Cookbook Helps COVID Patients Enjoy Food Again

As more people share their experiences recovering from COVID-19, several longer-term side effects have emerged including the loss of taste and smell that can continue for weeks.  A new cookbook that uses a blend of medical and culinary sciences may help people recover their senses and once again find pleasure in food.

According to a recent ABC News report,  research shows that the loss of smell following infection with the novel coronavirus usually lasts about two to three weeks after recovery, and 95 percent of patients will fully recover their sense of smell.  However, in some cases, the sense of smell changes due to a rewiring of olfactory cells during recovery.   Things that once had an appealing scent may smell different or even unpleasant following recovery.

Taste as well can be altered after recovering from COVID-19 because smell plays such an important role in how we experience taste.  The cookbook, Taste and Flavour, written by chefs Ryan Riley and Kimberley Duke, won’t entirely cure a loss of taste or smell, but the carefully selected ingredients can help people enjoy their food and stimulate saliva and the trigeminal nerve which helps to regulate sensations associated with eating spicy foods.  

Ingredients like miso, soy sauce, mushrooms, parmesan, pepper, mint, and vinegar are used therapeutically as patients recover their sense of taste and smell.  Researchers have also noted that garlic and onion, which are frequently used to give food more flavor, can be unpleasant for people recovering from COVID-19.  Avoiding these triggering foods can help patients enjoy food again and ensure they are getting proper nourishment. 

Because eating is such a social activity, it’s important for people who suffer from a loss of taste or smell to be understood and supported.  And although more research is needed into how some senses are processed by the brain, the recipes in this cookbook can help people who have lost or experienced lasting changes in taste or smell – symptoms that are sometimes associated with depression or other mood disorders. 

Download Taste and Flavour online free here.  Read more about how COVID-19 has affected people’s senses and what the science says about recovering smell and taste function in a recent Nature News Explainer article.