An excellent recent article (Feb. 26, 2016) published in Food & Nutrition magazine, a publication of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, informs cooks how to “Make Low-Salt Cooking Taste Amazing with an Umami Boost.”
The article highlights some creative ways to deliver low-sodium, umami-intense and nutrient-dense foods that diners will crave.
Author and culinary nutrition consultant Michele Redmond, MS, RDN, explains how umami enhances existing food flavors, makes food more savory, suppresses bitter compounds in foods, and increases the perception of salt in foods without adding sodium. Ms. Redmond adds that food science research has demonstrated that umami’s characteristics are heightened when glutamate links to sodium molecules. One of the most common umami formulations, monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is simply a sodium molecule linked to a glutamate molecule extracted from fermenting molasses or sugary starches, she points out.
According to the article, “Foods containing glutamates naturally yield MSG, and neither the body nor the taste buds distinguish between glutamate naturally present in food proteins or MSG. While impacts on sodium-reduction efforts can be significant… amplifying umami also can serve as a technique for home cooks looking to create meals that deliver the same savory satisfaction” [with much less sodium].
The full article, including tips on creating flavorful lower-sodium dishes, can be accessed here.