Decreasing Sensations to Enhance Flavor Detection

Ever since I realized that I’m hyposmic, I’ve been curious about how much sense of smell I have left and what I can do with it.

Could it be that I can train my nose to do more with less olfactory capability?

Indian food is known amongst the anosmic community to be a cuisine widely enjoyed, primarily because of the myriad of herbs and spices used in its cooking. I think of it this way: if you’ve lost your sense of smell (most of us think we’ve lost all of it, but the likely story is more of us have lost a portion of it than we think), eating Indian food that contains a lot of different herbs increases the likelihood that we’ll be able to detect some odor or flavor and garner more enjoyment from the meal.

My family hails from India, and I realize now how lucky I am to grow up eating Indian food as an anosmic. Eating Italian food usually brings me less enjoyment, probably because of the smaller amount of herbs and spices involved. My family loves spicy foods, and I grew up with a high tolerance for spice and capsaicin. Most of our meals were served hot.

However, as I try to figure out how much olfactory capability I have left, I realize that the level of spice I add to my food may be so high that even if I did have some sense of smell left, the sensation of the spice may be overpowering other flavors present in the food.

I think I may benefit from lowering the amount of spice and capsaicin present in my day-to-day meals, so that I can concentrate on figuring out whether I can detect or distinguish any flavors from what I’m eating.


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