The Science Behind: Favorite Foods (Cover- Ishita Baghel)
Food is what connects people, aids our survival, and develops our sense of taste. I am personally a foodie. I love to eat. But, one of the things making us unique revolves on what foods we like or don't like to eat. So, why do we have favorite foods? Why do different people tend to consume different things? Read on to find out!
Our nose is one of the factors in our sense of taste. The smells from the food energize nerves that are found high in the nose. The flavor of the foods eaten is highly impacted by the way your nose perceives their smell as the scent stimulates the brain. The brain's view of the foods and their smell affects the taste. A person is born with 10,000 taste buds in their mouth. This includes the tongue, throat, and roof of the mouth. Saliva is essential to the way we taste the food. Every taste bud in our mouth has around 10-50 cells responsible for starting our sense of taste. These cells are refilled around every 1 - 1 & 1/2 weeks. The taste buds are also activated when the food is eaten is mixed with the saliva in your mouth. There are also certain receptors that can sense specific nutrients in food. For example, salt receptors will be able to find salty tasting molecules and bits in the food.
Now that we can see how taste works, we can find out why we like or dislike certain foods. There are 35 receptors in a person's mouth that detect sweet, spicy, salty, sour, or savory (umami) foods. Likewise, we have 400 receptors that detect the smell or aroma of food. There are certain instructions for the receptors in our DNA. So, the receptors each person has could be completely different from other people's. For instance, to me, avocados could smell very fragrant and delightful. However, to you, they could smell disgusting and stinky! Remember, smell greatly influences taste. Maybe the receptors in our mouths are different. I could taste the bitterness of a pineapple more while you could taste the sweetness of it more.
The place where you live also affects what you like or dislike. Certain plants in the world taste quite bitter. People who come into contact or eat these plants more often would most likely have developed a large variety of receptors in their noses and mouths. Basically, the conditions you live in can impact your genes given before birth as well. Those genes can affect the taste. The things you face on a daily basis can also affect the taste.
Perhaps you like cheese and crackers or wasabi on toast. Maybe you like chips dunked in milk. The possibilities of what you like are endless. The next time you indulge in your favorite meal, remember, you have to thank mom and dad for confirming your favorite foods.
Remember to keep your large appetite for both food and knowledge!