There’s nothing quite like a vine-ripened tomato, a perfect raspberry, grilled salmon, or freshly roasted coffee. With the abundance of flavors available to us every day, you would never believe that the thousands of taste buds on our tongues can detect only four tastes: sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Our brains make it possible to turn these four tastes into the thousands we discern and enjoy during our lifetimes. About 90% of the ability to distinguish flavors comes from our sense of smell.
Unfortunately, our sense of smell begins to deteriorate around the age of 60. How much loss occurs can vary greatly from person to person. But even before we age, we can blunt our appreciation for flavors by smoking, taking certain medications, eating too much, or eating too fast.
Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures. To get the most from this sensual delight, eat fresh foods in season, switch back and forth between foods during your meal, and slow down to savor every bite. Take your time…and enjoy.