Your brain tastes food, not your mouth

You’re eating a burger and you let out a euphoric sigh because it just tastes so damn good Download at no time! When you’re enjoying a delicious meal, you probably aren’t thinking about why you’re able to taste. Instead, you’re concentrating on chewing, but your sense of taste is amazing. You have up to 10 000 tastebuds all over your tongue, mouth and throat.

Each of them contain up to 100 taste receptors and each respond differently to your food. Your taste cells send information about the type and amount of substances to your brain when you eat. Taste is divided into five categories: salty, sweet, bitter, sour and umami (flavour that is common to savoury foods like meat).

When you eat a chocolate biscuit, you anticipate the smell of the chocolate, the sweet taste and the crunch when you bite into it. Your senses interact to enhance your perception of the food that you eat. It’s a combination of how your food smells, looks, sounds and feels.

What smells so good?
Your oral and nasal cavities are connected, so taste and smell works together. As you can only taste five flavours, this is where your sense of smell helps you out. When you take a bite of something and start to taste it, your odour molecules (smell receptors) send signals to your brain to process the taste.

What’s your flavour?
Ever wonder why you like certain foods more than others? Your food preferences are determined by things like your genes, experiences and age.

For example, if you had a bad reaction to bananas as a child, it’s likely you might not eat it again any time soon. This is called taste aversion. If you routinely eat a yummy sandwich for lunch, it might become one your favourites. The part of your brain that is in charge of memory (hippocampus) and your olfactory nerve (in charge of sense of smell) work together to record your food preferences. The result? When you smell or taste a certain food, you remember if you like it or not.

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Tasting tips

  • To intensify the flavour of spices and herbs, cook for a minute or two in a little butter or oil.
  • Browning means flavour, so don’t remove foods like bread from the oven until it’s completely golden brown.
  • Only prepare garlic and onion just before you’re about to use them, so they will be packed with flavour.
  • Deepen the flavours of meat by cooking it at high temperatures (grilling, broiling or roasting). Cook your meat till brown for the most concentrated flavours.
  • Add a tang to your meals with orange or lemon juice.

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