We hear about monosodium glutamate more and more frequently. This happens, above all, due to the influence of Asian food, which uses this flavor enhancer in a large number of recipes .
In this article we discover what monosodium glutamate is, what type of food is present and what are its harmful effects on health .
We also share some healthy alternatives to enhance the flavor of the food.
What is the monosodium glutamate?
Monosodium glutamate is a chemical additive also known as GMS or umami that is used to enhance the flavor of food.
- The umami is, in fact, one of the five flavors that we recognize, along with the sweet, the acid, the bitter and the salty.
- Many foods have this flavor in a natural way , such as meat, mushrooms or spinach. However, monosodium glutamate is a chemical component.
Detrimental effects on health
- Headache or
- Muscle tension
- Redness of the skin
- Increased sweating
- Burning in the mouth
- Intestinal disorders
Why do not I have symptoms?
Not all people have the same organism and our digestive system responds differently to the chemical components. However, that does not mean that it does not harm us. It depends on our state of health and the sensitivity of our body we can notice these symptoms.
In some cases, the person may suffer these discomforts in a mild way and not relate them to this additive , but to any other factor (having eaten too much, having abused the salt, etc.).
For this reason, it is important to know them to stop consuming it if it affects us in a negative way.
In what foods do we find it?
Monosodium glutamate is a difficult taste to classify, umami, which is not one of the other four (sweet, salty, sour or bitter).
Umami is present, naturally, in foods such as , meat , anchovy, ham or breast milk. However, if we look at the labels of the processed products, we can find it in chips, appetizers, sauces, soups and broths, etc.
Asian cuisine uses monosodium glutamate as a flavor enhancer on a regular basis, as well as soy sauce or salt. For that reason, some foods as simple as white rice or fried noodles are so tasty and appetizing despite not including garnish.
Healthy alternatives to enhance the flavor
If we want to enhance the flavor in a natural way, for example, so as not to abuse salt, we can choose these condiments:
- Choose or salt from the Himalayas instead of common salt.
- The homemade sauces based on vegetables typical of our area and season, spices and aromatic plants are always the most healthy and nutritious option.
- Dehydrate vegetables such as celery and carrot, then grind them and mix them with salt. In this way we will have our homemade herb salt.
- We can prepare seasoned oils if we add dried tomatoes, garlic or branches of thyme or fresh rosemary. Let it ferment for at least two weeks and then the flavored oil will be ready for consumption.
- Fish recipes like stews or baked ones are delicious if we salt them with seawater. Nowadays, more and more supermarkets sell purified seawater for consumption.
- We can play with the rest of flavors to highlight the taste of our recipes. We can add spicy (cayenne, ginger, pepper), sweet (
It is important to note that our palate gets used to the flavors gradually. Using monosodium glutamate, regardless of whether it feels good or not, is the easy and unhealthy way to make our dishes taste good.