The majority of soy that you find in in grocery stores is actually genetically modified or GMO and is not farmed the same way or yielding the same nutrition.
However, when you ferment soybeans you have a completely different product that yields a completely different nutrient system for the body. When it comes to soy, the safest way to consume it is through fermented soy products like miso, tempeh or natto.
Natto is fermented soy beans, with beneficial bacteria called Bacillus subtilis. The beans are brown and soft, covered with sticky, slimy substance and it smells pungent. It takes time to acquire the taste, like how you would with stinky tofu. I never liked it initially but over time, through exposure to it, I have learned to accept the taste and even love it now! Many people may take a longer time to get used to the taste of natto than with cultured vegetables or probiotic liquids but the taste is definitely worth acquiring!
Many health practitioners and dietitians do not recommend eating soybeans unless they are fermented. The key element in natto is the fermentation of the soybeans, which make them easier to digest while increasing your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
Primarily eaten as a breakfast staple in Japan for over 1,000 years, natto is a great source of protein and is low in calories. But it goes even further to enhance your inner and outer health.
I had this bowl of natto rice with onsen egg at Isetan on Saturday and loved it. It is such a simple dish yet it tantalizes the taste buds. My daughters have not quite gotten used to the taste of natto yet.
Unlike many foods that are only rich in Vitamin K1, natto is rich in both types of Vitamin K.
Vitamin K1 is found in green leafy vegetables and makes up about 90 per cent of the vitamin K in a typical Western diet. Vitamin K2 isn’t produced in plants, but by various types of bacteria. It makes up only about 10 per cent of Western vitamin K consumption2.
Natto increases the health and strength of your skin, heart and bones.
Here are some of the many health benefits of natto:
- Natto is especially rich in vitamin K2, which could reduce bone loss in post-menopausal women by as much as 80 per cent.
- Fermented soybeans such as natto contain Vitamin PQQ, which is very important for the skin. PQQ in human tissues is derived mainly from diet.
- Vitamin K is repeatedly shown to reduce blood clots by slowing arterial calcification, enhance liver function and encourage the flow of urine.
- Vitamin K2 has a better bioavailability than K1. Studies show that this molecule remains in the body for a longer period and is more effective at lower doses, hence is much more bio-effective.
- Additionally, natto suppresses immune reactions.
Created during the fermentation process, nattokinase is used for a variety of medicinal purposes:
- Beriberi (B vitamin deficiency)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Muscle spasms
- Uterine fibroids
When natto is eaten on a regular basis, these are some of the more common health benefits you can expect:
- Effective against high cholesterol.
- Effective against osteoporosis and hip fractures.
- Fights against fibromyalgia.
- Lowers blood pressure and improves circulation.
- Less risk of colon cancer.
- Less risk of breast cancer (as soy appears to lengthen the menstrual cycle).
- Prevents stroke, heart attack and heart disease.
- Prevents vitamin-deficiency disease.
- Reduces the symptoms associated with menopause.
- Relieves constipation.
The high life expectancy enjoyed in Japan is largely down to the nation’s healthy diet, according to a new study. Japanese are very health conscious and hygienic. Take a hint from the Japanese diet if you want to add more quality years to your life.
Because of natto’s health benefits on blood viscosity, those who are on blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin) should not eat natto. But for others trying naturally to improve circulation, lower blood pressure and build stronger bones, natto is truly the super food of choice.