When you add an umami-rich combination like sundried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese to a recipe, you may be able to use less salt thanks to the robust flavor of these ingredients.
Rich, savory umami ingredients, such as the Japanese dashi broth, can also be a great substitute for smoky, but higher fatcontent, ingredients like bacon. Try blending a little into a soup or mixing it with baked beans.
A promising role in elder care1
One of the challenges in caring for the elderly is encouraging them to consume enough nutrients. However, umami has several unique qualities that may help overcome these challenges:
- Umami can suppress unpleasant flavors.
- Umami can increase the feeling of “mouthfulness,” which is linked to our satisfaction with a food.
- Umami in soup or broth is perceived favorably.
A recent study of 65 institutionalized elderly people measured how much each person ate at lunch for 12 consecutive days. When MSG was added to nutritionally valuable foods like soups, vegetables, and starches, the participants ate more of those healthy foods and less of other foods, with the same total meal energy intake. This study suggested that MSG could be used to stimulate appropriate food choices in certain populations.2
Did you know?
An average adult consumes approximately 13 grams of glutamate feom food each day3
1) Bachmanov, Alexander. “Umami: Fifth Taste? Flavor Enhancer?” Monell Chemical Senses Center.
2) Bellisle, France. Experimental studies of food choices and palatability responses in European subjects exposed to the Umami taste. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:376-9.
3) U.S. Food and Drug Administration