|Losing it : How Your Sense of Smell and Taste Fades With Age|
What is really worrying about taste and smell is that - according to some scientists - as we get older we're beginning to lose these senses faster than perhaps any previous generation.
This may sound frightening but it is just a warning. The good news is that this need not happen to you and this article explains why.
We know that our senses of smell and taste - especially smell - tend to diminish with age. But why should people be losing their senses of taste and smell more quickly than they did in the past?
The answers are key because you can do something about it. This acceleration is not inevitable.
In 2002 Dr Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist at Oxford University wrote a fascinating report called 'Secrets of the Senses' in which he explained that, according to his department's research, there is every indication that, increasingly, we rely on sight to the detriment of other senses.
Dr Spence believes that because we now live in a visually dominant society, we are in danger of suffering from visual overload. In a fast-moving world, we look and react. Our eyes 'overdose on information', while our emotional senses, such as touch and smell, are neglected.
In an intriguing experiment to demonstrate this, he collaborated with renowned chef Heston Blumenthal at his Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, Berkshire.
They asked diners to eat while wearing headphones that picked up the sound of the food being chewed, then played this back slightly altered - and found that, yes, it effectively changed people's perception of the crispness or crunchiness of their food.
Use or lose it
And the more senses you can stimulate simaltaneously, the better it is for you. What's more, practising your sense skills will counter the deterioration of taste and smell that can cause health and nutritional problems in later life.
Take one sample experience - drinking a glass of wine. For true wine-lovers, the experience and the pleasure isn't just about taste (or the effects of alcohol), it's about the depth of color, temperature, fragrance and feel in your mouth.
For taste is undoubtedly influenced by the aroma, colour, texture and presentation - as well as all the flavours you will be able to detect as you train your taste buds to be more perceptive.