Konichiwa! 10 Unknown Health Benefits Of Miso August 17, 2015

Are you bored of eating the same old oats and bulgur? And yet, you do not want to give them up for the many health benefits they claim to offer? If you are on the lookout for a health food that can spice up your boring everyday diet, then you must definitely try Miso.

With health hazards and unforeseen ailments affecting the human population in unprecedented ways, people are resorting to super foods and healthy eating habits. A traditional Japanese staple that has become popular in other countries over time, Miso is a fermented food.

The Nuances Of Miso:

The miso paste is made with soybeans, koji and sea salt. Other ingredients like barley and rice are also mixed. This mixture is fermented for a duration of 3 months or more resulting in the formation of an enzyme-rich food. Miso can be prepared and used as food in so many ways. However, in most cases, miso paste is used with other foods or miso soup is made (1). Miso’s texture resembles nut butter, and it tastes salty. The color varies according to fermentation – it can be white or brownish.

Miso can be used with food in myriads of ways. You can use it in lieu of regular salad dressing. You can mix it with stew and soups. You may also use it as a bread spread. It also goes well with onions for stir-frying needs. You will find both live enzyme-rich versions and pasteurized variants of Miso paste in the market. For obtaining the maximum nutrition and health benefits, opt for the former variant.

Nutritional Value Of Miso:

You will be hard pressed to find a healthy food that can match up to Miso in terms of the nutrient quotient. The fermentation process breaks down the complex ingredients in the food, making it easier for your digestive tract to function. The live enzymes in Miso are also replete with health benefits (2). Miso contains some key nutrients like:

  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin E
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Iron

Miso is also rich in dietary fiber and contains a fair amount of protein. The food also contains polyunsaturated fats, including linoleic acid.

10 Health Benefits Of Miso:

Miso offers many health benefits for both genders, and most people can obtain those benefits without hassles. These are:

1. Enhanced Digestion:

People having poor digestion issues should eat miso or miso soup. Miso helps enhance the amount of beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract (3). The probiotic organisms help ease digestion and help alleviate conditions related to it. The risk of developing intestinal tract related disorders can be minimized by eating miso regularly.

2. Anti Ageing:

Look around and you will find a lot of women and men obsessed about looking younger and attractive. However, it is not enough to apply dollops of anti ageing creams and serums topically to hide your age! You need to eat healthy foods that work from within to enhance skin health and radiance. Miso is rich in antioxidants, which help alleviate the damaging effects of free radicals in the environment. Its use helps in improving the skin texture and health in the long run.

3. Anticarcinogenic Properties:

The antioxidants found in Miso also play a pivotal role in preventing various types of cancers (4). Miso has a high concentration of genistein, hailed as a robust anti-cancer agent. Studies have shown that the amount of genistein in Miso is almost 25 times more than it is present in other conventional soy-based foods. A number of studies have found that it can help you protect the body from liver and colon cancers. However, animal trials are yet to be carried out.

4. Proper Mineral Absorption:

If you take soy in other forms, the high amount of phytates in it interferes with mineral absorption. However, the fermentation process used in making Miso reverses the situation (5). It deactivates the phytates.

5. Enhanced Bone Health:

After a certain age, both men and women experience bone density loss, though women are more prone to it. This enhances the risk of bone-related ailments like osteoporosis. To combat the risk, you need to eat foods rich in calcium. Miso is replete with calcium, vitamin K and isoflavones. Eating it can help enhance bone health.

6. Weight Loss Benefits:

People who are struggling with excess body weight and want healthy but low-fat food should start taking miso soup. This soup contains low amounts of fat. A cup of miso soup has just 66 calories. It suits those on calorie restricted diets as well. It also keeps you feeling full and reduces the craving to binge on junk.

7. Improves Blood Health:

Did you know that some food can, in fact, help improve the quality of blood? This means it helps purify the blood reaching your vital organs and helps in increasing the haemoglobin (Hb) count considerably. Miso is a wonder food that is known to improve the quality of blood as well as lymph fluids in your body.

8. Strengthens The Immune System:

Studies suggest that daily consumption of miso can help improve your immunity as it is replete with vitamins and minerals.

9. Lowers LDL Cholesterol:

We all know that there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol in our bodies. While the good cholesterol levels in the body can be maintained, it often becomes an uphill task to lower the bad cholesterol – LDL. Miso is high in antioxidants that eliminate free radicals in the body, and since it is a rich source of fiber, it can help bring down your LDL levels considerably.

10. Protects The Body From Radiation Effects:

The body releases a chemical called dipicolinic acid when breaking down Miso during digestion. This alkaloid helps chelate heavy metals and easily discharges or removes them from the body, thus preventing it from the ill effects of radiation.

Points To Keep In Mind:

While consuming Miso is generally thought to be safer for adults, and there are not many serious side effects, a few cautions should be exercised..

1. Elevated Sodium Quotient:

Miso has a high amount of sodium, actually much higher than you find in any other food. A spoonful of miso paste contains 25 percent of your daily sodium requirement. So, you should not eat miso in huge amounts to avoid the risk of sodium overdose (6).

2. Risk Of Allergy:

Soy acts as an allergen for a few people (7). While the fermentation makes Miso more digestible than regular soy, some people may still develop allergies after eating it.

If you have decided to integrate Miso in your diet but do not know how to cook it, we have help at hand! We present a simple and tasty dish that can be made with Miso, in no time at all!

Refreshing Miso Soup:

Miso soup is really easy to prepare, offers multiple health benefits and takes little time. You will need ingredients like:

  • A few strips of wakame (sea vegetable)
  • Water
  • A large onion
  • Miso paste
  • Watercress
  • Chopped parsley

How To Make:

  1. You should soak the wakame in water and cut into small slices.
  2. Slice the onion.
  3. Boil the vegetables in a pot with water. Simmer for 10 minutes and keep some broth aside.
  4. After the mixed water is cool, add the miso paste and mix well. Heat it slightly and let the soup sit.
  5. Add the water kept aside to it in a pot.
  6. Before serving the soup, add the chopped parsley and watercress for garnering.

Since Miso has a salty taste, it may not be necessary to add more salt to the soup. However, you may add some other vegetables for garnishing.

A balanced meal can keep you healthy and fit, and miso gives you all that you need for a wholesome meal! A cup of Miso a day and you should be able to keep the doctor away!

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