"I think there is beauty in everything. What 'normal' people perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it."—Alexander McQueen

"I think there is beauty in everything. What 'normal' people perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it."—Alexander McQueen

Healthy food

Retrain Your Palate: Get The Best Flavor From Your Food

Eating foods nowadays can get boring. If normal foods taste bland for you, it is probably because of the strong flavors that processed foods force on us. It can dull the taste buds from detecting all the nuances in the food you eat. But your palate is like a muscle. You can train it to become better. With improved taste buds, you can also live a healthier life.

Many healthy foods taste bland to people, but they have unique tastes. Here are some things that you can do to improve your taste buds:

Add More Flavors To Your Diet

It might surprise you at how narrow your choice of flavors you have. Many people like to focus on variations of sweet and salty flavors. But there are three other flavor types that you should get used to. These are the bitter, sour, and umami flavors. Bitter and sour are two flavors that you should be familiar with. But umami may sound like something you never heard of before.

Umami is considered the fifth flavor and its official recognition only came in the 80s. The name hints at this since it is Japanese for savoriness. The more scientific way to define it is that it describes the taste of a particular set of amino acids: glutamate, inosinate, and guanylate. If you want to have a good idea of what umami tastes like when you visit a local bar and grill, you should order some grilled pork. Bacon and ham are also pretty rich in that flavor. The great thing about umami is that it can help keep your appetite in check.

If you want proper taste bud development, you should indulge in all flavors in a single meal. A single week of regular use should increase your sensitivity to the other flavors.

Try Out New Foods

One bad habit that many people fall into is that they always go with their preferred foods. It is a bit unavoidable since people like familiar things. For example, that is why fast food is so popular. Restaurant chains all serve the same menu items with similar flavors. People like that and keep on ordering the same thing over and over.

But that limits your taste buds. With the same flavor of foods repeated, again and again, they are not being used to their full potential. You can change that by adding new foods to the mix. This doesn’t mean that you have to eat something new every day. A simple change in ingredients can be enough. For example, your salad may get an additional kick by substituting in kale or another green rather than the normal lettuce.

Choose More Natural Foods

It can be surprising how many flavors that we taste come from artificial sources. If you want to appreciate the taste of food more, you should look to get more natural flavoring in what you eat. Instead of artificial flavoring, you should try to eat foods that come fresh and are the actual flavor source. For example, many modern foods have fruit flavoring. Choose to get the actual fruits instead. The taste is often better and more natural instead of the enhanced flavor of artificial sources.

These artificial flavors sabotage your taste buds. They exaggerate sweetness so that you only respond to the super-sweetness, missing out on the more subtle sweet tones that natural fruits have. When you get familiar with natural flavors, you can skip out on the additional sweetness provided by too much sugar and other sweeteners.

Savor Your Food

woman eating

Another way to train your taste buds is to slow down when you are eating. When you eat quickly, your tongue will only have a quick impression of the food you eat before it moves down to your stomach. To have a full idea of the taste of food, you should slow down and savor it. Don’t gulp down your food but chew it slowly. Studies show that prolonged chewing changes the flavor profile of the food. This is because of the release of new substances from the process as well as how your saliva slowly dissolves the food. A good long meal also allows you to appreciate its flavors.

Your taste buds need a bit of exercise if you want them to be at their best. Ensure that they are best by implementing some new food habits that will allow you to fully savor your foods more. With the right approach, you will find that every meal can become a flavor explosion.

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