Ubiquitous Umami: Adding Flavor Around the World

Umami Flavor

Umami. It’s the flavor that’s savored around the world, from Asia to Europe to the United States. While this fact may not be widely known, foods that are ripe with umami goodness have been used for ages (i.e., a long, long time) in the cuisines of many countries.

To visually demonstrate just how widespread the love of umami is, this amazing graphic shows where and how umami-rich foods are used:

Experts Recommend the DASH Diet for a Healthier Lifestyle

important to reduce sodium intake

If you’re not familiar with the general health benefits of the DASH diet, you are not alone. It is NOT one of those fad diets that comes and goes, or a quirky diet plan that is touted by celebrities. Quite simply, it is one of the soundest dietary regimens around, based on years of scientific research.

What about people who are not concerned about their blood pressure? Is this diet now being promoted as being for everyone? In a nutshell, the answer is yes. The principles behind DASH can apply to almost anyone. Here’s some background to help you understand the benefits.

The Secrets to Amazing Asian Cuisine (Hint: Cooking with Umami!)

Noodles with Tofu

Do you find yourself craving foods that have a savory umami flavor? – such as pasta dishes with aged cheese and spicy tomato sauce, pizza with mushrooms and flavorful meats, and nearly anything that falls into the category of Asian cuisine).

Our family often has those cravings, too. In fact, in my experience as a lover of umami, I’m amazed every time I complete an online recipe search for “cooking with umami.” Page after page of umami-rich recipes pop-up, with each recipe sounding more appetizing than the last.

Foods that are Rich in Umami Taste Have “Natural” MSG

A recent article in Business Insider, noting that monosodium glutamate (MSG) occurs naturally in many flavorful foods, poses the question, “How do you get free glutamates in your food naturally?”

The article explains: “Monosodium glutamate is a powerful flavor enhancer that, despite what you may have heard, is widely accepted in the scientific community as a safe additive. In fact, MSG or other ‘free glutamates’ occur naturally in many of the most flavorful foods, some of which have been used to enhance flavor in cooking for millennia.”

Why Is MSG Gluten Free?

msg gluten free

Celiac disease and gluten intolerance are real health issues that can cause significant discomfort and physical damage. For people with these conditions, following a gluten-free diet is a medical necessity, not just a fad. Some people choose a gluten-free lifestyle for other reasons, such as helping them focus more on consuming whole foods and fewer processed foods. In any case, people who avoid gluten-containing foods get used to reading lots of food labels. Checking ingredient lists and allergen statements on food packaging is essential in order to really know if a food is gluten-free or not.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a gluten-free ingredient. Nevertheless, confusion about its gluten-free status is understandable for a couple of reasons. The first and most obvious reason is that the words “gluten” and “glutamate” both start with the same letters and sound quite similar (due to the beginning “gloot” sound).