Fragrance Resource: 10 Tips to Help Sharpen Your Sense of Smell

Written by Leanna Serras

As one ages, they often expect to lose their 20/20 eyesight, sharp hearing and potentially their full head of hair. These are common signs of aging that are, unfortunately, inevitable and many have discovered ways to cope. Hair loss may not come as a surprise however many find themselves in shock when they realize that they have lost their once keen sense of smell. This, too, is a common occurrence during aging though it not often discussed. It may not seem like a problem as serious as losing vision or hearing but a person's sense of smell is extremely valuable to their well-being. A study performed by the University of Washington School of Medicine, shows that taste and smell begin to decrease around age 40-50 in women and around 50-60 in men. By the time a person is around 70 years old, they were shown to have very little sense of smell remaining. This was shown to decrease the amount of healthy food they consumed, as the taste and smell senses work hand in hand. Healthy and natural foods often have subtle tastes which become un-enjoyable when the senses are taken away. Often times those with a decreased sense of smell are more likely to suffer from food related illnesses as they are not always able to smell a rotten food before consuming it. Personal hygiene was also shown to greatly decrease along with an increase in the risk of asphyxia. Asphyxia becomes a common occurrence as a loss of smell does not allow a person the advantage of smelling gas leaks or leaks from other appliances. Small changes to diet and lifestyle can make a large difference in the sense of smell, this not only helps one regain the senses of their youth but may potentially save their life.

There are ten simple ways to repair a decreased sense of smell and regain a sense of security:

1. Looks aren't always deceiving

Choose versions of foods that look closest to their natural state to ensure that all of the essential vitamins and benefits remain intact. The brain also links the sense of taste more easily when a food is recognizable with it's natural form; this means choosing an apple over applesauce, baked potato instead of mashed potatoes, etc.

2. Let's get physical!

Exercise ensures that one remains in good physical health. Not only does exercise increase strength and endurance, studies show that the increased endorphins released during physical activity increases the sense of smell.

3. Quench your thirst

It is recommended that 8 glasses of water be consumed each day to retain proper hydration. Dehydration can effect a person's ability to smell.

4. Just say 'no' to tobacco

Avoid smoking or consuming other substances that can impair the senses. Tobacco is a large contributor to the decreased sense of smell, as is alcohol, which is known to decrease your senses dramatically as ones blood alcohol level rises.

5. Spice up your life (or at least your dinner)

Certain foods and spices can interact with your body, such as the way eyes water when an onion is cut. Though a person's sense of smell may be decreased, strong natural scents should still cause interactions with ones body which can make foods taste more than they did before the decline in the sense of smell.

6. Start from scratch

Take salt and sugar completely out of your diet and slowly add it in again. This will reset a person's taste palette which goes hand in hand with the sense of smell.

7. Pamper your nose

Aroma therapy can expose the sense of smell to scents that are unusual to one's nose. Identifying strong scents used in aroma therapy may lead to recognizing them at more subtle levels in daily life.

8. Give an allergist a call

The cause of decreased sense of smell could be related to allergies. Visit an allergist to discover if there are unknown allergies that are responsible for the lack of smell- treating any allergies could significantly increase the range of smell.

9. Avoid stinky smells

It has been shown that pro-longed exposure to strong odors can numb a person's sense of smell. Avoiding strong odors will not only be a pleasant experience but it will make your body more capable of noticing a variety of scents.

10. Skip that second (or third) helping of dinner

Over-eating is unhealthy for your body and your sense of smell. Eating too much leads to nausea and bloating which have also been shown to decrease a person's sensitivity to smell.

Aging Changes in the Senses

Stop Smoking: Recovery Timetable

Heavy Drinking Impairs Sense of Smell

Disorders of Taste and Smell

Allergies That Affect Smell

Mold Allergies and Sense of Smell

The Spice is Right: Healthy Recipes That Turn Up the Heat

Healthy Spices Worth Adding to Your Recipes

Scents That Increase Brain Power

Spicy Foods & Your Sinuses

Sensory Loss In Aging

Original Nutrients in Unprocessed Foods