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September 06, 2020 4 min read

How Healthy Foods Can Change Your Taste Buds 👅 

A healthy diet not only changes your eating habits and your physical condition, it also changes your taste buds. Starting a healthy diet is a rediscovery of the new preferences of your palate.

 

How does food modify your taste buds?

Modern life is fast and busy, this has boosted the market for fast-cooking, easy-to-move and long-lasting foods, but for these foods to have these characteristics they must be subjected to many substances that modify their flavor. The final product is a set of preservatives, sugars, sodium and artificial flavors.

When you consume these types of foods frequently, the taste buds adapt to those flavors and they are stored in the brain as the natural or reference flavor of certain foods, therefore, when you eat natural and healthy food they can seem less tasty. (1)

The fact that healthy food does not seem so appetizing at first can be an obstacle to being consistent in a healthier lifestyle, however, this can be avoided.

 

Healthy food can change your taste buds

The taste buds have approximately 2,000 and 10,000 cells responsible for perceiving the different flavors and every 2 weeks an average of 200 taste cells are renewed. Therefore, you can modify your tastes over time. For this it is important to create a habit that involves a new association between the natural flavors of food and your taste. It is easier than you think, in fact, tastes for processed foods are acquired tastes, therefore they can always be modified, the important thing is how to make these changes. (2)

 

How can you modify your taste buds with healthy foods?

  1. Change foods slowly

The most advisable thing is to limit the consumption of processed foods little by little, while introducing healthy foods, for example: by reducing the consumption of foods with processed sugars, it is convenient to start consuming natural sweet foods such as fruits. 

  1. Don't cut out processed foods entirely

Eliminating foods such as soda, candy and fried foods completely on the first try can increase the desire to eat them, therefore, to avoid this, it is better to limit your consumption to once a week or using the 80/20 rule (only 20% of your diet "fun foods" while 80% is nutritious, Whole whole foods), over time those foods will lose the ability to stimulate you and they may even seem unappetizing.

Changes can produce anxiety and this increases your cravings so it is better to go little by little, allowing a more secure adaptation to a new lifestyle.

  1. Don't pressure yourself over time

Pretending overnight to stop eating habits that you have probably practiced for many years is unrealistic and puts unnecessary pressure on you. Work with small goals, each person evolves at different times

  1. Learn new recipes

The world of healthy eating opens the way to endless foods that we do not know, so visit local markets where they offer fresh and seasonal food. Attending cooking classes can help you taste foods in new presentations and combinations.

 

The taste buds and flavors

Eating processed foods causes the taste buds to distort and, in some cases, forget the real flavors of the food, which is why whole foods and low in sugar do not seem so delicious. The taste cells distinguish 4 large groups of flavors:

  • Sweet
  • Salty
  • Sour
  • Bitter

 

From pregnancy there is a certain determination of taste, because the mother's diet can influence in a certain way the tastes of the baby after birth, however, once complementary feeding is started, it is essential to start with natural foods so as not to distort taste.

Flavor receptors are not only on the tongue, they are also found at the digestive level and are capable of creating relationships between certain flavors and emotions, which is why there are people who experience great satisfaction with certain types of food, for example. (3)

 

Taste and culture

Throughout life, the cultural environment and upbringing intervene in the diet, so in certain cultures people have more affinity for certain flavors.

Therefore, when establishing patterns and tastes of flavors, many factors intervene, which are over stimulated with the consumption of processed foods, however, healthy food can re-educate the palate.

 

Replace processed flavors with natural flavors

Bitter: Many processed drinks with citrus flavors stimulate bitter flavors, however a healthier and even more delicious option may be coffee and dark chocolate.

Sour: Instead of sour potato chips and try green apples for a sour taste.

Salty: Try cutting back on frying like Doritos and trying homemade snacks like baked potatoes with sea salt.

Sweet: Supermarket sweets can be irresistible, but you can try trying natural sweets like homemade jams or homemade honey cookies.

 

Start eating with taste

Processed food is designed to be irresistible and addictive due to its preservatives and flavor enhancers, yet they only provide harmful chemicals and have little nutritional value.

By cutting back on foods that are high in synthetic ingredients, you can literally retrain your taste buds to appreciate the taste of healthy and authentic foods. Doing so does not mean that you should limit yourself completely, it is about replacing the things that you enjoy, but are harmful, with new and healthy foods that benefit your health.

 

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4059590/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279408/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019433/

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