Longevity Articles

Hate Most Leafy Green Vegetables? You May Be A Supertaster

Hate Most Leafy Green Vegetables? You May Be A Supertaster

Would you describe yourself as a picky eater? Does cilantro taste like soap to you? Does the word “disgusting” come to mind when you think about eating Brussels sprouts, spinach, or kale? Do you shy away from spicy foods because they are painful to eat? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be a supertaster.

What Is a Supertaster?

A supertaster is a person who experiences the sense of taste with far greater intensity than the average person. They tend to be especially sensitive to bitter flavors like those found in foods like broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cilantro, grapefruit, coffee, beer, and dark chocolate.

The surface of the human tongue is covered with taste buds (fungiform papillae) — tiny, mushroom-shaped bumps overlaid with taste receptors. Supertasters have a lot more taste buds than the majority of the population.

Tasting abilities are generally broken into three types based on the number of taste buds in a 6-millimeter round section of the tongue. That’s about the size of a pencil eraser or a standard hole punch.

Number of Taste Buds

Tasting Type

% of Population

More than 30


25 percent

15 – 30

Average Taster

50 percent

Less than 15


25 percent


Scientists believe the differences in our ability to taste food are genetic. Most supertasters have the gene TAS2R38 which increases a person’s perception of bitterness.

In addition to being sensitive to bitter foods, supertasters generally don’t like hot spicy foods either. Why? Because the taste buds are surrounded by pain receptors. More taste buds mean more pain receptors, which adds up to experiencing more intense pain when eating hot spicy foods.

How to Tell if You’re a Supertaster

There are a number of methods you can use to find out if you’re a supertaster. Test strips or kits are available online and tend to be fairly inexpensive. There are also do-it-yourself options that involve counting your taste buds. Instructions for several different methods of doing this can be found with an online search.

But for most of us, just comparing how our tastes line up with supertaster traits is sufficient.

You may be a supertaster if:

  • You find dark green leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, and watercress to be very bitter.
  • Cilantro tastes bitter or like soap to you.
  • You avoid hot spicy foods because they are painful.
  • Beverages like unsweetened coffee, unsweetened tea and beer are too bitter to drink.
  • You consider yourself a picky eater.

Drawbacks of Being a Supertaster

While being a supertaster may just seem like a matter of personal taste, there are some distinct drawbacks you need to be aware of so you can look for alternative solutions. For example, leafy green vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet because they’re packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. But since supertasters tend to avoid leafy greens, they are at an increased risk of developing chronic disorders.

One technique some supertasters use is to add more salt or sugar to mask the bitterness of foods they find distasteful. Of course, those additions carry their own health risks. A better solution might be to add a few greens to a smoothie that contains other ingredients you like.

Another option is to use a greens supplement like ProHealth’s Longevity Greens, a powder that can be mixed into water, your favorite beverage, or a smoothie.

In addition to 14 vitamins and minerals—including 1,500% of your daily needs for vitamin B12—Longevity Greens contains:

  • Organic Greens, Grass & Fruits Blend: Wheat grass, spirulina, barley grass, alfalfa grass, chlorella, oat grass, beet root, broccoli, kale, apple, carrot, green cabbage, parsley, spinach, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, tomato, alfalfa sprouts, cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, acai juice, blackberry, black currant, cherry, acerola, bilberry fruit, banana, pineapple, orange, mango, papaya, peach, pear, lemon peel
  • Organic Prebiotic Fiber Blend: Organic oat fiber, organic pea fiber, chicory root inulin, organic blue agave inulin
  • Organic Immuno-Antioxidant Blend: Organic maca root, organic green tea leaf, organic matcha green tea leaf, organic eleuthero root, American ginseng root
  • Probiotic Blend: 500 million CFUs of Bacillus coagulans, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Organic All in Detox Blend: Moringa leaf, ginger root, garcinia cambogia fruit extract, camu camu fruit, ashwagandha root, amla fruit
  • Enzyme Blend: Cellulase, Fungal protease, Acid protease, Bromelain, Protease, Papain, Alkaline protease 

Key Takeaways

Although there can be some drawbacks, being a supertaster is not a bad thing. It just means you’ll need to put a little more thought into creative strategies to incorporate some of the healthy foods you don’t like into your diet in ways that are palatable to you. 

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