It is not uncommon for people to develop strange taste preferences with age. This is a story from the series: “As soon as you start to like olives, childhood is over, ” but not quite. We are used to worrying about hearing and vision impairments in old age, but we rarely think that taste and smell are also worth including on this list.
“You lose all your senses as you get older. Except perhaps for a sense of humor, ”says Steven Parnes, an otolaryngologist based in New York, to The Salt.
The average person is born with 9, 000 taste buds. Each taste bud on the tongue is a bundle of sensory cells (receptors), grouped as tightly as the petals of an unopened bud are interconnected. Taste buds differ in their sensitivity to different types of tastes: some respond especially well to sweetness, while others help us to feel bitter or sour taste.
It is important to understand that receptors are perfectly regenerated. In other words, cells are replaced with new ones on average every 1-2 weeks. This, for example, explains the fact that within 2-3 days after you burn your tongue with a too hot drink, the taste possibilities of the tongue return to normal.
Aging of the body slows down this ability, like many other regenerative processes in the body. No, the sensors are still being updated, but the update rate becomes significantly slower. “It’s worth keeping in mind that older people often take medications that can harm receptor sensitivity, ” adds Stephen Parnes. The expert also cites research data that indicate that women experience loss of taste from the age of 50, and in men - from the age of 60.
An interesting point: sometimes the violation of taste perception is not really a loss of taste, but a loss of smell. While the tongue detects only a few tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, salty), the nose smells thousands of odors that are closely related to certain foods (foods) in our head.
If you find that the taste of your favorite dishes has become not as bright and impressive as before, you need to make an appointment with a specialist. The fact is that sometimes the inability to sense tastes and smells is associated with damage or rupture of cells in the nerves, which can be caused by previous viral diseases or recent injuries.
What if the problem is caused by the most common age-related changes? First of all, don't worry. Spicy flavors - take a look at oriental cuisine - and dense textures to help you taste better.