Category Archives: Food

Should You be Eating Whole Wheat or Whole Grain, and Why?

Whole grains or foods made from them contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed,” as defined by the Whole Grains Council.  For instance, regardless of how oats are rolled, cut, or ground during processing, the oat does not lose any of its nutritional content. The three fundamental parts of the kernel is the bran, germ, and endosperm.  In order to be considered a whole grain, the food item must contain 100% of the original kernel.WholeGrainKernel_WGC_0

Whole grain is processed to include the whole grain seed, whereas white flour uses only the less nutritious endosperm.  By using all parts of the grain whole grain is more nutritious because it has higher levels of fiber, vitamins B6 and E, magnesium, zinc, folic acid and chromium.  The majority of which are lost when processing occurs to make white flour.  Refining wheat creates fluffy flour that makes light, airy breads and pastries. But nutrition is compromised for the taste of the beloved refined grains. The process strips away more than half of wheat’s B vitamins, 90 percent of the vitamin E, and virtually all of the fiber.

The health benefits of switching from refined to whole grain foods are well established, including lower risk of cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes.  Based on this evidence, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans consume at least three servings of whole grain products daily, and the new U.S. national school lunch standards require that at least half of all grains be whole grain-rich. However, no single standard exists for defining any product as a “whole grain.”

Determining what food items are actually whole gain or whole wheat can be challenging in the grocery store.  And then we ask the question: what is the difference between whole grain and whole wheat?  The Whole Grains council describes the difference between whole grain and whole wheat as the same difference between a carrot and a vegetable?”  We all know that all carrots are vegetables but not all vegetables are carrots. It’s similar with whole wheat and whole grain: Whole wheat is one kind of whole grain, so all whole wheat is whole grain, but not all whole grain is whole wheat.

A meta-analysis of seven major studies showed that cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, or the need for a procedure to bypass or open a clogged artery) was 21 percent less likely in people who ate 2.5 or more servings of whole-grain foods a day compared with those who ate less than 2 servings a week.

The whole grain stamp produced by theCollage_webres Whole Grain Council started to appear on store shelves in mid-2005.  It recently received some criticism from the Harvard School of Public Health.

A common “Health Halo” is that often times people incorrectly assume that a product that is whole wheat is healthier than one that is not, in every sense.  Health claims, in this case whole wheat, on a product can produce a “halo effect” where consumers reported beneficial effects from the product beyond those specifically mentioned in the claim.  One healthy attribute leads consumers to assume that foods offer other healthy but unclaimed attributes.

The Harvard School of Public Health “found that grain products with the Whole Grain Stamp, one of the most widely-used front-of-package symbols, were higher in fiber and lower in trans fats, but also contained significantly more sugar and calories compared to products without the Stamp”.

This stamp only relays information about a food items whole grain content. It is not surprising that food producers have to add extra sugars to whole wheat products in order to achieve the taste that consumers demand.  Through this study Harvard simply found that just because has one good quality doesn’t equate to the entity of that product being healthy.

The key thing to remember is it must be 100%.  At the grocery store, check labels and chose items made with 100 percent whole wheat — meaning it is made with only whole-wheat flour, whereas breads and other things labeled simply “whole-wheat” might contain a mix of whole wheat and white flours.  Also as Harvard showed us, be conscious of the sugar content as well.





Hummus, the New Nutrient Rich Spread

No one knows for sure how far back the history of hummus goes, but traces of chickpea, the key ingredient, have turned up in Middle Eastern archeological sites dating to 7,500 B.C.  Made from the few ingredients of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), olive oil, lemon juice and salt hummus is a delectable, creamy, irresistibly tasty spread. Seasonings are added to taste and can be used to make different varieties like roasted pepper, roasted garlic, or stick with traditional and sprinkle some cumin on top.  The making of this dish is quite simple.  All the ingredients are simply ground down until they form a smooth paste.  These key ingredients come together beautifully and create a snack that is chock-full of nutrients that are linked to many health benefits.

Hummus-21-640x480Hummus is a great sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, iron, and fiber.  Beyond the nutritious benefits hummus is very satiating as well as rich in protein which helps you fight hunger cravings.  “Food satiety” is the scientific term used to describe our satisfaction with food—how full it leaves us feeling, and how effective it is in eliminating our sense of hunger and appetite.  Hummus can lower your risk of heart disease because it supports healthy cholesterol and blood pressure.  These nutrients also contribute to better regulation of blood sugar.

In a recent study, “two groups of participants received about 28 grams of fiber per day. But the two groups were very different in terms of their food sources for fiber. One group received dietary fiber primarily from garbanzo beans. The other group obtained dietary fiber from entirely different sources. The garbanzo bean group had better blood fat regulation, including lower levels of LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides.”

The base of hummus is garbanzo beans.  Known by many names garbanzo beans are also commonly called chickpeas.  The name “chickpea” can be traced back through the French chiche, Latin for ‘chickpea’.  When found in the grocery store the name chickpeas and garbanzo beans are interchangeable, elsewhere there is subtle differences between the two.  The beans found in grocery stores are usually cream-colored and relatively round, known at the “kabuli-type”.  These beans come in many variety’s.  World wide the most common type of garbanzo been is the “desi-type” which is smaller, irregularly shaped, and varies in color.

Hummus’ popularity is on the rise because Americans are seeking more “healthy” snacks.  The sales of these types of spreads have gone up to $530 million in 2012, a 11 percent increase from a year earlier and a 25 percent jump over 2010, according to market-research firm Information Resources Inc.  Grocery isles have been filling up with many different brands of pre-made hummus.  Since this dish is so simply to make I highly suggest making it at home, which will also be more cost effective and you won’t have to worry about preservatives.

Processed Foods Through the Years

Packaged, pre-made food products have not always been as abundant as they are today.  The history of processed food has been directly affected by important moments of America’s history.  Industrialization provided food processors the capability to mass produce, mass market, and standardize.  This movement innovated the way meals were produced and gave way to the creation of processed, preserved, canned, and packaged a wide variety of foods.

Initially there were a few processed foods available in the early 1900’s like Oreo Celebrates 90th BirthdayOreos and Aunt Jemima syrup.  Cereal was one of the first widely marketed “health foods”.  In its original form the first cereal was made with a grain like wheat or rice and was similar to a corn flake with no added sugars.  One of the major driving forces for ready-to-cook foods was war time.  In conjunction with World War I canned and frozen foods became popular.  Shortly thereafter processed foods began to take over the nations diet.  Spam gained popularity because it was a perfect item to feed troops.  More than 100 million pounds of SPAM luncheon meat are shipped abroad to feed allied troops during World War II.  After World War II there was an increase in the supply of processed food items, therefore marketers needed to make a demand.  Military research had brought about many new “convenience foods” like dehydrated juice and cake mix.

These new ways of preparing food was advertised to women as a means of liberating them from the kitchen, saving them timetang-picture and giving them freedom to get out of the kitchen.  By the 1960’s televisions and microwaves become popular and were found in many American homes.  Products like Swanson TV dinners started to emerge alongside the rise of fast food restaurants.  The amount of food dollars that were spent outside of the home rose sharply in the 1970s when more women joined the work force.

The 1990 Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) required that all packaged foods include standard nutrition labeling information.  The 1990’s also saw the mass consumption of caloric sweeteners.

The increasing amounts of meals that Americans ate from fast food restaurants and premade meals wreaked havoc on their waistlines.  As response to this manufactures came out with new formulated products that were “low-fat,” “fat-free” and diet.  The creation of low fat product lines was more about getting consumers to keep buying products and less about their health.  Fat content was reduced by removing high-fat ingredients but the products still needed to taste good so artificial flavors and sweeteners were added in order to counterbalance the change as well as preservatives to extend shelve0901_010402 lives.

The amount of new food products, in 2000, that were marked “reduced/low fat” was 2,076 out of 16,890.  Which had been a peak at the time.  In the past years, marketers have become increasingly likely to make heavy use of nutrition claims (including “low fat”), health claims, and vague unregulated claims or health sales (“smart choice” or “good for you”).

In 2007 the recession had caused many people to begin to cook more foods at home and eat out less often.  There is a growing concern about nutrition.  About 80% of meals were prepared at home in November 2013, about the same as 2012, NPD data show. The percentage of meals prepared at home has risen steadily from 77.4% in 2008 at the beginning of the recession.  Consumers want more health food items conveniently available to them.  Popular movements such as the organic movement have caused consumers to question how and what our food is made of.

As an outcome of these movements “processed food” has become synonymous with unhealthy.  But processed foods should not holistically be seen as bad.  Products that are canned, frozen, or pasteurized can be very health.  By freezing vegetables farmers are able to harvest them at their peak and we can have a consistent supply of fresh vegetables.  There are also products that need to be processed for human consumption like oatmeal and coco-beans.


The Components of a Healthy Salad and What to Avoid

We classify food as either healthy or unhealthy and salad has always been known as healthy.  When eating out or grabbing a quick lunch pre-made salads appear to be a healthy option.  Be sure to selective when ordering a salad.  Quite often the nutrtion content of salads end out being approximately the same as a burger alternative.  The goal of the restaurant is to make tasty food that you will order again, so they added on indulgent ingredients like fatty dressings, cheese, and croutons.  In order to make a salad a well rounded meal one usually adds protein, when restaurants do this they usually add crispy chicken which quickly adds calories.

A  2012 study, which found that although fast food menus grew between 1996 and 2010 to include 53 percent more dishes and snacks, the average number of calories in each item hadn’t changed.

“Entree salads, which are increasing in number, can be bad, too. With fried chicken on top and regular dressing, they can have more calories than a burger,” lead researcher Katherine Bauer, an assistant professor in the department of public health at Temple University, told HealthDay at the time of the study’s release.

Salads can be very nutritious depending on how you build yours.  In order to get the most out of your meal there are some few ingredients you should be sure to add, and others to stay away from.  First off get the most out of the base of your salad by choosing a good dark green.  There are many options out there that provide far more nutrients than watery ice berg like kale, spinach and romaine.  One can never have too many veggies, well technically maybe they could but it would be really hard, broccoli, peppers, carrots, peas, cucumbers and many more are great additions.  Raw veggies are great because they are low in calories, high in nutrients and water content.  Since their calories are so low you can pile them on sky high.  Protein is a must not matter the source.  Options vary from lean meat like chicken, hard boiled eggs, beans, or tofu.  Get an extra bonus of omega-3s from tuna or salmon.  Please try to resists the bacon bits.  Healthy fats are also great in salads.  Go for some toasted walnuts, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds or a bit of avocado.  Finally there is the dressing, this is usually what makes or breaks a healthy salad.  Vinaigrette are a great option, or something with an oil base.  In order to have control over how much dressing you add try to order dressing on the side at restaurants so you can keep an eye on how much you use.

Banning Chocolate Milk Doesn’t Have Outcomes Parents Hope For

71805_webA simple way to cut calories and sugar is to watch what you’re drinking.  The increasing numbers of children with obesity is causing much concern and there is a eager search for a solution.  Concerned parents and teachers of the PTA turned to banning chocolate milk to lower their children’s sugar intake. As a sample test 11 elementary schools in Oregon banned flavored milk (strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate, herby referred to as chocolate milk).  Research released by Cornell University this week was conducted in-order to understand the potential impact of removing chocolate milk has on milk sales and intake, which concluded that removing chocolate milk from schools had a ill affect on children’s meals.

Schools have done this before.  In 2011, Los Angeles Unified School District removed flavored milk from its schools in order to battle youth obesity.  It is known that this may not be a successful way to combat childhood obesity.  In 2012 after the US Department of Agriculture updated school meal standards, the National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jerry Kozak cited other research that showed milk consumption can drop 35 percent when flavored milk options are removed.

“When schools ban chocolate milk, we found it usually backfires. On average, milk sales drop by 10 percent, 29 percent of white milk gets thrown out, and participation in the school lunch program may also decrease,” reports Andrew Hanks, lead author and research associate Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. “This is probably not what parents wanted to see.”Chocolatemilk1

Though it was shown in sales data that students did substitute chocolate milk for plain milk, they also wasted an average on 40.9% of milk they selected.  Students were forced to chose another drink option by eliminating the availability of chocolate milk, but this did not encourage them to drink it.  Cornell’s findings suggests that eliminating chocolate milk can increase total milk waste by 29.4%

Children, and adults alike, do not choose foods because they are nutritionally good for them, they choose foods that taste good.  Of the students who purchase lunches served as part of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), two-thirds choose chocolate over white milk.

These results are from a pilot test and further research must be done, but it does provide us with some insight of what some of the unforeseen affects are of getting rid of flavored milk in schools.  This information needs to be considered when deciding whether the amount of sugar children consume with flavored milk is validated because of the nutrients that milk offers.  The study authors suggest taking other tactics to encourage white milk over chocolate, rather than an outright ban.

The Many Forms of a Oat

Oatmeal is very popular in the health community.  It’s a great whole grain which offers many health benefits including it being a complex carb that is good for your cholesterol, rich in fiber, antioxidants, and great for your heart.  I’ve mention before why I think everyone should be eating oatmeal for breakfast ,top it off with a bit of protein and its the true breakfast of champions.  The breakfast aisle has a variety of packaged oatmeal’s like cinnamon roll, peaches and cream, apples and cinnamon, the varieties are abound.  Stay clear from these instant oatmeal flavored packages all together, the best option is to and buy a container of plain oats.  There is variety in plain oats too, which come in multiple forms.  In order to pick out which one you want to cook with we must learn about the many from of plain oats (groats): steel cut, Scottish, rolled oats(regular or old fashioned) and instant.  What are the differences between these form of oats and does the nutrition value vary?types-of-oats

When oats are harvested: removed from the hull and stalked they are called a grain kernel, the the kernel gets broken down and depending on how processed the kernel the cooking time decreases.  Once milled, where the outer shell (hull) is removed from the oats, oats are steamed, heated and cooled in a kiln, which brings out their nutty flavor. The oats are then processed by either being rolled, cut or ground to produce flakes, oatmeal or flour.

  • Whole oat groats are the whole oat kernel that has had the inedible hull removed.  These oats take the longest to cook at about one hour.
  • Steel cut oats are cut into a few pieces by a metal blade, these take about 45 minutes to cook.
  • Scottish Oatmeal is stone-ground , and the the kernel is crushed into multiple irregular pieces, a method that originated in Scotland centuries ago.  The finer the oats the quicker they cook, these take about ten minutes.
  • Rolled oats (old fashioned) are made by steaming the kernel and then rolling them into flakes.  This process stabilizes their healthy oils and extends their self life, all without compromising their health benefits.  During the steaming process the oat partially cooks, this allows the oat to cook much faster later on, generally about five minutes.
  • Quick or instant oats, these oats have been rolled thinner so they will cook even faster.

Usually we view processed as a bad term, but when it come to oatmeal the degree in which the oats are processed does not affect their nutritional value.  Steel cut, Scottish, old-fashioned, and quick oats are all made from whole grains and contain approximately the same amount of fiber, protein, calories, and other nutrients.  Rolling the oats and then steaming them make it so that they can be cooked in just minutes.  You should make you decision based on what type of texture you want your oatmeal to have, how much time you have to cook them, or weather you are using it in a recipe, which typically calls for traditional oats.

Microwaving Food

Today’s society is spending less time in the kitchen and eating more meals in restaurants.  We live in a world of convince.  Microwaves become popular in the 70’s and ever since we have been enjoying its ability to heat things in minutes.  There has been skepticism of whether cooking with a microwave takes nutrients out of food.

Sources as varied as the American Cancer Society and the European Food Information Council—not to mention numerous studies—agree that these ovens are a nutritious way to cook.

In order to retain as many nutrients as possible one must wisely choose the way they cook their food.  Microwaving is one of the best options to conserve nutrients.  If you use a small amount of water your basically steam the food from the inside; retaining more vitamins and minerals than most other cooking methods.  Whenever food is cooked there will be some loss of nutrients, in order to retain as much as possible the best method is to cook the food quickly, short exposure to heat, and a minimal amount of liquid.  Just like a microwave would do.

Microwave ovens cook food with waves of oscillating electromagnetic energy that are similar to radio waves but move back and forth at a much faster rate.

The method of steaming can be equal to microwaving, if not better in some cases: One small study found that steamed broccoli retained more of its cancer-fighting sulforaphane than microwaved broccoli.  Regardless some nutrients do break down when they’re exposed to heat, no matter the souce.

Coconut Water, Whats so Good About It?

Called “dew from the heavens,” or “noelani” by Hawaiians coconut water has been drank for years in tropical countries.  With help from celebrity spokespersons, health trends, and marketing, coconut water has been filling beverage coolers across the country.  To keep up with demand, new product launches in North America have grown to 35% from, 17% in 2008. There seems to be an endless list of health benefits that coconut water has to offer, but before buying into all of the craze and drink bottles after bottles maybe we should know what’s in this stuff.coconut-water-6f51be99d73fb9aacd1358747aea2de85aa4d2ff-s6-c30

Coconut water is not to be confused with coconut milk.  The liquid is clear (95 percent water), light, and extracted from young, green coconuts that have not reached maturity.  Young coconuts differ in that they are white, smooth, and pointed on one end, on the other, rather than the common brown hairy ones.

The most prominent nutrition benefit that coconut water has to offer is potassium.  Potassium is found in many foods, but Americans usually fall short of their daily requirements, mainly because they don’t eat enough fruits and veggies.  On top of that there is no fat or cholesterol and not many calories, perfect for marketing as a healthy product.  Coconut water contains electrolytes, vitamins, amino acids, organic acids, enzymes, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and plant nutrients.

Beyond containing nutrients, the scientific literature does not support the hype that this drink actually beneficial. “There is a lot of hype about coconut water, yet the research is just not there to support many of the claims and much more research is needed,” says Lillian Cheung, DSc, RD, of Harvard School of Public Health, “while coconut water is low in calories, rich in potassium, and fat and cholesterol free, the evidence that it is actually better than plain water for simple hydration is unfortunately lacking.”

Dubbed “Mother Nature’s sports drink” by marketers, the demand is skyrocketing.  If you exercise for 30 minutes a day at a moderate to high intensity, fresh, pure water is the best thing to help you stay hydrated.  According to Ms. Zelman, coconut water may potentially be better at keeping you hydrated than a sports drink or water.  Zelman describes a study published in 2010 from Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise which demonstrated that coconut water replaced body fluids as good as a typical sports drink, and slightly better than water. Other studies have shown that drinking coconut water with added sodium is as good as a typical sports drink for re-hydration after exercise.  Although coconut water is rich in potassium, it is low in carbohydrates and sodium- two potential issues for those who do endurance training or prolonged aerobic workouts.

Coconut water has it benefits, even has been used as an emergency substitute for IV solutions.  But as far as making it a part of your daily diet it’s not necessary and there is no proof of its benefits.  This product is great as an alternative to any other sugar-sweetened beverage because it is lower in calories and the nutrients are a extra bonus.  But experts from the Mayo Clinic strongly suggest that you consider maintaining an active lifestyle if consuming large amounts of coconut water since each eight ounce serving is accompanied by 45 to 60 calories.  Unless you really enjoy the taste, its not worth the $3 a bottle.  Stick to plain water, it’s all you need.

Nuts, Far More Than a Tasty Snack

The benefits of nuts are finally being recognized now that the anti-fat craze has passed. We now know better than to automatically cast aside a product because of its fat value.  Today there is a clear understanding of fats and there types: “good” and “bad”.   Nuts, contain unsaturated fat, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. What makes them such a great snack, are inexpensive and ready to eat, and easy to find.  Not only are they tasty they are good for heart health, lowering cholesterol, and promote weight loss.

In 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized several nuts, including walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pine nuts, hazelnuts and pistachios, to be promoted as helpful in reducing the risk of heart disease and cholesterol problems.  Walnuts stand out in particular because they are the only ones with omega-3s.

“When you look at the health benefits, I have to put walnuts at the top of that list because they are good source protein, good source of fats and they have a moderate amount of carbohydrates,” said dietician Connie Diekman of the California Walnut Board’s scientific advisory committee.  Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in many kinds of fish, but nuts are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids.  Walnuts come out on top with their omega-3 values but all kinds of nuts are nutritious in any form regardless of plain, roasted, or a spreadable butter.

People who eat nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet can lower the low-density lipoprotein “bad” cholesterol level in their blood.  Tree-nuts should be apart of your diet because they promote a healthy heart.  Harvard’s report, in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that daily nut-eaters were ‘less likely to die of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease. Overall, the daily nut-eaters were 20% less likely to have died during the course of the study than those who avoided nuts.”

Research now shows that eating tree nuts can help with weight management.  As much as 80 percent of a nut is fat, don’t be scared it is unsaturated fat, “good” which is why nuts are heart healthy.  A study released this past January confirms that consumption of tree nuts had a inverse relationship with weight gain.  Researchers found that study participants who ate the most tree nuts – such as almonds, Brazil nuts, pistachios and walnuts – were between 37 and 46 percent less likely to be obese than those who ate the fewest tree nuts.

“Nuts are high in protein and fiber, which delays absorption and decreases hunger,” said Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, adding that nuts contain mostly unsaturated healthy fats.  So you will be more satisfied if you eat a handful of nuts rather than some potato chips.

Nuts aren’t a magic pill in food form.  In order to rep all of their benefits they need to be consumed proportionately, will little or no salt, and not coated in chocolate.  Also they should be substitute for unhealthy fats, not cutting back on saturated fats found in many dairy and meat products won’t do your heart any good even if you eat a few nuts.  If whole nuts aren’t your thing nut butters are great, but be picky when picking out your next jar of peanut butter.  Many brands add sugar, molases, hydrogenated oil and other ingredients.  The best peanut butter is made with only peanuts and salt, so be sure to read the nutrition label even if it says its natural and healthy.  Remember sugar is natural and so are the oils they add.  Finally, never ever by reduced-fat peanut butter, the high fat content is okay in the regular varieties because its unsaturated fat and they add even more junk into those poor reduced-fat jars.



Smell has a Major Impact on Taste and Our Purchases

Taste and smell are intimately entwined.  Interestingly, food and drink are identified predominantly by the senses of smell and sight, not taste.  Generally we associate taste to our taste buds, in actuality “taste” is actually a blend of a food’s taste, smell and texture into a single sensation.  The senses taste and smell and very complex.  Smell is a vital part of flavor, when smell is lessened the flavor of food is diminished.  This is caused because only the taste, not the food odors, is being detected.

Only in recent years have taste receptors been identified.  The tongue map, which classified sections of the tongue with specific taste receptors, was debunked in 1974, a scientist named Virginia Collings re-examined Hanig’s work and agreed with his main point:  “There were variations in sensitivity to the four basic tastes around the tongue.  But the variations were small and insignificant.  Collings found that all tastes can be detected anywhere there are taste receptors—around the tongue, on the soft palate at back roof of the mouth, and even in the epiglottis, the flap that blocks food from the windpipe”.tongue_map

“The sensation of flavor is actually a combination of taste and smell,” said Tom Finger, a professor at the University of Colorado-Denver Medical School and chairman of the 2008 International Symposium on Olfaction and Taste, held last month in San Francisco. “If you hold your nose and start chewing a jelly bean taste is limited, but open your nose midway through chewing and then you suddenly recognize apple or watermelon.”  Acquiring information related to scent through the back of the mouth is called retronasal olfaction—via the nostrils it is called orthonasal olfaction.

During the process of chewing air is forced through the nasal passages, carrying the smell of the food along with it.  Without the sensation of smell supplementing taste one would only be able to experience the five taste recognized by taste buds: salty, sour, sweet, bitter and umami.  It’s the odor molecules from food that give us most of our taste sensation.

The process of tasting, described by Dana Small, is “When food and drink are placed in the mouth, taste cells are activated and we perceive a flavor. Concurrently, whatever we are eating or sipping invariably contacts and activates sensory cells, located side-by-side with the taste cells, that allow us to perceive qualities such as temperature, spiciness or creaminess. We perceive the act of touch as tasting because the contact “captures” the flavor sensation,” a neuroscientist as the John B. Pierce Laboratory in New Haven, Conn. and the Yale School of Medicine.

When people’s sense of smell diminishes, for various reasons notably smoking, they are no longer to taste things as well.  Scientists have found that the sense of smell is most accurate between the ages of 30 and 60 years. It begins to decline after age 60, and a large proportion of elderly persons lose their smelling ability.  Additionally, women are more accurate at identifying odors.

Kitchen-Talks-The-aroma-of-foodScent is extremely powerful because it is intertwined with our memories of places and events.  That’s why the smell of grandma’s cookies is so nostalgic.  Unsurprisingly marketers having been trying to incorporate scent into their advertisements and stores in order to boost sales.  Businesses goals are to make customers feel relaxed and comfortable, hoping that they will stay in the stores longer and purchase more.  Some businesses have even created their own signature scent that shoppers will associate with their stores.  Smells have been found to influence memory, impact perception, and even increase sales.

Scent marketing is one of the newer components of advertising.  This process replicates the practice of realtors baking cookies during a homes open house in order to make buyers feel at home.  In a commercial setting liquid scent is vaporized by and dispersed through a building’s ventilation system.  Because smell’s ability to trigger moods is based on memory, a scent’s power will differ from person to person.