Here’s how I look at it, taste and smell are in a courtship with each other about to be married and the ‘seeing’ part - the visual, is like the celebrant at the wedding. There are many sensations that go along with decisions about eating and there’s a heap of science that backs that up? Let’s look into it, shall we!
Although sight is not technically part of taste, it certainly influences perception. Interestingly, food and drink are identified predominantly by the senses of smell and sight, not necessarily taste! Pure taste sensations include sweet, sour, salty, bitter, savoury and even fat. Cells that recognize these flavours reside in taste buds located on the tongue and in the roof of the mouth.
When food and drink are placed in the mouth, taste cells are activated and we perceive a flavour. Yip hee! So, whatever we are eating or sipping invariably contacts and activates sensory cells, located side-by-side with the taste cells, that allow us to perceive qualities such as temperature, spiciness, bitterness or creaminess.
To our brains, “taste” is actually a fusion of a food’s taste, smell and touch into a single sensation. Wallah! This combination of qualities takes place because, during chewing or sipping, all sensory information originates from a common location: whatever it is we’re snacking on. Further, “flavour” is a more accurate term for what we commonly refer to as taste; therefore, smell not only influences but is an integral part of the flavour experience.
What Happens When We Lose Our Sense Of Smell…..
It’s always a bummer when you can’t enjoy the flavour of your potentially delicious meal or the taste of a new creation. It’s because you have lost your sense of taste along with the sense of smell.
Here’s where it gets really interesting. The ‘white blood cells in your body produce chemicals to kill virus-infected cells. This causes increased mucous secretions as well as nasal swelling and inflammation.’
80% of our taste is related to smell, so it’s not surprising that most of the flavour of a food, any food, comes from your ability to smell it.
The tongue is your taste organ, as it can sense salty, sweet, sour, bitter and savoury. “Our sense of smell (known as olfaction) provides the rest of a food’s flavour, which is why it’s difficult to appreciate food flavour when you have nasal obstruction from a cold or stuffy nose. I believe this is natures way of saying, ‘take a break, it’s not really necessary for you to eat right now!’
The olfactory cleft high up in the roof of your nose senses smell. Here, special cells sense different odours found in the air that we breathe and then send signals to the brain via the olfactory nerve. Anything that interrupts taste sensations being transmitted to the brain will cause taste problems.
When you have a cold, the swelling causes inflammation and obstruction, which impairs your smell. The flavour of the food is produced only after the taste sensation is combined with a smell. So, if a stuffy nose impairs your sense of smell, it will also decrease your perception of taste.
When your nose is stuffy, blocked up, taste receptors in your taste buds now have the task of assessing food flavour in different taste molecules all on their own. So, even though you have around 2000 and 5000 taste buds on your tongue, in your mouth and throat (with each containing 50 to 100 taste receptor cells) they still don’t come close to what your nose inherently knows! The nose is so smart and so interconnected with emotions and thoughts. It’s impossible to do this subject justice in just one article. However, I’ll still give it a go.
The two smell (olfactory) receptors found high up in your nasal passages have up to six million cells and can sniff out differences of at least one trillion odours. This is remarkable, and helps us to understand the ‘Limbic memory associated with smells’.
We know that losing your sense of taste when you have a cold can make you feel miserable, but don’t worry, it usually doesn’t last long. The good news is ‘your normal taste should return when the infection passes.’ The bad news is, the more you neglect rest and simpler foods, the more chance you have of succumbing to illness again. xx
In short, there’s nothing wrong with getting a cold, this is the bodies way of doing some housekeeping, the worst thing you can do is try to stop the process. Allowing the body to do the housekeeping in its own time, is crucial for overall wellness and vitality.
Essential Oils That Help with the healing process.
We have come to an understanding that essential oils, are ‘essential’ in helping the body adjust to changes, in healing emotions and assisting with an overall good feeling and even unblocking a ‘blocked up nose’ ‘naturally!’ When it comes to taste, we know that smell is the director. Essential oils like Easy Air EO Blend, which is known to help people regain composure during and after illness, also assist singers and vocalist expand their lungs before concerts and performing, is one to include in your medicine cabinet. Easy Air is a blend made up of Eucalyptus, Cardamom, Laurel Leaf, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Lemon and Ravensara (a powerful antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal oil). Most of the oils in this blend have been studied for their abilities to open and soothe the tissues of the respiratory system, also for their abilities to combat airborne bacteria and viruses that could be harmful to the system.
For more information about Smell, Taste, Essential Oils and Living on purpose, contact Annie Clark. 0402 166 187 or check out Annie’s web site – www.anneclark.com.au.