What is the Miracle Berry?
The Berry Itself
Synsepalum dulcificum, more popularly known as the miracle berry, is a red berry native to tropical West Africa. The fruit is a small and bright red with an ellipsoid shape. It is only about 2 or 3 centimeters in diameter and contains a singular seed. Do not be fooled by its tiny size, because the miracle berry packs a big punch! Known best for its unique effect on the taste buds, the miracle berry causes foods that would usually be sour to taste exceedingly sweet. Though the fruit itself actually does not taste like much at all, the flavor of foods you consume afterward will surprise you. It is no wonder that the demand for the mysterious berry has been on the rise recently!
How do Miracle Berries Work?
Scientists have isolated the protein responsible for the extraordinary taste-altering effect of the coveted berry, dubbing the protein miraculin. To understand how this protein possesses the unique ability to change our perception of taste, let’s first consider how our taste buds respond under normal conditions. Our taste buds contain several different types of receptors that help us discriminate between sweet, sour, bitter and savory tastes. So, for example, biting into a lime would cause your sour receptors to begin firing, signaling that the flavor you are detecting is sour. Miraculin binds strongly to these receptors found on the human tongue, rewiring your sweet receptors to identify acids as sugars instead. So now if you were to bite a lime, your sweet receptors would fire, making you perceive a sweet taste rather than sour! In this way, miracle berries can transform boring foods into delicious bursts of sweet flavor! This incredible effect can have huge implications for any dieters out there looking to make a lifestyle change. In many cases, healthy foods are not always flavorful, making it difficult to consume the proper amount of vegetables. The miracle berry can completely transform the bland taste of an otherwise nutritious food, making a healthy alternative taste like a treat! Rather than using something like a fatty blue cheese dressing to add flavor to your salad, a simple squeeze of lime juice could make your low calorie meal taste delicious.
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