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The Importance of Smelling

By Randi Morse

There are five major senses: smell, taste, touch, feel and hearing. Of those five senses, which would you consider to be the least important? The idea of losing your hearing, or your eyesight, is terrifying, but did you know that losing your sense of smell can hugely impact your life and your health?

The Importance of Smelling

Smelling is much more important than you may realize. Most of us see smelling as a practical thing. With our noses we can tell if something is fresh, or rotten, and if something smells sweet or sour. But your sense of smell does so much more, especially when it comes to eating. It's estimated that between 75 and 95 percent of what we taste is determined by the smell, not the actual taste, of a food. While no studies have been able to accurately assess how much of what we taste is affected by our sense of smell, most scientists and dietitians agree that the number is significant. 

Health and Smell

Losing smell can also be the sign of an illness. How much can you smell when you're dealing with a cold or a virus? A loss of the sense of smell can point towards a wide array of different conditions and illnesses including things like sinus infections, neurological disease, and sinus tumors. It may even be a predictor of multiple sclerosis. While scientists aren't sure exactly why this is true, they do acknowledge that people who have a poor sense of smell tend to have a higher possibility of having Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, and they also have a higher rate of death. It's currently unknown if it is the loss of smell that increases the risk of disease, if the loss of smell is a symptom of the disease, or if it's all connected to the medication the patient is put on. 

Why should this matter? Because our sense of smell is much more important than most of us realize. Think of how you feel when you have a cold and can't smell. Imagine having to face that situation on a daily basis. If you have discovered that your sense of smell has decreased, or disappeared entirely, it may be a good idea to contact your local physician to have a thorough examination.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Annapolis, Md.

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