As you know, we eat not only with our mouth but also with our eyes and nose. The food has to look appealing and smell enticing. Our sense of taste is greatly affected by the sense of smell. But did you know we also eat with our ears? Yes, the texture of food is determined by both the sound it makes and the sensory receptors in our mouths. That's why pop rocks are such fun - they stimulate (almost) all the senses!
The sensitivity of children to texture is the product of experience and expectation. They're still collecting data about the world. They can expect the food to be crunchy when it is creamy instead, and that will be unsettling.
Why do we globally like crunchy food then? That's simple: the crisp texture is associated with freshness, contributing to our overall satisfaction.
But there's more to it. The sounds you hear inside your head and the force you put in your jaw, send stimulating signals to the brain. It is a parade of electricity inside your skull and it can even help in the development of children's brains, once they grow the teeth for it.
But wait, there's even more. You know how the little ones love chewing and biting their toys. This habit isn't exclusive to toddlers. Chewing is one of the few sensory pleasures that last throughout our lives. In other words, we enjoy chewing as much as the children do. It's not without reason that living on a diet of juices can be so depressing for the elderly.
The chewing action increases blood and oxygen flow to the brain, which in turn increases brain function. This is one of the many reasons we feel and think sharper after a light meal. A Swedish study from 2012 suggests that elderly people who could chew hard foods were less prone to cognitive impairment!
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