Most of us take our sense of Smell for granted and it is only when something happens to it, from something as simple as a ‘Head Cold’ that we realise how much of our World we perceive through our sense of smell. Our sense of smell is so much more powerful than you could ever imagine, research done by the Rockefeller University showed that your nose can detect ‘One trillion distinct scents’.
Our sense of smell is completely unique from our other senses, in that it is the only one that travels directly to the forebrain without going to the thalamus. It is our oldest sense detecting chemicals that relate to smell or taste, which gives us the information we need to survive in the environment that surrounds us.
Our nostrils are ‘Ipsilateral’ ( which means ‘on or affecting the same side of the body’ ), each nostril is directed onto a separate side of the brain, where the right nostril corresponds to the right side of the brain, and the left nostril corresponding to the left side of the brain.
This allows us to smell two odors simultaneously, and even when smells are received simultaneously the brain will perceive and process them one at a time.
Another interesting fact about our sense of smell is that Women have a better sense of smell than men, one reason for this may be that women have a more developed orbital prefrontal region of the brain, or it may also have evolved to help Women choose the best possible mate, it may also have developed to help women better bond with their newborn babies.
However before we get carried away with just how wonderful our sense of smell is, and the fact that we can detect ‘One trillion distinct scents’. Mans ‘Best Friend’ the Dog has 220 million odor-detecting cells, as compared to Humans that have five to six million. Still we think five to six million odor-detecting cells is very impressive ( and not to sniffed at!! )and should be put to good use.
So for all budding ‘Wine tasters and Foodies’ out there, here is how to savour that wonderful glass of Wine or Meal even more. Try combining your ‘Olfactory and Gustatory’ Senses (‘Smell & Taste’), we know that you already use both when eating and drinking, however to increase your sensory experience when having you next meal or glass of wine. Try breathing in before drinking or eating, then exhaling as you take a drink or a bite of food, practice makes perfect and you will be amazed at how much it enhances your enjoyment.