Scents that will boost energy, mood and memory

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Scents stimulate important mental and physical functions. They trigger the release of neurotransmitters, chemicals that send signals to the brain. Here is a sampling of what scents can do for you…

Control appetite

In a study of 105 people, we found that those who inhaled a chocolate-like aroma whenever they felt like eating lost nearly three pounds in two weeks. One study of 3,193 volunteers found that sniffing banana, green apple or peppermint scents resulted in an average weight loss of 30 pounds in six months.

Sniff the above scents often, and remember to smell every food before you eat it. Your brain will perceive that you’re eating more, thus suppressing your appetite.

Increase energy

These odors stimulate the part of the brain that promotes wakefulness…

  • Jasmine causes an increase in beta waves in the brain, a sign of alertness. Jasmine tea is a great pick-me-up.
  • Strawberries and buttered popcorn will cause exercisers to burn more calories.
  • Peppermint works on sensory nerves and increases alertness. Try a peppermint candy or chewing gum.
  • Freshly brewed coffee is very stimulating, probably because we associate the aroma with the energizing effects of caffeine.

Boost romance

Both men and women are sexually stimulated by scents, but the odors that arouse them aren’t the same.

For males: The aroma of lavender or pumpkin pie raises blood flow towards the penis by 40%. The aroma of  doughnuts, black licorice, vanilla or women’s perfume (any scent) also is sexually stimulating to men.

For Females: The odors of cucumber and licorice are stimulating. Women are turned off by the smells of cherries, barbecued meat and men’s cologne.

Reduce anxiety

Fresh, natural scents, in general, induce calm. In one research we accompanied, volunteers became exceptionally nervous when they are restricted in coffin-like tubing, but then relaxed when tubes were pervaded with the smells of cucumber and green apple. The smell looks to have an effect on the limbic system, the sensitive part of the brain.

If you anticipate a situation in which you will feel anxious, wash your hair that morning with a green-apple-scented shampoo and/or put a dab of the shampoo in a cloth to take with you.

Improve memory

People who sniff floral scents increase retention of new material by 17%.

Sniff a floral odor when learning new material, then smell it again when you want to recall it. This is known as state-dependent learning. The material you learn in one state while smelling roses will be more accessible when you replicate that state in the future.

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