Did you know there are taste receptors throughout the body, not just in the mouth? It's true! Our whole body experiences taste and flavour and knows exactly what food it needs to be satisfied and healthy.
“Extra-oral” taste receptors feature throughout the body, including the heart, lungs, gut, airways, flesh and bones.
These special receptors sense flavours, manage immunity and balance emotions and fertility. As well as regulating insulin, alerting the brain to toxins, and more.
So when you think about eating, consider that your whole body is telling you what it wants.
The Five Major Tastes
Our tongues react to different compounds and specific sensory inputs called the Five Major Tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami/savoury. They act as indicators to assess what we eat and can signal sustenance or danger.
By recognizing these flavours, one can make more informed decisions regarding their diet and enhance their dining experience.
The Relationship Between Flavours and Organs According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Five Major Flavours interact with specific organs and affect the body uniquely.
Sweetness is associated with the Spleen and Stomach and ensures we get enough carbohydrates for energy. Sweet foods include grains, potatoes, honey, fruits and yellow vegetables.
Sourness relates to the Liver and Gallbladder and stimulates digestion, promotes circulation, and helps detoxify the body. It also warns us when food is toxic or ripe. Sour foods include lemons, citrus, sauerkraut, pickles and yoghurt.
Bitterness is associated with the Heart and Small Intestine and helps clear heat, resolve dampness, and calm the mind. It also registers when something is poisonous. Bitter foods include leafy greens, chard, asparagus, eggplant and herbs.
Saltiness is related to the Kidneys and Bladder and helps balance fluids, soften hardness, and nourish Yin. Salty foods include seaweed, ocean fish, olives, miso and soy sauce.
Umami is associated with the Lungs and Large Intestine and helps moisten dryness, promote digestion, and regulate Qi. This flavour ensures an adequate intake of protein. Umami includes savoury foods like meat, broth, eggs and milk.
By incorporating a variety of flavours into our diet, we can help support the health and vitality of all our organs.
Nourish your body and your soul.
Learn to distinguish between foods that comfort your soul and foods that nourish your body.
For example, you might crave comfort foods like pizza, ice cream, or chips. Comfort foods provide temporary relief and pleasure but are not beneficial long-term.
You may also crave nourishing foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These foods provide the nutrients your body needs and can be delicious and satisfying.
Balance eating for health and joy.
Listen to the body and pay attention to the messages it sends. Eat for the love of food and strive for balance and moderation. Occasionally indulge in comfort foods but have a healthy diet of nutrient-dense foods.
Additionally, try experimenting with healthy cooking techniques. Combine flavours to make your meals more enjoyable. For example, season and roast vegetables with herbs and spices or add healthy fats, such as olive oil or avocado, to enhance flavour and texture.
How to listen to your cravings and make healthy choices:
Pay attention to the messages your body is sending.
Notice hunger pangs, grumbly stomachs or feelings of tiredness. Subtle cues like a vision or scent of what you want to eat. As well as feeling full and satisfied after a meal and knowing when enough is enough.
Trust your intuition with food choices.
Often, our bodies know what they need, from a nutrient to a particular type of food. Give your body what it wants.
Be mindful of your cravings.
Sometimes, cravings can be a sign of nutrient deficiencies. They can also be emotional or psychological factors. Try to identify the underlying cause of your cravings and address it.
Be aware of addictive foods and substances.
Try to limit your intake of foods like sugar, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. Make conscious choices to nourish your body and be healthy.
Finally, remember food is also a source of pleasure and enjoyment.
Listen to your body and find a balance between eating for health and joy. Nourish your body, mind, and soul and live a happy and healthy life!
Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash
If you like this article please comment and share!
Access Octomono Masonry Settings
Zoe Davis is the founder of The New Leaf coaching and kinesiology.
Since 1997 Zoe has helped thousands of people who feel stuck clear their life path and confidently move forward.
As well as a regular blog, The New Leaf offers 1:1 coaching, online courses, downloads and more...