Our Changing Sense of Taste

What we enjoy eating has a lot to do with our own personal preferences. You might be a fan of the smooth taste of chocolate. You may delight in the sour taste of a good dill pickle or relish the unique sweet and tart mix of strawberry shortcake.

What we like to eat also has a lot to do with our ability to taste and smell. As we age, these abilities gradually decline. They can diminish so gradually, in fact, that the changes may not even be that noticeable. It might just seem like we are enjoying food less or craving different foods.

Some studies have shown that some people need different levels of flavors like sweetness or sourness to better sense them as they age. Loss of taste can also lead to decreased appetite and poor nutrition. Make sure to consult with a medical professional about concerns you may have about loss of taste.

There are lots of interesting ways to enhance flavor and perk up meals. If your sense of taste has waned, the following flavor enhancers may help.

A few useful suggestions...

  • Speak with your doctor about medications you are taking to find out if any of them could be affecting your sense of taste.

  • Sample a variety of new and diverse foods with flavors you are not used to on a regular basis to perk up your taste buds.
  • Add herbs and spices, like parsley, rosemary, sage, garlic, ginger, or dried tangerine peel.
  • Use low sodium flavoring agents, such as lemon juice, lime juice, or flavored vinegar.

  • Alternate bites of different foods during a meal.

  • Include a range of colors and combine different textures when preparing food. Adding color and texture to your plate can make a meal more interesting. Research has shown that color in food has a significant influence on the perceived intensity of flavor.

Let's make the most of aging

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