Flavors Can Affect Your mood: Myth or Reality?

It’s true: flavors can affect your mood.
It’s no secret that aromas and tastes affect how you feel – physically and by generating associated emotions and memories.
This phenomenon is thanks to the nervous system connecting the nose and tastebuds to the part of the brain that processes emotions.
While noses are highly sensitive and full of smell receptors capable of precisely detecting countless odors and odor combinations, our tastebuds ensure that nothing harmful – whether rotten or poisonous – enters our system. Likewise, the mouth and tongue are nerve-rich, able to sort between numerous textures, tastes, and sensations, checking for safety and quality while allowing the pure pleasure of delightful flavors and appealing mouthfeels.
In addition, did you know that these intelligent taste receptors extend beyond our tongue and mouth into the digestive tract and brain?
The taste receptors in the gut appear to communicate with the surrounding nerves and tissue, testing and understanding digestive progress and helping to trigger and moderate the secretion of essential digestive enzymes. Those in the brain are even more fascinating, clustering in areas influencing neural function, although we don’t yet know why or how they work.
How Flavors Influence Your Brain
We can detect six basic chemical compound combinations or taste profiles – the familiar sweet, salty, sour, and bitter, and the more recently identified fatty profile and umami – an intense savory flavor. When consumed in food, distinct tastes generate a “rush of brain activity”, profoundly impacting emotions, memories, and moods.
With taste and smell intimately connected to brain function via a broad network of potent activity, what we eat and drink are strongly linked to the brain’s emotion centers.
In addition, the effect is different, depending on the taste profile.
For example, bitter tastes act as a warning signal to our brains, preventing us from consuming potentially harmful ingredients. This “bitter” brain response can be almost immediate, causing adverse reactions such as gagging and vomiting, encouraging us to eject the substance – an in-built safeguard against many chemicals and poisons.
At the same time, however, a slightly bitter taste is often welcomed, such as in coffee, cocoa, and nutritious vegetables and fruits such as Brussels sprouts and cranberries.
These brain-based connections to tastes and their emotional and mood triggers can be so strong that it can be highly challenging to accept different taste profiles, for example, when dieting or for health reasons.
How Flavors Impact Dietary Changes
Deeply developed and rooted nervous system flavor pathways between the brain and the senses can make changing consumption habits difficult, even upsetting.
The preference for chemically addictive ingredients, such as the sugar and fat in soft drinks, sweets, and junk foods, can make a hurdle of dietary changes, with our brains powerfully linked to these familiar flavor profiles and the related and “supercharged” craving and emotional benefits.
Instead, successful dietary adjustments rely on sourcing more natural flavoring ingredients, such as those with a slower chemical release and a more subtle physical and emotional “hit”.
Relying on healthier food choices and natural flavoring ingredients as substitutes means consumers can still enjoy their favorite tastes and sensations while keeping taste receptors happy and reducing or avoiding less healthy foodstuffs or ingredients.
So, for food and beverage manufacturers, the idea is to keep your consumer and their mouth-brain flavor connection satisfied, but in a more naturally healthy way.
Discover Advanced Biotech’s Natural Flavoring Ingredients
Advanced Biotech’s extensive range of pure and natural flavor molecules can help reimagine your consumer’s favorite flavor profiles using healthier, plant-based, and often organic ingredients.
Discover our sweet, sour, bitter, savory, salty, and fatty flavorings today. Please contact us for more information.