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How to restore the loss of smell and taste after COVID-19

Registered dietician Jessi Holden at Mary Free Bed shares 5 ways to regain the senses of smell and taste

WEST MICHIGAN - After COVID-19, many survivors continue to experience long haul symptoms including a loss of the sense of smell and taste. "Smell therapy" and "smell training" are two terms found across the internet right now, but it it a real thing and does it actually work?

13 ON YOUR SIDE spoke to registered dietician Jesse Holden at Mary Free Bed to find out. She says there is not clear time line for when COVID long haulers can expect to regain their sense, but says there are ways to work toward getting their life back.

"Things that are little bit more extreme that you wouldn't have normally, those can actually help to try to being taste back in foods or enhance foods, Jessi says. "I think a lot of people think salt is going to enhance their food, but sometimes that can make it taste a lot more bland I'm finding through a lot of my COVID long haulers. So we're recommending things like tomato juice, pickles, orange juice, lemons, limes, things that are really acidic are hopefully going to get those taste buds operating again."

Here are 5 ways Jessi recommends for long haulers looking to restore their sense of state:

  • Increase your tarte food intake – like orange juice, pickles and vinegar.
  • Try cooking with different seasonings.
  • If you're struggling to eat meat, try soft proteins like eggs and yogurt.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Serve food at a chilled temperature.

To work on the sense of smell, Jessi suggests using essentials oils or scented candles, however she says she does not have the data to support ingesting essential oils, so recommends against doing that at this time. 

As far as 'smell training kits" found online and on Amazon, Jessi says they are not worth your money -- especially the kits that consist of smelling salt. Salt is not the product that will help to regain a sense of taste or smell.

"Keep doing what you're doing, work with a professional if you're really struggling and don't buy into any kits that says they can sell you on getting your taste buds back, that's not true so don't buy into it," says Jessi.

To find more information about ways to maintain a healthy diet, click here. 

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