Our sense organs

Karin Bucher
By Karin Bucher - May 22, 2018

Portrait of a beautiful woman smelling a flower

Our sense organs actively support us from the day we are born to ensure that we survive: they check if a food is still good or has gone off, long before it reaches our stomach. Infants instinctively spit out anything that tastes bitter to protect themselves, even without warning from their mother or father.

A bit­ter or sour taste is an in­di­ca­tor of a food that is un­ripe, rot­ten or poi­so­nous to the human or­gan­ism. In gen­eral, we tend to­wards cau­tion and react ex­cep­tion­ally scep­ti­cally to new foods; our sense of taste is di­vided into good and bad from birth. 

Our per­cep­tion of taste, how­ever, is some­thing we need to learn. As well as bad food, cer­tain nu­tri­tion­ally valu­able tan­nins and sec­ondary phy­to­chem­i­cals also taste bit­ter. 

We learn, for ex­am­ple, to value grape­fruit and chard, al­though we would in­tu­itively re­ject them at the first taste. Sec­ondary phy­to­chem­i­cals – like the monoter­penes found in pep­per­mint or the sul­phides that give gar­lic and onions their typ­i­cal flavour – are also healthy. They pro­tect us from free rad­i­cals, sup­port our im­mune sys­tem in re­sist­ing path­o­genic germs and can even have an anti-can­cer and cho­les­terol-re­duc­ing ef­fect.

Fur­ther In­for­ma­tion

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