The human nose can detect thousands of different scents. Scents are linked to emotions and can be vital in forming strong memories or influencing your state of mind. They can calm, delight, and even comfort us, or they can even enrage and depress us. As important as scents are to the human psyche, they are also vital in our ability to taste the food and drinks we consume. While not as sensitive as an animal’s sense of smell, the human sense of smell is still quite adept and trainable. Many things in the environment at large and around us can have a major impact on our ability to properly perceive scents. The biggest factor in improving your sense of smell is maintaining proper health.
Things to avoid that can damage your sense of smell.
Smoking is an unhealthy habit that damage many things, from your lungs to your teeth. Among the things it can have a negative impact on is your sense of smell. Avoid smoking or being around a lot of second hand smoke to keep your nose working well. Also avoid lingering around pungent and foul odors. The longer you expose yourself to a negative scent the more deadened your sense of smell will become to compensate for the exposure. When people say you adjust to it, you really are just loosing function not adapting. Excess mucus can be caused from consuming too much dairy, and just like the stuffiness from a cold, it can cause you to have a reduced ability to smell. Certain medications, in particular ones applied directly inside the nose can affect your sense of smell as well. Always check the packaging and labels or ask your pharmacist if something you’ve been prescribed may affect your sense of smell.
Things you can do to keep your nose healthy and functioning.
Keeping the nose healthy is vital to maintaining your sense of smell. Using a humidifier in dry conditions can help your body maintain proper moisture levels and reduce the likeliness of getting dried out and impaired sinuses. You can also be sure to get enough nutrients in your diet. Vitamin B12 and Zinc are essential to good nose health and are easy to maintain with a well balanced multivitamin or dietary supplements.
Just as with muscle memory or any skill, your sense of smell is subject to needing conditioning and practice. Use short, shallow inhales, like an animal might sniff at something, to take in new scents or enjoy current ones. Sniffing is more effective in capturing a scent then deep inhales. Practice identifying scents by using a blindfold and having someone hold up different things for your to try and identify by scent alone. Use a mix of both familiar and new scents to help retain and train new patterns of scent. General health and fitness can also be a factor in keeping your sense of smell up to snuff, as studies have shown your sense of smell is heightened after working out.