Delicious Smells - and a Strong Immune System by Tammera J. Karr, PhD © 2014 Holistic Nutrition for the Whole you Have you ever picked a sun warmed peach from a tree - held it to your nose inhaling the smell that is only a warm fresh peach? Are you one of those folks who smell your food before you eat it? Well this may be the article just for you. Many prescription drugs dull your senses—and weaken your body’s ability to repair itself. Additionally poor dental health, false teeth, smoking and zinc deficiency also change or dull senses. Recent Duke University research showed enhancing the taste and smell of foods for patients in a retirement home resulted in stronger immune systems. In a side benefit, they also got better grip strength in both hands! In other studies, this same group of researchers found flavor-enhanced foods in-creased the flow of saliva and, more importantly, salivary IgA (immunoglobulin A—the body’s natural antibiotic to fight pathogenic bacteria). Many of the infections we contract involve the mucus membranes—the moist outer layer of cells that covers the inner surfaces of the nose, mouth, lungs, and intestinal tract. “Good” bacteria that reside on these mucus membranes compete with the pathogens. The lymphatic system surrounding the mucus membranes produces natural antibodies like IgA. Higher levels of IgA equate to stronger immune status. The area of the brain that processes smell and taste signals, forms a direct neurological pathway to the immune system. In other words, pleasant tastes and smells strengthen your immune system. Delicious food is healing food, quite literally. OUTSTANDING! Oops got a little excited there. Hahaha Research also shows certain food molecules exhibit hormone-like properties that stimulate or inhibit specific actions in the body. For example, the fish oils DHA and EPA bind to a hormone receptor which sets off a chain reaction blocking inflammation and weight gain while improving blood sugar control. Other studies show decreased taste and smell perception can decrease the desire for healthy foods, which reduces energy production. Similarly, loss of the sense of smell can signal other conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Happily, there are natural ways to enhance your sense of taste and smell: Reduce your use of medication Eliminate exposure to cigarette smoke and airborne toxins such as artificial air fresheners and chemical deodorizers Supplement with zinc, copper, magnesium, alpha lipoic acid, and vitamins A, B3, and B12 Get checked for hormonal or endocrine disorders, which can alter your taste and smell Try “swishing” your liquids, deeply sniffing each item on your plate, and eating slowly and mindfully, to appreciate and help enhance flavor Incorporate fresh savory herbs to stimulate senses, immune system and digestion Practice nose breathing, especially when eating Increasing the diversity of real foods in your diet Our country’s increased reliance on processed foods and an industrialized food supply may very well be destroying our health in surprising, and often subtle ways. Artificial sweeteners and flavorings retard our ability to taste many foods due to how these chemicals interfere with brain chemistry, also artificial coloring has been shown to increase health risks. On the sunny-side the peaches, plums, blueberries, blackberries and other fragment immune boosting foods are in season right now, those from organic farms will have considerably fewer manmade chemicals to challenge your health and the sweetness and color will be the real deal delivered from Gods hands not man’s. Delicious Smells - and a Strong Immune System by Tammera J. Karr, PhD © 2014 Holistic Nutrition for the Whole you With the availability of farmers markets, orchards and local farms we are able to enjoy the wonderful fragrance of warm peach pie, berry jam and mouthwatering fresh fruit and improve our ability to fight infections; ahhh what lengths some people will go to, to improve their health….. To Your Good Health, and Local Immune Building Fresh Foods.