• Thursday, August 18, 2022

HEALTH

Want to heighten your experience of eating? Ditch your manners and eat with your mouth open!

By: Shelbin MS

If you’re someone who loves food, you probably look for satisfaction and pleasure in eating. Taste plays a crucial role in helping us decide which types of food we like to eat. Texture, aroma, and flavour too, have an important role to play in our choice of foods.

Food experts state that our sense of smell can play a major role in our enjoyment of any meal.

Interestingly, a team of researchers from Oxford University has found that eating with your mouth open can make food taste better, stated a report in the Independent.

According to the new study, chewing food with your mouth open can help “volatile organic compounds” reach the back of your nose which can make food taste better.

Prof Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist claims that eating in this manner, maximises flavour and squeezes as much enjoyment out of a mouthful as possible.

Spence is among a team of researchers who are trying to better understand how senses can impact the way we eat, states the Independent.

According to a report in U.S. News, taking time to experience the moment is the first step in engaging your senses while eating. The report stated that you’ll be amazed at the joy your food can offer you, once you find the space to breathe and just be present.

When all your senses are engaged in an experience, your brain releases feel-good chemicals, which reportedly elevate your mood and evoke feelings of trust, enjoyment, and relaxation, leading to a new and exciting way to enjoy your food.

The volatile organic compounds that is said to reach the back of your nose while you eat are molecules that can create aromas and contribute to the flavour of the food. So, when they reach the back of your nose, it can stimulate the cells responsible for your smell, which in turn can supposedly “enhance” the dining experience.

How a food smells is directly related to your perception of how that food tastes, says the report in U.S. News. To have a different experience than you would if you could smell the aroma of the food, try eating while you’re holding your nose. Taking a moment before each bite to inhale and enjoy the way your food smells, can get you excited to mindfully eat it.

“We’ve been doing it all wrong,” said Spence.

He is quoted as saying, “Parents instill manners in their children, extolling the virtues of politely chewing with our mouths closed.

“However, chewing open-mouthed may actually help to release more of the volatile organic compounds, contributing to our sense of smell and the overall perception.”

To be really able to enjoy your eating experience, you should slow down, get your hands dirty and play with your food.

Also, as you eat, it would be helpful to think about the way a food feels in your mouth – this will slow down your eating, and engage you in the flavour of the meal, the U.S. News reported.

Prof Spence believes that touch also plays a major part in how we enjoy what we eat. “Our sense of touch is also vital in our perception of food on the palate,” he told the Telegraph.

“The research shows that what you feel in the hand can change or bring out certain aspects of the tasting experience.”

“Feeling the smooth, organic texture of the skin of an apple in our hand before biting into it is likely to contribute to a heightened appreciation of the juicy, sweet crunch of that first bite.

“This can be extended to the feeling of grains of salt sticking to the fingers when eating French fries with our hands or the sugary residue of buttercream on a hand after picking up and biting into a slice of birthday cake.

“While licking fingers after eating with our hands is never encouraged in polite circles, research would suggest we ought to consider scrapping the etiquette for utmost sensory enjoyment.

“Or consider only how pleasant it can be to lick the bowl with your finger when making a cake mix at home.”

Prof Spence, who teaches at Somerville College, is leading a group of scientists also looking at how our hearing, vision, touch, taste and smell affect our perceptions of the food we eat.

He is quoted as saying, “When it comes to sound, we like noisy foods – think crunchy, crispy. Both crisps and apples are rated as more pleasurable when the sound of the crunch is amplified.

“To best hear the crunch of an apple, a potato crisp, a carrot stick, a cracker, crispbread or a handful of popcorn, we should always ditch our manners and chew with our mouths open.”

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