Have you ever wondered why food so satisfying and awful sometimes? Well, it is the job of our tongue and the taste buds. Taste buds on the tongue let us appreciate the food that we eat every day. Hence, without it, everything will taste bland. These buds around the tongue are small organs that give us the taste of sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, and sour taste. How the tongue and taste buds work is exciting to know. If you want to discover more, continue reading this article.
Take a closer look at your tongue. You see some bumps, right? Hence, these bumps are called papillae. These small bumps have taste buds with tiny hairs known as microvilli. These hairs will send a message to the brain to know what taste it is. Afterward, the brain will tell you if it’s sweet, salty, sour, or bitter.
Moreover, a person has 10,000 taste buds that are replaced every two weeks. However, as you age, these hairs will not be replaced. Therefore, as you get older, you will eventually losses your sense of tongue taste. Hence, an elder may only have 5,000 taste buds working correctly. That is why some tastes may feel stronger to you than to elders. Also, smoking affects the formation of new cells to improve taste buds on the tongue.
1. Sweet Taste
Maybe you already heard about having a “sweet tooth.”However, people naturally have a sweet tongue. The sweet taste comes with pleasure because it signals the brain that the food has sugar. Hence, sugar is one of the primary sources of energy in the body. Also, it is the taste that all of us can appreciate; even babies love it.
Furthermore, adding other tastes like some saltiness will increase the sweetness level. A sweet compliment other tastes like sourness, but nit the bitter taste. However, the sweetness can fight a bitter taste.
2. Salty Taste
Salt is essential to the diet, and it enhances the tongue to taste even better. However, it should not be taken in excess. Unfortunately, some Americans consume food with a high amount of salt. Hence, the average is 2 to 3 times the recommended amount from the FDA. It is good to know that having lesser salt in your food is not a problem. As a result, your taste buds will adjust to it, and you will satisfy later on.
Moreover, it is popular as a flavor enhancer. Likewise, adding salt to a sweet food can level up the sweetness. That is why a little salt is always part of the ingredient in most baked products and desserts. A bit of salt is good to enhance the flavor of anything.
3. Sour Taste
If your taste buds detect a sour taste, it means acid. The sensation of mouth crumple is common for any food with an acid like citrus fruits. Also, sour may come from the fermentation of foods like yogurt and sauerkraut with vinegar. Aside from that, sour has a strong odor that the nose can detect. Sense of smell and taste of connected so the nose can signal the brain that the food is sour even without tasting it.
There are many ways to add a sour taste to dishes, like in salad by adding lemon or orange zest to your dressing. Smell and taste is a good partner to make the food more enjoyable.
The taste bud that can detect bitter taste is the most sensitive among all buds. Mostly, the bitter taste is toxic. That is why many think that it is an unpleasant taste. Plants can offer a bitter taste, and it can make food enjoyable. For instance, the bitterness of the beer is pleasant for some. Also, the bitter taste of dark chocolate is acceptable for many. Another is the bitter taste of coffee that is addictive for coffee lovers.
5. Umami Taste
The umami taste can increase a person’s appetite for food. It is a newly discovered addition to five taste buds. Hence, it is accepted during the 20th century by a Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda. Additionally, he found the taste in cheese, meat, tomatoes, and asparagus. However, none of the first four tastes can describe its flavor.