5 Benefits of Miso

5 Benefits of Miso

The next time you eat Japanese, re-acquaint yourself with an order of miso soup. Miso paste, the main ingredient in this soup, has shown to be extremely healthy. However, many people (particularly Americans) have no clue about miso. 

The sweet and salty taste of miso (umami or savory flavor) is not only used in a soup but several other recipes as well. From salads to ramen or tofu to eggs miso can be added to just about any dish delivering a special ‘kick’ that could have tasters asking what your secret ingredient is. 

These 5 benefits of miso show how the power of plant-based fermentation can create an ancient healing remedy in the form of a delicious condiment used through the ages. 

Miso Healthy Probiotic

Miso paste is derived from a combination of fermented soybeans, barley, rice and oats mixed with a special salt solution. The healing properties of miso come from the fermenting process which radically alters the chemical properties of the soybeans changing them from an estrogen-mimicking food to an anti-estrogenic food. 

Soy is known for its high estrogen producing effects which, when consumed in excess, can create a perfect storm for cancer formation. The miso fermentation reverses these estrogen effects and instead promotes the growth of good bacteria (probiotics.)

The BBC reported that,

“Fermentation enhances the number of beneficial bacteria in the food. These bacteria are known as probiotics and are thought to help a wide range of health issues, especially for digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients. By consuming fermented foods you are adding beneficial bacteria (known as probiotics) and enzymes to your overall intestinal flora, increasing the health of your gut microbiome and digestive system and enhancing the immune system.”

A healthy gut is key to supporting your immune system as this is ground zero for stoking the flames of optimal health. 

Fighting Radiation

Accumulative consumption of miso might be attributed to protecting humans from radiation exposure. Published in the Journal of Toxicologic Pathology, researchers from the Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine, Hiroshima University stated that,

“When the 2nd atomic bomb was dropped in Nagasaki on August 9th, 1945, physician Tatuichiro Akizuki, along with 20 employees, was taking care of 70 tuberculosis patients about 1.4 km away from the hypocenter. However, these people including Dr. Akizuki did not have any acute radiation disease. Dr. Akizuki considered that this was the result of consuming cups of wakame miso soup (miso soup with garnish of wakame seaweed) every day.”

Hopefully you will never have to go through something like Nagasaki but you are probably exposed to radiation more than you think. This comes from dental or body x-rays plus daily exposure to small amounts of naturally occurring radiation from certain foods like bananas, the sun, as well as specific rock formations.  

Mood, Brain and Nutrients

In addition to eating miso to assist your digestive health and protect you from nuclear bombs, here are a few other reasons you may want to add miso to your diet. Natural News reports that eating miso:

  • Uplifts and elevates your mood – Miso soup is often used as a traditional remedy to aid recovery from fatigue. Try a nice, warm bowl of miso soup to uplift your spirit.
  • Supports optimal cognitive health – Fermented foods exhibit beneficial effects on the brain and are effective at supporting healthy cognitive function.
  • Contains a wide range of extremely bioavailable nutrients – Miso is packed with highly bioavailable nutrients, including copper, manganese, B vitamins, vitamin K, phosphorus, fiber, isoflavones, saponin (helps nutrient absorption), melanoidin (helps regulate blood sugars) and plant-based protein.

Enhancing your mood, supporting your brain function, and consuming naturally occurring nutrients on a daily basis puts you way ahead of the curve.

Bring It Home

Now that you know how beneficial miso can be, get yourself some miso paste and start adding  it to your diet. Take note that miso can be high in sodium so use sparingly if you have an aversion to salt.

Miso can be found in some supermarkets or specialty businesses like health food stores or Japanese markets. Here are a few things to consider when adding miso to your diet:

  • Dark colored miso has a stronger, saltier taste
  • It can be used as a broth in any soup or diluted alone in boiling water (soup or tea)
  • Blend it with other foods like peanut butter, tofu, lemon, or apple juice to make a dipping sauce
  • Combine with oil and vinegar to make a very tasty salad dressing
  • Miso can last a year when refrigerated after opening
  • Although miso is high in sodium, a small amount goes a long way

These 5 benefits of miso show the power of this unassuming condiment. Try miso in your food recipes and see if you too can enjoy the umami taste along with the high health advantages it can offer.