x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Not only the nose

Scientists say humans can also "smell" through their heart and lungs, meaning it's not just your nose that knows.

Smell that? Even during flu season, when your nose is plugged and your eyes are running, pleasant smells from the kitchen can still provide the tingle of gastronomic anticipation. Turns out the nose isn't the only thing that knows a good meal is coming.

A new study finds that our olfactory processes are far more complicated than previously thought. Organs such as the heart and the lungs can also "smell" food and drink. The research, presented this week at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans, discovered that olfactory receptors are spread throughout our bodies, and not simply in our noses.

During their experiment, the researchers noticed that blood cells moved towards "attractant" smelly compounds that are present in comfort foods - like chocolate - in abundance. The discovery answers, at least in part, why many foods and drinks emit complex odours that the human nose can not detect.

It may also explain why certain foods, like durian or kimchi, have caught on even though they stink. Plug your nose: your organs know best.