of smell and taste change you are not likely to maintain your diet which can cause weight loss and depression among other things.
Years ago I was a heavy smoker. I smoked three packs a day of a strong cigarette. I was in business so I ate out a lot with clients. The food was often very rich. People who ate with me were astounded at the amount of seasoning I used. This included my wife. The simple fact was that smoke covered my taste buds and also infiltrated my nose. After I quit smoking I recovered some but not all of my tasting capabilities. That is one of the prices you may pay for smoking.
How can you battle this problem? First, know that this may only be temporary. Tell your doctor who is an otolaryngologist whether or not you can smell anything, when the problem started and what medicine(s) you are taking.
If you are having cancer treatments you should eat cold foods like pudding and have five small meals a day instead of three large ones. Also eat fresh vegetables and drink fluids like water, tea and juice. If you add color and texture to your diet with foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes and yellow squash you will find the color and texture help the food to taste better.
The loss of smell and taste is not something you should stand by and endure. If you work with your doctor and continuously go after the problem there is a good chance you will obtain most of your lost senses back.
“Smell and Taste: Spice of Life,” Brochure, “Age Page,” National Institute on Aging (NIH), May 2009