Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Palate


1
Quit Smoking

When you smoke, nicotine suppresses the nerve activity in the areas of the brain associated with taste. The chemical compounds in cigarettes interfere with both your sense of taste and smell by dulling the ability of your taste buds and olfactory cells to send the sensory messages to your brain. The bitter taste of the nicotine can also overwhelm your senses to the detriment of tasting other flavors.

The bad news is that this can create health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure beyond the obvious side effects of smoking, as smokers pour more and more sugar and salt on their foods in order to taste it. The good news is the process is reversible because taste buds and olfactory cells regenerate about every 10 days. If you stop smoking, you may notice a heightened sense of smell and taste within just a few days. Maybe it's time to wake up and smell -- and taste -- the coffee.

Related Articles

Sources

  • Bell, Kendra and Tepper, Beverly. "Short-term vegetable intake by young children classified by 6-n-propylothoiuracil bitter-taste phenotype." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 7/06. (Accessed 3/30/09)http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/84/1/245
  • Bowen, R. "Physiology of Taste." (Accessed 1/3/12) http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/pregastric/taste.html
  • DiSylvester, Brianne. "To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse, Your Palate." Organic Authority. (Accessed 1/3/12) http://www.organicauthority.com/foodie-buzz/how-to-cleanse-your-tastebuds.html
  • Furhman, Joel. "Eat for Health." (Accessed 1/3/12)http://www.wellsphere.com/general-medicine-article/eat-for-health-decrease-salt-increase-taste/472320
  • Hall, Ada and Blakeslee, Albert. "Effect of Smoking on Taste Thresholds for Phenyl-Thio-Carbamide." Proceedings of the National Association of Sciences of the United States of America. (Accessed 1/3/12) http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1078852
  • Hatton, Christopher. "The Effect Cigarette Smoking Has on Your Taste Buds." Associated Content. (Accessed 3/30/09) http://www.associatedcontent.com/pop_print.shtml?content_type=article&content_type_id=371199
  • Healing Daily. "Sugar's Effect on Your Health." (Accessed 1/3/12) http://www.healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/sugar.htm
  • Healthopedia "Aging Changes in the Senses." (Accessed 1/3/12) http://www.healthopedia.com/aging-changes-in-senses
  • Mayo Clinic. "Artificial sweeteners: A safe alternative to sugar?" (Accessed 3/30/09) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/articifical-sweeteners/MY00073/METHOD=print
  • Reader's Digest. "Sharpening Your Sense of Smell and Taste." (Accessed 3/30/09) http://www.rd.com/living-healthy/sharpen-your-sense-of-smell-and-taste/article16097.html
  • Reuters. "Smoking, family alcohol history alter taste buds." 10/24/07. (Accessed 3/30/09) http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTON47388120071024
  • Sherwood, Lauralee. "The Fundamentals of Physiology: A Human Perspective." Google Books. (Accessed 3/30/09) http://books.google.com/books?id=GoMD0tpYgBkC&dq=fundamentals+of+physiology+lauralee+sherwood&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=52tNwmnpGu&sig=641E2F4Q9mewAZn7EssRnuh3Lk0&hl=en&ei=HUzSSbPDBNX5nQeYirnfBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result#PPA174,M2
  • Takahashi, Paul. "Healthy aging." Mayo Clinic. (Accessed 3/30/09) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/loss-of-taste-and-smell/AN01198
  • Taylor, Jennifer. "Have the Good Taste to Quit Smoking." Inkling Magazine. 4/24/07. (Accessed 3/30/09) http://www.inklingmagazine.com/articles/print/the-taste-of-tobacco
  • Vangsness, Stephanie. "Mastering the Mindful Meal." Brigham and Women's Hospital. 4/22/05. (Accessed 3/30/09) http://www.brighamandwomens.org/healtheweightforwomen/special_topics/intelihealth0405.aspx
  • WUSA9. "Not enough Americans restricting salt." (Accessed 3/30/09) http://www.wusa9.com/news/health/story.aspx?storyid=83522&catid=28

UP NEXT

Did Quinoa Get Too Popular for Its Own Good?

Did Quinoa Get Too Popular for Its Own Good?

HowStuffWorks looks at the popularity of quinoa and how it affected farmers who grew it in South America.


More to Explore