Miso, that fermented soybean paste that is famously used in soups in Japanese restaurants, has many other culinary applications that you can enjoy – on a daily basis. In addition, with its many health benefits, this fermented food is best known to improve gut health and supply the body with a healthy source of easy-to-absorb protein.
It’s ‘salty’: Should you avoid it? The short answer is no. In fact, with about 200-300 milligrams of naturally-occurring sodium per teaspoon, the salt in miso does not have the same negative effect on the body – as compared to many of the processed foods on the market. Miso does not raise blood pressure or have any other negative effects on the cardiovascular system like regular table salt (and foods containing it) does.
How does miso improve gut health?
Like most fermented foods, miso improves the balance of good flora in the digestive tract. This makes your digestion better, increases your ability to absorb nutrients from your food, and even improves your mood. In addition, fermented foods improve gut health by supporting good bowel movements, thus preventing constipation and diarrhea – a common problem these days for many people.
Can miso help to protect us from radiation?
Surprising to many, we are exposed to radiation on a daily basis. Fukushima, wireless technology, medical testing procedures and even from the minerals in the ground under our homes (some areas have so much that it’s dangerous to live there without radiation mitigation services) can expose the body to unwanted (dangerous) levels of radiation.
Miso has been shown in numerous studies to be effective at preventing radiation sickness in those exposed to high levels of this toxic substance. A 25-year Japanese study also showed it to be effective at preventing cancer caused from radiation exposure; it is also excellent at healing radiation burns when applied directly to the skin as a paste.
Can miso help to prevent breast cancer?
The Japan Public Health Center-Based Prospective Study on Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases has shown that the soy isoflavones that are present in miso are effective at preventing breast cancer. The fermentation of the soy in miso seems to be the key to protection, as the study looked at those who ate regular soy products and those who ate fermented ones. Those who ate fermented soy products like miso had a far lower risk of breast cancer, even when taking all other factors that might contribute to it into consideration.
To learn more about soy foods and your risk of cancer – read: “The true connection between soy products and breast cancer.”
In addition to being protective against digestive problems, radiation sickness, and breast cancer, miso is full of antioxidants and essential minerals. Simply put, having a small bowl of miso soup (daily) can really do the body good.
Here’s a simple recipe for a delicious soup.
3 inch piece Wakame
4 cups water
1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup carrots, julienned
1 1/2 Tbsp Miso paste, dissolved in 2 T. cold water
1 Shitake mushroom, soaked for 5 minutes and finely sliced
Rinse wakame, soak in cold water to cover for 5 minutes and dice. Bring soup water to a boil. Add onions, wakame and shitake mushrooms to soup water and simmer for about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and simmer 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to very low and then add pureed miso and simmer 2 minutes.
Do not boil after adding miso. Garnish with scallions – if you like and enjoy!