The 7 Tastes (And Maybe an 8th?)

The 7 Tastes (And Maybe an 8th?)

Many of us were taught that humans can sense four tastes: salty, sweet, sour, and bitter. But did you know that there are actually seven tastes? And ongoing research suggests there may even be an eighth.

 

Salty

This is the simplest of the tastes. Salt is actually the compound sodium chloride, which is necessary for the human body. That’s because it regulates fluids and creates nerve impulses. Humans perceive it as warming, soothing and drying. Any foods with sodium chloride are perceived as salty. Examples include soy sauce, celery, baking soda/powder, seaweed and olives.

Sweet

Sweetness indicates the presence of sugars in foods, along with certain proteins. The sweet taste is pleasurable to most people, except in excess. It is calming and relaxing. Also, the tongue may perceive it as moist. Common foods that taste sweet are sugar, cinnamon, dill, honey, butter, wheat, almonds, carrots and avocado.

 

Sour

Sour tastes let us know that there are acids in certain foods. This stimulates the digestive system, metabolism and appetite, but, as an added bonus, can also relieve gas. Citrus fruits are the most common sour fruits. Other sour foods include yogurt, sour cream, tomatoes, vinegar, goat cheese, pickles and sauerkraut.

 

Bitter

The bitter taste receptors identify bases in foods. Humans taste bitterness so that we may avoid naturally toxic substances, most of which taste bitter. Because of this, it is the taste we are most sensitive to. In fact, we are so sensitive that many perceive bitter foods to be unpleasant, sharp or disagreeable. Some bitter foods include coffee, unsweetened cocoa and citrus peel. Quinine, found in tonic water, is also quite bitter.

Umami (Savory)

This flavor is often described as “savory” or “meaty.” Salt magnifies the taste, which is why adding salt to a tomato amplifies the flavor. Umami-rich foods include Parmesan cheese, miso, soy sauce, mushrooms, walnuts, grapes and broccoli. To a lesser degree, it’s also found in meats.

 

Astringent

This taste is in addition to the basic five tastes that humans perceive. Astringent foods contain tannins, which constrict organic tissue. It causes a puckering sensation that may also be described as rubbery, styptic, dry or rough. In addition, it may be described as harsh when found in wine, or tart, in sour foods. The astringent flavor is found in tea, unripe fruit, nutmeg, rosemary, green apples, spinach and lentils.

 

Pungent

The pungent taste is perceived as dry heat. It can boost metabolism and circulation, aid digestion and reduce body fat. Pungent foods include basil, chili powder, all hot peppers, ginger, peppermint, cayenne, horseradish, onion and garlic.

 

An Eighth Taste?

Since the 1800s, there have been arguments over whether or not fat is another taste that humans can perceive. The theory is that humans developed it in order to ensure we got enough high fat during times of food scarcity. In 2005, French researchers discovered that rats do have the taste receptor for fat. It is still unclear whether humans do, but it is clear that fatty foods like French fries are absolutely delicious.

 

Text by Jennie Tippett

5 Quick Facts About Superfoods

5 Quick Facts About Superfoods

Superfoods: the name sounds heroic because these foods actually do have the power to save your body! But what makes superfoods so super? Here is everything you need to know.

Berries, grains and other superfoods on a wooden tableYou probably already eat them daily.  

Most people aren’t aware that their diet includes superfoods unless they search for the word on Google. Superfoods include salmon, beans and turkey, just to name a few. This grouping of foods isn’t exclusive or rare. They’re merely nutrient dense. Superfoods contain dietary fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. Consider superfoods a treat for your tastebuds, your body and your soul.

Leafy green superfoods including kale, cabbage and cauliflower

Kale isn’t the only leafy green.

Superfoods rose to popularity after the world discovered the power of kale. However, other leafy greens like spinach, collards and cabbage are also on the list. Here at Market Table, we offer delicious dishes like our Kale, Quinoa and Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl or our Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad. If you’re interested in branching out to other super-delicious leafy greens, try our Bacon, Egg, Spinach and Tomato Bowl or our Hamm Farm Collard Slaw.

Kale, Quinoa, Roasted Sweet Potato Bowl with Feta.

Market Table’s Kale, Quinoa, Roasted Sweet Potato Bowl with Feta.

Don’t let the “super” fool you.

You may think that superfoods are expensive and exotic fruits and vegetables. However, the term “superfood” can relate to anything that’s good for you. There’s no particular section on the food pyramid for these foods. In fact, most doctors and nutritionist consider “superfoods” a marketing term. Anyone, anywhere can incorporate these items into their daily diet.
Superfood fruits juiced into glass bottles

Variety is key. 

Variety can genuinely be the spice of life when you are creating a healthy lifestyle. From quinoa to blueberries to steak, there are many varieties of superfoods. It may surprise you that even popcorn and dark chocolate fall on the list. From egg scrambles to sandwiches to salads, Market Table‘s dishes feature a delicious variety of superfoods. 

Grilled Chicken, Romesco, Quinoa, Sauteed Kale & Chickpeas

Market Table’s Grilled Chicken, Romesco, Quinoa, Sautéed Kale & Chickpeas

You’ll probably feel empowered.

Having a banana can feel refreshing, but not because you’ll gain Hulk-like strength. The power comes from your body finally getting all of the nutrients it needs. Plus, a superfood a day can keep the doctor away: some help with diabetes or weight loss.

Fish, fruits and vegetables on a marble table top

Now that the idea of eating superfoods isn’t scary, incorporate them into daily life. With so many options, there are countless opportunities for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you’re looking for ideas, Market Table‘s recipes, prepared foods and meal kits — not to mention the breakfast and lunch options served in our café — will send you in the right direction.

Text by Jazelyn Little