Traditional Japanese fermented bean food is gaining popularity around the world. It has a salty flavor and a texture similar to nut butter, though the specifics vary depending on the ingredients and fermentation time. The mixture is aged for one to three years.
The fermentation process converts the complex and sometimes difficult-to-digest oils, proteins, and carbohydrates found in soybeans into more easily digestible forms for the human body. Furthermore, if the final product is unpasteurized, it contains live lactobacilli, which improve your body’s ability to extract nutrients from food.
Hatto (made solely of soy), Chennai (made solely of soy and brown rice), kome (made solely of soy and white rice), mugi (made solely of soy and barley), natto (made solely of soy and ginger), and soba are some of the most popular miso varieties (made with soy and buckwheat).
What’s the point of a superfood?
Miso is classified as a superfood due to the nutritional composition of the food that is enhanced by fermentation. Miso contains the following nutrients: vitamin B2, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, iron, potassium, choline, and lecithin. Miso is also high in dietary fiber and contains a significant amount of complete protein. It is especially high in polyunsaturated fats, which the FDA has approved for their ability to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels in the body. Linoleic acid, one of these facts, actually helps keep skin soft and young-looking.
Miso soup (100 grams)
Composition and Nutrient Content
(Unless otherwise specified, source: Food Composition: Legume & Legume Products Agriculture Handbook No. 8-16, USDA Human Nutrition Information Service, http://www.soyfoods.com)
- Miso, a fermented soybean product, is high in complete proteins that contain all essential amino acids and should be considered an important source of protein for both herbivores and carnivores.
- Antioxidant: It is now known that miso contains phytonutrient antioxidants such as phenolic acids such as ferulic, coumaric, syringic, vanillic, and kojic acid. Furthermore, when miso is fermented for a longer period of time, the amount of certain antioxidants appears to increase. DDPH (2,2,-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) antioxidants appear to be one type of miso antioxidant that increases with fermentation time.
- Excellent Mineral Source: Soy miso is an excellent source of manganese and zinc (both important mineral antioxidants). It is also a very good source of minerals, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and copper.
- “Pre-digested” means “pre-processed.” Food: Aspergillus and other microorganisms used in the fermentation of soy miso aid in the metabolization of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats found in soybeans, converting them into smaller molecules that can be easily digested. Furthermore, depending on the processing and fermentation methods used, some soy miso may contain “friendly” bacteria such as lactic acid bacteria (including various Lactobacillus species) that may be beneficial in supporting intestinal microflora. It aids in the maintenance of a healthy pH in the digestive system. Other microorganisms, such as bacteria, Bacillus subtilis, are used in the fermentation of Chinese miso as opposed to Japanese, Korean, or Indonesian versions. This microorganism can produce menaquinone-7 (MK-7), a type of vitamin K that is essential for bone health.
- Further, soybeans are about 20 percent oil and are an excellent source of quality polyunsaturated fats. This variety of fat is so beneficial that, FDA has recognized its ability to lower “bad” cholesterol and has authorized manufacturers of soy products to label them as able to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Miso soup, a traditional Japanese soup prepared from a miso paste (soya beans paste) is a great source of dietary fiber, minerals, and protein. It contains amino acids,omega-3, omega-6 fatty acid, and vitamin K in high amounts. 275g of miso soup contains 32g of protein. Miso soup provides more than 12% protein. 3 bowls of miso soup are similar to 1 chicken fillet.
Sweet white, mellow white, chickpea (safe for those with soy allergies), barley (mugi), and red are some to try.
Including soy in our diet has been shown in studies to help protect against heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis, and research continues to show other benefits that soy consumption may offer to our overall well-being. Overall, eating soy foods in moderation and as part of a well-balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats is a wise choice that can help you maintain a healthy body and prevent disease.
The Content is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions about a medical condition, always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider.