Lose the salt, save the flavor

Everyone knows the importance of diet on our health, and now there is new information that can help us break free from the heavy influence of salt.

Dr. Timothy Harlan from the culinary medicine program at Tulane University’s Goldring Center says we are a society addicted to salt. He says that the more salt we eat, the less sensitive we are to sodium, in turn requiring more salt to reach a familiar flavor profile.

Dr. Harlan hosts cooking classes for both the community and health care workers to help reduce the salt without sacrificing flavor. The key is umami.

Most people know about bitter, salt, sour, and sweet, but few know about the fifth taste bud, umami. Foods such as roasted peppers, meats, and mushrooms stimulate this taste bud.

Umami activates the glutamate receptors in the brain to signal a very satisfying flavor. This signal is so satisfying that synthetic glutamate, or MSG, is used as a flavor enhancer.

Dr. Harlan’s classes teach techniques to naturally achieve the same results.