Not Just Smoking: 10 Habits That Can Affect Your Sense of Taste

published Jul 5, 2012
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Your sense of taste is one of the most important tools you use in the kitchen, but it isn’t always as dependable as your favorite wooden spoon. In fact, there are a number of ways to damage your sense of taste, either temporarily or permanently — and this list includes quite a few everyday habits.

Bon Appetit spoke with two doctors specializing in taste and smell to generate a list of the habits or conditions that can negatively affect our sense of taste. Yes, smoking is one of them — it can paralyze nasal cilia, which diminishes our sense of smell and consequently, our sense of taste — but so is drinking sugary drinks, which can dull our sensitivity to sweetness.

Other surprising items on the list include drinking alcohol (it numbs your mouth’s tactile receptors), taking zinc lozenges (they are reported to make people insensitive to taste for long periods of time), and ageing (not a habit, but as we grow older, cells in the nasal cavity lose the ability to regenerate, which affects our sense of taste).

Take a look at the article to read the full list and explanations.

Do you have any habits that seem to affect your sense of taste?

(Image: ktynzq/Shutterstock)