How to train your tastebuds and other tips for your tongue

Is it possible to teach yourself to like eating something that typically you turn your nose up at?

The taste of foods such as broccoli, coriander and brussels sprouts can divide many of us.

But there is hope for those wanting to broaden their palate, according to Dr Veronique Chachay from UQ's School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences.

"Different textures and food presented in a different way can help develop certain tastes," she said.

"We can change our tastes by the number of exposures to a certain food."

For example, someone who dislikes bananas should eat them daily over a two-week period in different forms: mashed, whole and with other foods.

She said many people chose to start eating a certain fruit or vegetable, even if they didn't like it, due to its nutritional value.

"Some people have a reasoning to want to like something due to its nutrients, so that motivation can help too," she told ABC Radio Brisbane's Craig Zonca.

"Eating it often can help you gradually like the taste or texture of something.

"Once you've turned a corner from disliking it you have retrained your tastebuds."

Start young

Dr Chachay said what babies ate in their formative years played a big role in what they liked and disliked later in life.

"In early development, when we're moved from being fed breastmilk to other foods, the more we're exposed to a variety of tastes and textures the more we will enjoy certain foods.

"When we begin to train the sensory cells on our tongue at a young age, we like a wider variety of food.

"This sets you up for the rest of your life making you want to like different tastes and to be more willing to try different foods.”

She said that as humans, our sensory systems were extremely adaptable so we adapted to our surrounding environments, including food.

"It comes down to the number of exposures to a certain environment or food that determines if we will like something or not," Dr Chachay said.

"Also, from a genetic point of view, you can be a hyper-taster or a hypo-taster, so whether you taste a lot or not at all.

"This can affect the way we perceive taste, and if it's extremely potent then that can lead to aversion."