The human tongue is essentially formed by muscle and is the only voluntary muscle in the human body that can spend hours at work without getting fatigued.
When we open our mouth, only two-thirds of its total size is visible. This portion of the tongue is covered, on its upper part, by taste buds. They seem small buttons and there are four types o them that capture the flavor of foods and send the information directly to the brain.
Each taste bud is associated with an acid, a basic or a sweet flavor. However, not only the tongue has the ability of tasting, the palate also possesses this ability. There are known, until this day, five flavors accepted by our system : sweet, sour, bitter , salty and umami . When food does not cause any action on the tongue, it is said that this is tasteless.
There are some foods that ” annihilate” or “disguise ” the taste of other foods, changing our perception of its true taste. Some of these condiments are salt, pepper , hot pepper , oil, vinegar , herbs , and other seasonings.
For example, the seasoning normally used in a mixed salad, fail to really feel the real taste of lettuce, tomato , etc. . Eating a tomato with salt makes it salty, “drowning out” its sweet – sour taste.
By eating a very spicy meal, the tongue can no longer distinguish other flavors. For those who are fond of spicy, the dish can actually be very delicious, but there will be no major changes in flavor.
The palate is also something that you train.
Probably you have noticed that there are some people naturally more sensitive than others when it comes to taste. Apart from these exceptions, there is the food habit.
A person, who is accustomed to ingest a lot of condiments, will find some difficulties on appreciating the taste of foods in their natural form. This person wouldn’t be able to feel the difference in the between two apples from the same tree.
However if we get used to eat more food in its natural state, we’ll be able to discover different flavors in the same single apple. How is this possible? The truth is that direct exposure to sunlight, soil nutrients, water and wind greatly influence the flavors of the same apple tree.
If we look for the little subtleties of flavor in every bite, our life will be richer because we are able to understand the nuances existing in that fruit. The papillae pass information to the brain that defines if a nutrient is pleasant. And so we can give more importance to what we eat.
Eating without tasting is not avail one of the major senses and functions of our body.