Maanvi Singh

I have always loathed swallowing pills.

As a kid, I'd bury them under sofa cushions or hide them under carpets. I'd hide the pill under my tongue and spit it out later. My parents tried everything, including hiding tablets in food, but I was way too smart to fall for that.

Things have improved slightly since then. With adulthood comes the realization that we must all be prepared to take a few bitter pills.

But I still gag on Tylenols and crush up my antibiotics.

The flavors we savor are never just about taste.

Our taste buds allow us to distinguish the basic characteristics of food, like sweet, salty, bitter and sour. But we use our noses to sense more subtle flavors. Our sense of smell is what allows us to savor fine wines, delicately seasoned broths and complex curries.

So is it possible to trick our brains into thinking we're tasting something, when we're only just smelling it?

I write about health and health care, but even I'm not immune to the "young and invincible" mentality. My annual dental checkup is more than six months overdue.

A provision of the Affordable Care Act that took effect in 2010 aimed to make it easier for young adults to access preventive care by allowing them to stay on their parents' insurance until they turn 26. As of 2011, some 3 million young adults gained coverage through this provision.

So does this mean more young people are getting their annual checkups and cholesterol screenings?

For many of us, chicken soup can soothe the soul and mac and cheese can erase a bad day. We eat chocolate when we feel gloomy, or when we've been in the presence of a Dementor. And we eat chocolate ice cream to help us get over a bad breakup.

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