Every single one of the five senses - sight, smell, sound, taste and touch - has a role to play in your quality of life and overall health. Honing these senses can therefore only be a good thing, while any impairment in these senses can have a debilitating effect on your life. This is especially true in the case of the sense of smell, which has recently come into focus during the COVID-19 pandemic as anosmia or the loss of sense of smell is counted among one of the symptoms of the viral infection.
A 2019 study published in the journal Clinical Otolaryngology indicated that problems like partial loss of smell, smell distortion or dysfunction and smelling phantom smells are all issues that are common and on the rise. Many people don’t even realise they have such issues until it leads to a complete loss of smell. The factors that contribute to these olfactory dysfunctions are wide ranging, from infections and injuries to neurological disorders and side effects of medications. Any of them can affect your ability to smell.
The only way you can ensure that any change in your sense of smell is immediately noticeable is by honing it. The following are some of the easiest ways to improve your sense of smell.
1. Smell a variety: The more you use your sense of smell, the better it’s likely to get. Smell a wide variety of things around you, from lentils, spices and flowers to perfumes, grass and wood. Be aware of what you’re smelling. This simple practise can help you improve your sense of smell.
2. Work on your scent IQ: You don’t have to take sommelier classes or anything, but you can easily train your sense of smell to improve your scent IQ. The easiest way to do this is by closing your eyes and learning to identify an object by sniffing it. Sniffing for longer can activate your brain’s ability to recognise known smells.
3. Get vitamins: A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to olfactory dysfunction and a partial or complete loss of smell. Include enough sources of vitamin B12 in your diet, like fish, meat, eggs, chicken, milk, yoghurt and cheese. If you’re vegan or vegetarian then consult a doctor about dietary supplements to avoid this deficiency.
4. Quit smoking: It’s not just your lungs that are harmed when you smoke. Studies have shown that smoking can damage both your sense of smell as well as your sense of taste. Kicking the butt is therefore a sure-shot way of improving your sense of smell.
For more information, read our article on Loss of sense of smell.
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