Friday, December 23, 2016
Aging Taste, Smell Loss (Research, Video 4:16)
How are your sweet and salty taste buds doing? Have you noticed a change in the way they function? Are familiar odors smelling a little funny? While respiratory infections or injuries, and even dental problems might be possible causes, you could be experiencing a loss due to aging. Loss of taste and smell affects many people over the age of 50. This decline is very important. For example, your health could be negatively impacted by causing you to eat fewer foods. What about your eating spoiled food and not knowing it? Even more dangerous would be a gas leak or a fire that you can’t detect.
Taste and smell research with older adults reveals that taste loss does not appear to make elderly people prefer stronger flavors. But nutrition surveys have pointed to a greater consumption of sweet and salty foods. Apparently, real-life eating habits are also influenced by other social and psychological factors. Dietary strategies that can prevent the consequences of unhealthy eating habits by older adults should be examined more.
Loss of taste and smell are closely connected. You might be surprised by how the taste of foods disappears when you pinch your nose closed before you put them into your mouth. Most food flavors come from our ability to smell them, and when we do, something wonderful can happen. Think of the many memories certain tastes and smells bring to mind. Nothing can replace those holiday aromas or pleasing, seductive scents of particular people remembered with affection.
In this CBS video, reporter Seth Doane shares information on the loss of taste and smell and what science is doing about it.
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.