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Can You Change Your Taste Buds?

One of the first things you may have learned in science class is your taste buds’ ability to detect sweet, salty, sour and bitter.

As an adult, you may not think much about the 10,000 taste buds inside your mouth. But they’re there determining what you taste every time a morsel of food goes in.

Everyone’s taste buds are unique which shapes individual food likes and dislikes. But tastes can change with age as the taste buds become less sensitive. For example, bitter may become more tolerable over time.

From time to time in my own practice as a Wellness Coach, I encounter a picky eater who is reluctant to make dietary changes. A dislike of certain foods is a perceived a roadblock to making long-term healthy changes to daily eating habits.

With so much added salt, sugar and artificial flavors in our packaged and restaurant foods, it’s not surprising many people find more natural foods unpalatable or even un-enjoyable.

Instead of blaming the food, you can take some simple action steps to retrain your taste buds to actually crave and enjoy healthy, cleaner food.

1.   Overhaul your kitchen: Take stock of what’s in your refrigerator and pantry and get rid of anything packaged or unnatural. Replace it all with clean, whole foods to keep on hand for meals and snacks

2.   Get the sugar out and cut back on salt: We’re conditioned to love sugar as newborns and most of us carry that preference straight into adulthood. Too much sugar and salt can mask the natural flavor of food and of course, cause us to crave more of the sweet stuff.

3.   Use herbs, spices and healthy fats:  I’m certainly not recommending you eat plain, old boring food as an alternative. Put your spice cabinet to work and whip up healthy, flavorful dressings and sauces using healthy fats, herbs, spices and vinegars to enhance the flavor of your natural foods.

4.   Commit to cooking at home:  Added salt, sugar, butter and more in restaurant food not only adds unwanted pounds to your frame but leaves you with cravings and poor digestion. Again, to retrain your taste buds to enjoy simpler food, cook at home and save the restaurant meals for special occasions.

5.   Be patient and keep trying: To create change, you have to want it, but don’t expect it to happen overnight. Keep trying new foods and recipes. Be curious, get inspired and take action!

Marissa Vicario is a blogger for JenningsWire, a blogging community created by Annie Jennings.