- Posted in Health Benefits
Imagine how great of shape you would be in if you craved broccoli and spinach, instead of ice cream and pizza?
Well, the good news is that you can actually help train your taste buds to prefer healthier options like kale and carrots instead of junk food. And it is quick and relatively easy to do!
Just as you can train your body in the gym and make healthier lifestyle choices, you can use several ways to help your taste buds learn to enjoy healthy foods. Read on to learn the little tricks that can help you appreciate healthy foods more and maybe even start to crave them!
Taste Bud Turnover
When it comes to training your taste buds to prefer healthy foods, one of the most important concepts to understand is taste bud turnover. Just as cells in your body constantly regenerate, your tastebuds regenerate approximately every 10 to 21 days.
This means your taste buds can actually adjust to new flavours if you change around your diet and stick with it, preferably for at least 21 days.
In many instances, it may take as little as a week for your taste buds to start adjusting to flavours you were not fond of before. So if celery is not on your list of go-to foods, commit to eating it every day for 21 days. At the end of three weeks, you will hopefully have a newfound appreciation for this nutritional powerhouse.
Generally, this approach works best with bitter or tart foods or options that are low in salt or sugar. With time and effort, re-training your taste buds can increase the number of healthy foods you enjoy and get you closer to a healthier body and flatter stomach!
How Saliva Can Work in Your Favour
Along with using the knowledge of taste bud turnover to your advantage, new research suggests that the more you eat a certain food, the less bitter it will taste. And it is all thanks to your saliva!
The American Chemical Society presented the study, which found that when individuals were repeatedly exposed to bitter compounds in foods such as cocoa, their saliva actually changed.
By utilising proteins that bind to astringent compounds, saliva can make foods less bitter and more palatable.
Since many bitter foods are also some of the healthiest — think Brussel sprouts, turmeric, broccoli, radishes, arugula, dandelion greens — learning to enjoy these foods can have a positive impact on your health and waistline.
Knowledge is Power
Arguably one of the best ways to change your view on a food is to learn as much about it as possible. Do your taste buds fear the very thought of greens? Then become a greens expert!
Set out every type of green you can find — kale, spinach, arugula, dandelion greens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, swiss chard, and any others you can find — and sample them all. You may be surprised to discover the differences in all the flavours, the varying textures, and the subtle nuances in each type of green. With luck, you will expose yourself to enough varieties and find one that your taste buds prefer.
Adjust Your Taste Thresholds
Everyone has different thresholds when it comes to salty or sweet tastes. A dish that one person finds overly salty may be a dish that another person chooses to add more salt to!
These preferences are partially due to physiology (some individuals do have more sensitive taste buds than others). However, we do become accustomed to certain levels of saltiness or sweetness over time based on our habits.
For instance, many individuals that give up all sugar for a significant period of time suddenly find that apples now taste almost as sweet as cake!
The best way to make a lasting change is by reducing the levels of salt or sugar you consume bit by bit. If each step is almost imperceptible, your taste buds will gradually adjust and make you more likely to adopt this new threshold and enjoy the steps along the way.
For example, if you use sweetener in your coffee or make homemade hot chocolate with added sweetener, consider reducing the amount of sweetener gradually. Eventually, you will find that it takes far less sugar than it originally did to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Even if you do not prefer healthy foods now or want to add to the list of healthy foods you already love, consider trying some of the tips mentioned above to re-train your taste buds to enjoy new flavours.
What are some of the healthy foods you wish you liked but do not care for? Are there any tricks you use to include healthy foods in your diet?