Sunday, March 19, 2017

Your Sense of Smell, Pollution & Weight Gain - Are They Connected?

The sense of smell is a vital sense of perception that tends to be underrated in our lives. On a physical level smell can alert us to a dangerous situation like a gas leak or spoiled food. It also triggers our sense of taste, making food less or more appealing (imagine the odors of raw cabbage or cinnamon) On a mental level level smell is associated with the part of the brain that processes emotions and memory.  Certain smells can trigger memories and emotions in us (think of Grandma's chicken soup or homemade cookies).

The sense of smell in Ayurveda is known as the gateway to the brain.  Using aromas can affect a person's physiology immediately and they can affect a person in an unconscious, subtle manner.  Ayurveda and aromatherapy use smell as a healing modality.

If our ability to smell is impaired, life becomes less enjoyable.  Food tastes bland, we can't enjoy the aroma of flowers or a favorite perfume and the emotional high from smelling things we have grown to love.

Science has recently found pollution and other environmental factors in our modern age are ruining mankind's ability to smell.  Further, the researchers associated with the study are finding that people with weakened smell ability can no longer detect the more subtle nuances of food fragrances. Flavors become less distinct, making them crave foods with stronger, more pronounced flavors, particularly salty and sweet tastes.  These increased cravings cause people to eat more compulsively and put on extra weight.

The sensation of taste is intrinsic to out eating experience. Enjoying the smell and taste of a food enhances our enjoyment and thus our satiety. People eat more when they are not feeling satisfied.

So, how can we maintain our sense of smell despite pollution? The healthier and stronger we are, the less likely we are to lose our sense of smell.  It all comes down to good maintenance; a healthy diet, exercise (a scientific study has shown exercise lessens the the loss of smell in older adults) and adequate sleep.  It is also helpful to "exercise" your sense of smell.  Try concentrating on the smell of your food before you eat it. Also, take the opportunity everyday to smell different smells like coffee, fruit, flowers and herbs to use the smell receptors in your brain.

Yes, your sense of smell, pollution and weight gain are connected....

Stay healthy & well,

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely agree with you that our sense of smell, pollution and weight gain are connected. Our eating experience has biochemical consequences. They directly affect our metabolism and digestion.Think about that!