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TV chef tackles hospital food

4th May 2010

Television chef Heston Blumenthal has presented the results of a project which aims to create hospital meals that can be enjoyed by elderly patients.

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The chef is part of a scheme designed to ensure older people receive better nutrition while in hospital.

60% of elderly patients enter hospital suffering from malnourishment, which can result in slower recuperation from operations and increase susceptibility to infection.

As people age their taste buds do not work as well, making food less interesting.

The project, carried out by researchers at Reading University, has been exploring the possibility of putting stronger flavouring from Japanese foods into traditional British dishes.

The team looked at a Japanese flavouring known as umami, which can enhance the taste of savoury dishes.

They added an extraction of umami taken from mushrooms, seaweed and miso to mince.

Dr Lisa Methven, lead researcher, told the BBC: "Our hope is that we can develop foods that older people can get more pleasure out of and enhance their nutritional status."

Heston Blumenthal said he was happy to be working on the project: "Umami is a great way to rejuvenate the dining environment in hospital and improve the flavour in the mouth."

 

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