why does food taste bland when you have a cold

SUMMARY: While the tongue identifies four primary tastes - salty, sweet, sour and bitter - your nose is responsible for the sumptuous flavors in food. Posted: June 4, 2014
When we come down with a cold, oftentimes our senses of smell and taste get kicked to the curb. Although taste and smell are separate senses with their own receptors, they are closely intertwined. Your nose plays a big role in what flavors your tongue can identify, and when your nasal cavity becomes congested with mucus, it may leave food tasting as bland as a board. On a basic level, it s helpful to think about it like this: The nose and the mouth are connected. Literally, the nasal and oral cavities run into each other. That s why the mucus clogging your nose nullifies the delicious and not-so-delicious flavors of food. This same mucus will also, most likely, cause that should be addressed. Use TheraBreath PLUS Nasal-Sinus Drops: - After 3-4 minutes, blow nose to remove any excess mucus Receptor cells in the mouth and nose The tongue has thousands of taste buds that identify the four primary tastes - salty, sweet, sour and bitter - while the olfactory receptor cells in the nasal cavity measure odors that provide the sumptuous flavors in our food. These cells, when stimulated, send signals to specific areas of the brain, which make us conscious of the perception of taste. In this way, the messages that process taste and smell converge, giving us a more rounded idea of what we consume. Chemicals in foods called tastants are detected by taste buds, the special structures embedded in the tongue. Every person has between 5,000 to 10,000 taste buds. Each bud consists of 50 to 100 specialized sensory cells, which become piqued by tastants like salts, sugars or acids.


Meanwhile, odorants, or odor molecules, are identified by the specialized sensory neurons in a small patch of mucus membranes lining the roof of the nose. To get these flavors - whether savory or not so savory - the odorants get stimulated by smells or chemicals in food that initiate a pattern of activity sent to the olfactory bulb. After passing to the primary olfactory cortex at the part of the frontal lobe in the brain, the message is relayed to adjacent parts of the orbital cortex where the combination of odor and taste information helps create the perception of flavor. Mucus blockade If mucus in your nasal passages turns too thick, molecules from the air and food can t reach your olfactory receptor cells. Therefore, your brain receives no signal identifying the odor, and everything you eat seems to taste the same. With that being said, you can still feel the texture and temperature of the food, since this information is processed on the tongue. The lack of taste may be accompanied by post-nasal drip, a condition where mucus drips down the back of the throat instead of out through the nostrils. is normally caused by an illness such as the cold, a flu virus or nasal allergies. All of these can wipe the flavor from tasty foods. In short, the inability to taste anything when you have a cold is intimately related to all of the sniffling. Both tastes and smells are the perception of chemicals in the air or in the food we eat. But don t blame your taste buds for the loss of flavor. It s the fault of your stuffed-up nose. These products will keep your breath fresh even when you have post nasal drip: All of us know that annoying feeling when your nose turns into a faucet, the sneezes neverPcease, and you feel like your head will roll off your body at any moment.


All those signs point to one truth. Pyou have a cold! Many people feel that relief will come in the form of warm beverages, soup, and bed rest, butPcolds digPeven further into your misery and make your food taste like alien gunk! Understandably, you wont be able to smell things due to all the mucus in your nose, but why does a cold steal away your sense of taste? The answer to that question lies in knowing how our senses of smell and taste are interlinked. However, let s first begin by identifying how we taste anything at all. Our sense of taste is derived from the interaction of stimuli (such as food) with the sensory receptors in our mouth, throat, and palate (roof of mouth). If you closely observe your tongue, you will see that it is not smooth, but rather granular. These tiny protuberances on your tongue are called papillae, which is wherePyour taste buds can be found. There are three main types of papillae, which are classified according to where on the tongue they are located (front, back or sides) and based on how many taste buds they contain. Each of our taste buds contains approximately. One end of each cell is perpendicular to the tongue, while the other is connected to nerve fibers (3 types) thatPcarry the signal received by the cell to areas of the brain that process taste-related information. Apart from the papillae region, there are taste receptors in the throat andPon the roof of the mouth. These receptors are thought to pick up the basic taste qualities, such as sweet, sour, salty, bitter and Umami (savory).


When you put food on your tongue, the molecules attach to the buds and stimulate the receptors, which in turn causesPthe relevant sensory neurons to fire. Let me bust a common mythPabout the taste of food. What is colloquially considered taste is actually the flavor of food; to be specific about our topic, it is the perception of flavor Pthat is compromised during a cold or flu. So how are taste and flavor different? We saw how we can taste food, but did you know that our nasal cavity and throat are connected? This connection is called the retronasal passage. Why do you lose taste when you have a cold? When we chew food, the aroma of the food travels to our nasal cavity. In the nose, there is a patch holdingPhair cells or cilia that detect and carry the odor-related signals to the area of the brain (olfactory bulb) that processes odor information. The information from both the gustatory cortex and the olfactory bulb get combined to give us a sense of flavor. The region for this mixing is thought to be the orbito-frontal region. However, during a cold, mucus blocks this passage to the nasal cavity and in the absence of odor information, our brain cannot give us information about flavor, thus making everything taste bland. Receptors for texture and temperature are in the oral cavity; therefore, we can still tell whether what we are eating is coarse or smooth, hot or cold. To put it simply, it is not really that a cold takes away the senses of taste and smell; in reality, mucus blocks your ability to smell and your loss of flavor perception is just collateral damage!

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