Our taste buds are essential for survival. They can trigger salty when your body needs sodium. They can signal your mouth to spit it out if something is poisonous to your body.
We have five taste buds: salty, sour, bitter, sweet, and the newest taste bud, umami (A meaty taste).
Each taste assists you in choosing healthy foods that support digestion and keeps the body in balance. The body is constantly using cravings to achieve balance. As we learn to listen to our body, we can tap into its innate wisdom and trust our cravings.
Saltiness: is a sign your body is needing sodium. Salt (Sodium Chloride) is essential for health, you can not live with out it. Salt carries nutrients into and out of your cells, maintains and regulates blood pressure, increasing the glial cells in your brain, which are responsible for creative thinking and long-term planning, and helps your brain communicate with your muscles, so that you can move on demand via sodium-potassium ion exchange. It improves the taste of food, lubricates tissues and stimulates digestion. We need 1 gram of sodium per day, and the best sources are natural sea salt and sea vegetables.
Bitter: This reminds us of toxicity or a “bitter medicine”. The bitter taste is essential component in maintaining balance and health. Bitter foods and herbs detoxify the liver and intestinal tract, clears the lymph system and enhances immune system. Foods that are bitter include: iceberg lettuce, romaine and butter lettuce, red and green lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, coffee (whether caffeinated or decaffeinated) teas, chocolate, rhubarb, sesame, and licorice.
Sourness: This taste maintains the body’s acidity and helps absorbs minerals such as iron. The most common food group is citrus fruits (like lemon and lime), sour milk products (like sour cream, cheese and yogurt), and fermented foods (like pickles, sauerkraut, vinegar, wine and soy sauce). The sour taste cleanses tissues and stimulates digestion, circulation and elimination.
Sweetness: Ah, sweet, we all crave it, brings us comfort and joy. This craving offers a strengthening and nourishing action for the blood. The best sources are complex carbohydrates, fruits, nuts, spices, and vegetables: such as sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, spinach, winter squash, avocados, beets, carrots; many nuts such as almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts and pecans; honey, sesame and sunflower seeds, fennel, rose, saffron, cardamom, anise, dill, poppy seeds and cinnamon, mangoes, peaches, apricots.
Umami: Is the most interesting taste bud. Savory foods such as cheese, meat, mushrooms and tomatoes activate the umami taste buds. The Japanese have recognized this flavor for years. That is why you crave substance. No wonder we crave Caprese salad. Vegetarians can grab a Portabello mushroom and saute to satisfy this craving.
Textures such as crunchy & creamy also offer signs of what your body is needing. They are both linked to all the taste buds not being satisfied and dehydration.
So before you go and grab the sweet muffin with extra butter, have a glass of water with lemon to make sure that isn’t what your body needed.