Toddlers may have a pure disgust when they first taste spinach, but in the end, the same child grows up to endure vegetables and eventually gasps! –Flat favorite that. And even after childhood, people’s taste preferences can continue to evolve. The question is how it happens.
Our taste preferences are shaped by many factors, including us Genetics, Of our mother Meal during pregnancy Julie Mennella, a member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia and a biopsychologist, describes our nutritional needs as a child. However, our biology does not determine which foods we will worship or despise over time. Rather, our tastes are highly adaptable, “plastic” and depend on what flavor, when, how often, and under what circumstances.
Announced with Mennella Journal of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.. But while early childhood may represent a window of unique opportunity to open a person’s palate, “I don’t think the window will close,” Menera told Live Science.
Therefore, it can be difficult to overcome the bad memories of certain foods, but we can all learn to like new flavors, regardless of age, she said. (For example, after a severe food poisoning attack, you may feel nauseous about the mere thoughts of the food, psychologist, and neuroscientist Hadley Bergstrom that made you sick. Told the HuffPost.. )
Related: Why does odor cause strong memory?
According to 2017, in addition to this continuous learning process, taste preferences in adulthood may change slightly as taste and odor sensations become dull with age, but taste sensitivity is sensitive to older people. It’s just one of several factors that shape food preferences.Report published in the journal Critical review in food science and nutrition..
How to perceive flavor
Our perception of taste comes not only from taste but also from the sense of smell. BrainFacts.org, A public relations initiative run by the Society for Neuroscience.That said, many other factors make us actually favorite Menera said the taste we perceive. These factors include innate, evolutionarily driven taste preferences. Physical characteristics of food, such as texture and temperature. Previous experience with a given flavor or similar flavor.
When you chew foods like cheddar cheese chunks, the chemicals in your snacks spill into your mouth. Some of these molecules plug into sensory cells called taste receptors. tongue And along the roof and behind the mouth. These cells detect at least five basic tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami.
Each taste receptor specializes in one of these broad taste categories, for example, sweet and salt receptors. However, that does not mean that all receptors in the category respond to the same exact taste molecule. For example, humans have 25 taste receptors for bitterness. Live science previously reportedMenera states that some bitter receptors detect only a few compounds, while others are sensitive to many compounds. And, depending on the genetics, different people carry slightly different versions of each receptor in different amounts, which affects their susceptibility to different tastes.
And to some extent, the microbial community that lives in our mouth (called the oral microbiome) can affect which molecules are released from our food when we chew. Live science previously reported..
When you eat a bite of cheese, the taste receptors send a message and the taste receptors fall into a frenzy of activity. brain.. At the same time, some small levitating molecules released from the snack are swept from the mouth through the throat into the nasal passages where they contact the olfactory receptors.Some odorous compounds from cheese also enter from the front door nose,nostril. When activated, the olfactory receptors send large numbers of messages to the brain, integrating information from taste receptors with this information to give the unique flavor of aged white cheddar.
While individual taste and olfactory receptor sensitivities shape their taste, “measuring how sensitive someone is … it doesn’t tell you anything about how much you like something. “Menella said.
Why you like what you like
To some extent human evolution Underlying our love for a particular taste. Infants have a greater preference for sweet taste than adults since birth, and these sweet teeth continue from the age of 14 to 16 in mid-puberty, and the growth of the child begins to slow down. According to a 2014 review of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, at that point, children’s enthusiasm for sweets usually diminishes and their taste becomes more mature.
This early love for sweetness is common to all primates, says Menera, because sweetness acts as a general signal for high-calorie foods that are key to growth, development, and survival.In general, children are compared to adults with salt, which is an essential mineral for the brain. logic function.
Sweetness and saltiness indicate useful attributes of foods, but “on the other hand, bitterness is most likely a signal of’be careful, this can be harmful’,” he said. For example, the taste may indicate toxic or spoiled. Babies are more sensitive to bitterness than adults, and thus the taste system acts as a kind of “gatekeeper”, allowing growing children to get enough calories while avoiding toxins. Of course, these built-in preferences also affect how your baby reacts to nutritious but bitter foods such as dark green vegetables.As a result, babies are attracted to the sweetness of breast milk, but usually dislike the first taste of puree. spinach They are provided after weaning.
But evolution does not all affect our food preferences as a child. According to Menera, from the moment the taste and smell develop in the womb, the foetation begins to prefer a variety of foods. According to a 2019 review, foods and beverages consumed during pregnancy will “flavor” the amniotic fluid, exposing the foetation to new flavors and providing information on which flavors can be safely consumed. Journal of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition..
And after birth, flavor molecules can also pass through breast milk and color the child’s impression of those flavors.For example, a study led by Menera in 2001 was published in a journal. PediatricsBabies are more likely to eat carrot-flavored foods when their mother drinks carrot juice during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and generally more than babies who have never touched carrot juice in utero or while breastfeeding. It seemed like I liked the carrot flavor.
These early experiences lay the foundation for our taste preferences, and with repeated exposure to new foods, our taste buds expand. Research suggests This means that for a child aged 4 months to 2 years, just tasting the vegetables daily for 8 to 10 days will increase the acceptance of the food in the future. These flavor-related memories we created as a child leave a lasting impression on our tastes. However, the process of learning to love new foods can continue into adulthood.
“We can all learn to love new foods,” Menera said in 2010. The 22nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Psychological Sciences.. “But it’s these foods we experience in childhood that bring us in the past, because of these emotionally powerful and flavor-inspiring memories.” Flavor-related Memory has many emotional weights due to the direct line of communication between the olfactory receptor and the emotions in the brain and the center of memory. Live science previously reported..
In addition to this continuous learning process, changes in taste and smell abilities can change taste as we get older. In adolescents, taste bud cells regenerate weekly or so, but with age, this regeneration process slows dramatically, According to NPR.. Then, around middle age, in the 40s and 50s, the total number of taste buds in the mouth begins to decrease, and the sensitivity of the remaining taste receptors decreases. According to the Cleveland Clinic..
Our odor sensation also declines with age, on its own and in association with age-related illnesses such as: Parkinson’s disease When Alzheimer’s disease, According to the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health.. Like taste, this is due to a decrease in olfactory receptors and a slower regeneration rate.Drugs such as antibiotics and blood pressure medications can disrupt the taste sensation, such as radiation therapy and chemical treatment It can impair both taste and smell. Cigarette smoke and chemical pollutants also damage the taste and smell system.
In some cases, these reductions in taste and smell can discourage people from eating altogether, as they are all dull. In other cases, individuals look for foods with extreme flavor profiles, The New York Times reported.. In particular, some studies suggest that consumption of ultra-sweet and salty foods tends to increase in old age, but this trend is consistent, according to a 2017 critical review of food science and nutrition. Has not appeared. Other attributes of food, such as appearance, texture, and convenience of cooking and eating, can weigh as much as the elderly’s dietary preferences.
Originally published in Live Science.
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