Training your taste buds for optimum flavour


One of the effects of eating a balanced diet is increasing your ability to detect sweetness, so eat healthy to better enjoy your desserts! — AFP

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought attention to the numerous problems associated with loss of taste and smell – a signature symptom of the illness – and highlighted just how essential these senses are to our lives.

And while regaining taste and smell after illness can take time – and sometimes, special exercises – it is possible to pamper our taste buds on a regular basis so that they offer us optimal sensations during our meals on an everyday basis.

Yes, taking care of your taste buds is an actual thing!

Here’s how to do it:

> Fruits and vegetables

Get your fill of fruits and vegetables (preferably seasonal ones) in order to ingest the maximal amount of antioxidants and B vitamins.

According to ear, nose and throat specialist Professor Sven Saussez, fruits and vegetables allow for better nerve recovery of the taste buds and are key for rehabilitating the sense of smell.

> Make a dental appointment

Oral health is essential to avoid infections and keep your mouth healthy.

A report from the Switzerland-based FDI World Dentist Federation published in March (2021) noted that many dentists around the world are seeing the fallout from people avoiding the dentist even when it is deemed safe to go, which can result in serious problems.

Although rare, inflammation of the tongue or papillae is a real condition – it is called glossitis.

Causes include a fungus or irritation from braces or dentures.

In any case, brushing your teeth two to three times a day is imperative to maintain good bacteria in the mouth and reduce bad bacteria.

> Eat a balanced diet

We all know how important it is to eat a balanced diet with the right proportions of protein, carbohydrates, fats, as well as little treats, to maintain a healthy weight and have ample energy for your day.

What you may not know though is that this recommendation also has an impact on your taste buds and on your ability to detect flavours, especially sweetness.

A study from the University of Bangor in Wales, the United Kingdom, showed that drinking too many sugary drinks prevents you from detecting sweet tastes.

> Give your palate (or rather your brain) a workout

According to a 2016 article in Food Technology Magazine: “The mechanism of taste starts on the tongue, where thousands of taste buds are concentrated in papillae...

“Taste buds are also located on the roof of the mouth and in the throat.

“Each taste bud includes about 50 to 100 specialised cells that contain taste receptors...

“Information from the chemical stimulus within taste cells is translated into an electrical message that is relayed by taste nerves to the brain stem, where initial taste processing takes place.

“From there, impulses are relayed to other parts of the brain.”

In the same article, expert Robin Dando of Cornell University in the United States emphasises that: “A taste for sweet in the natural world is a signal that there are calories there.

“And in the past environment, until recent history, calories were a very good thing.

“You don’t survive without calories. The more that you could detect them and consume them, the better for you.”

Indeed, recent scientific research indicates that the brain is key in tasting and that the perceived flavour of a food stems from an interaction of taste and smell.

Olfactory stimulation is therefore essential for building up a repertoire of tastes and smells.

This is why people suffering from Covid-19 and anosmia (loss of smell) are encouraged to train their olfactory memory by smelling essential oils several times a day.

The goal: to reconnect smells to words.

We can preserve our sensory acuity by identifying all the smells that surround us, from those of the kitchen to those of the street, regardless of whether they are sweet to our nostrils or repulsive. – AFP Relaxnews

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