4. Our brain and our sensory system work together to
determine what we are willing to eat. Which
one of these is your favorite taste?
5. Our brains record every action and reaction we have
ever experienced. This includes getting use to the taste
of certain foods. Eating foods as children becomes a
habit that sometimes is hard to change. Which
common foods are you not willing to eat?
6. As we grow older, we tend to expand the number of
different foods that we are willing to eat. However,
most of us find it difficult to try new tastes. What
new taste have you tried during the
last year or two?
8. Eating Snails is a real delicacy in some European
countries. Eating escargot(snails) in a French
restaurant is quite expensive. If someone
offered you a hundred dollars to eat
snails in a nice restaurant, would you
9. Who likes raw fish or octopus? If it
were cooked, would you eat it?
10. Everyone’s preference for taste is not the same.
While many people are chocolate lovers, lots of us
are not. Who loves chocolate?
11. Our taste for sweet things can seem unlimited. The brain
has different areas that respond to sweet, sour, bitter,
and salty. It seems that the sweet taste is associated with
increased nutrients and calories. Why do you think
the early human brain developed these
responses to sweet tastes?
12. Storing extra calories and accessing vital nutrients is not a
problem that most modern Americans need to worry
about. However, in the past early man relied on hunting
and gathering in order to maintain enough sustenance to
survive. Unfortunately, the brain is somewhat wired to
access calories while most people eat for taste.
13. Cultures in Southeast Asia and the Middle East tend to
prefer spices on their food that are not typically found on
American foods. It seems that where you are born makes
a significant difference in the foods you like. Why do
you think that is the case?
14. Children usually prefer mild tasting foods over
stronger tasting foods. On the other hand, as we get
older, we tend to prefer stronger tasting foods with
more spices. Why might that be the case?
15. Vegetables like broccoli are very good for our health, yet
many young people would rather eat dirt. Including a
variety of vegetables in our diet reduces the risk for
heart disease and cancer. Which veggies do you
eat on a regular basis?
16. Chili peppers are extremely healthy to eat. But,
peppers are not all created equal. Jalapenos are hot,
habaneros are hotter, and Trinidad Moruga
Scorpions are the hottest in the world. The
compound known as capsaicin creates the different
degrees of spicy heat that is packed in each chili.
17. Capsaicin creates a response from the
neurotransmitters in the brain. Endorphins flood the
body in an attempt to reduce the pain from the hot
peppers and create a type of “runners high”. Do
you choose the mild or the super hot
sauce offered by restaurants? Which
one do you have at home?
18. Who loves pizza? Why do you think so
many people love the taste of pizza? Is it
the protein, the fat, or the carbohydrates?
Would you eat it without the pepperoni?
19. As we chew, the taste buds on the tongue sense the
different tastes, and the neurons in the taste buds are
sent to the brain where the perception of taste is created.
20. The nerve cells that convey taste messages to the
brain are located in our taste buds that are spread
equally on the surface of our tongues. These buds
provide several different tastes including sweet,
bitter, sour, and salty.
21. Small pegs of tissue called papillae cover the tongue and
can be seen easily if you put a dot of blue coloring on the
tongue and observe with a flashlight. The microscopic
taste buds that cover the papillae cannot be seen
without a microscope. Each bud has about one hundred
taste receptor cells bundled together like little bananas.
34. In the back of our nose is a group of olfactory
nodes which contain millions of receptor cells
that bind odor molecules. The nerves run through
the layers of nodes and supporting tissue to the
lower area where a larger nerve sends the smell
information to the brain.
35. In summary, we find something to sniff, breathe it
through our nose, and stimulate a nerve receptor.
36. Then the olfactory bulb sends the electrical smell
messages through the olfactory nerve to the orbitofrontal
lobe of the brain which is located directly above the nasal
passages that contain our smell nerve receptors. It is here
that our brain begins the process of determining which
smell, out of the trillion that we are capable of smelling,
has actually entered our nasal passages.
37. Experiences that are associated with certain smells create
an extra strong memory that is retrieved more easily than
other memories. Do you have a memory that
seems to be triggered by a special smell?