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Aging With Taste in 2019

    aging with taste post It is no secret that the way we eat and how active we are has a lot to do with our biological age. Smart food choices and active living today may help us feel younger, stay healthier, and enjoy a higher quality of life. These choices may even prevent, or at least delay health problems that often come with aging. However, in the long run, some physical changes are inevitable. Many of these physical and lifestyle changes affect food choices and nutrition.

     The truth is that the senses of smell, taste, and touch decline gradually at about the age of sixty. Medications or health conditions also may alter our flavor perceptions. Fortunately, there are ways to boost the flavor and the appeal of food.

     Many of the foods that we eat can be more flavorful by intensifying the taste and the aroma of that food. We can perk up flavors by using more herbs, spices, and lemon juice. Some examples of this would be accenting roasted poultry with sage, using nutmeg in carrots or creamed spinach, adding bay leaf to soup or stew or putting a pinch of thyme or cumin in peas and legumes. If herbs or spices aren’t enough, we can consider using strong-flavored ingredients like garlic, onion, sharp cheeses, olive oil, or peanut butter to boost the flavor of our favorite recipes. The one thing we want to stay away from, is using or adding more sugar and salt.

     We can also change the food a bit by altering the temperature or texture of the food. Serve hot foods hot to enhance the flavor. Mix it up with eating cold foods as well. Add some crunch to your lunch and other meals. Texture adds to the mouth feel and flavor of the food. A variety of textures will help make up for loss of taste and smell. Try crushed crackers on soup, chopped nuts on vegetable or rice dishes, or crushed corn flakes on ice cream.   And above all, serve yourself colorful and attractive foods. Foods that look appealing are going to smell and taste better.

     Perhaps we already are using the above suggestions. There are other things that may decrease our sense of smell or taste. If we smoke, we need to stop. Smoking reduces the ability to perceive flavors. We also don’t want to overexpose our taste buds to strong or bitter flavors. Beverages, such as coffee, can temporarily deaden sensitivity to other flavors. In addition to this, we want to chew well which will allow us to enjoy the foods’ full flavors.

       Overall, in our older years, we need to enjoy food variety with different flavors, colors, and textures. If you have lost interest in eating, talk to your doctor. You may also consult a registered dietitian about other ways to make food more appealing. Be aware: sensory loss may signal serious health problems so tell your doctor if you are experiencing any of these problems.