A recent study shows that the fifth taste, umami, can help elderly people maintain good health and good teeth though it's ability to stimulate appetite.
Taste is one of the greatest pleasures in human life. However, aging is sometimes associated with decreased taste sensitivity. This induces a lack of appetite and weight-loss, leading to poor health.
A newly developed umami taste sensitivity test, 'revealed the loss of only the umami taste sensation with preservation of the other four basic taste sensations (sweet, salty, sour, and bitter) in some elderly patients'.
So it is the absence of the umami taste that is linked to loss of appetite and therefore physical health. And that maintenance of umami taste function contributes to the preservation of good oral health and the general overall health in elderly people. 'Improvements were noted in salivation, taste function, appetite, weight, and overall health.'
Mara's Kombu is particularly high in umami flavour and really easy to add to your food- why not give it a try?
Source: Flavour Journal "The important role of umami taste in oral and overall health" by Takashi Sasano, Shizuko Satoh-Kuriwada and Noriaki Shoji