About Elderly Dietary Intake
Good nutrition plays a significant role in determining the well-being of the elderly. Certain nutritional deficiencies among the elderly stem from the uncontrollable physiological changes (such as deterioration of taste profile, loss of appetite, etc.) and short of nutrition knowledge. It is never too late to improve their dietary habits even at this point of time to uplift their quality of life.
The evidence-based scientific researches have proven that the 5th basic taste, Umami, reduces sodium intake while maintaining the palatability of the food taken by elderly people. Umami helps in protein digestion and relieves ‘dry mouth’. The Ajinomoto Group not only helps people live longer, but also living healthier into their old age.
Ajinomoto (Malaysia) Berhad (AMB) and the International Medical University (IMU) collaborated in 2016 - 2018 in organising the Elderly Dietary Improvement Project, with the theme of “Eat Well, Live Well Together with Umami”. This cooperation involved 105 elderly people from two elderly homes.
This collaborative effort aimed to reduce the sodium content of home cooked food, promote balanced diet, and improve the appetite and quality of life of the elderly through the 5th basic taste, Umami.
Several activities were carried out such as low sodium & balanced menu serving and empowerment of the cook & kitchen helper on healthy cooking, kitchen hygiene, education talk & sharing and periodical health check.
Throughout the project, 4 cook books with 112 menus (English & Chinese languages) were created according to the elderly eating habits, kitchen crew cooking patterns, availability of raw material and financial status of the two elderly homes. Besides, the average sodium reduction in a single menu was 14-45% with urinary sodium decreased significantly and has shown a reduction in plate wastage.
The project was granted Silver Award for the Best Community Programme at the 9th Annual Global CSR Summit & Awards and the Global Good Governance Awards 2017.