Confronting the “silent killer” with a little umami: how to achieve salt reduction

Whenever you visit your doctor, you are certain to have your blood pressure checked. The reason is simple: high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and many other serious medical conditions. Because hypertension usually does not produce noticeable symptoms, it is known as the “silent killer.”

Unfortunately, hypertension is on the rise around the world. The good news is that some countries, like Japan, are challenging these statistics. Sodium is an essential mineral, necessary for both the contraction of muscles and the transmission of nerve impulses. But consuming too much sodium can result in greater fluid retention, triggering higher blood pressure. Table salt, which is a compound of sodium and chlorine, is a major source of sodium in the diet.

Umami seasoning contains only one-third the amount of sodium in table salt. Moreover, research has shown that umami seasoning can reduce the need for table salt while maintaining the same level of deliciousness. Ajinomoto Group believes that umami can help people around the world achieve a significant reduction in the amount of salt they consume. In pursuit of this goal, we’ve collaborated with governments, organizations, and communities in a range of initiatives.

In Japan, we help promote low-sodium foods at major retail locations nationwide. In the US, we host ‘cooking with umami’ demonstrations at expositions featuring international foods and presentations by professional nutritionists. To improve school lunches for children in Vietnam, we provided schools with menu development software so they can easily create well-balanced meals. A cookbook of umami-rich, low sodium recipes that we published in Malaysia helps people achieve the WHO recommendation for daily salt intake. Ajinomoto Group has also conducted symposia on umami seasoning and salt reduction in Brazil, Peru, and Indonesia.

We continue spreading the word wherever we go. By teaching people how to use umami seasoning creatively, we’re helping them reduce sodium in their diets and enjoy healthier, more fulfilling lives.

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