Miso Benefits

Posted in Health on December 11, 2017

Miso soup: helps on hypertension, cancer and radiation injury

Comfort food, to me, is all about the psychological feeling of my childhood, and, in some occasion, because it remembers me like a sense of belonging, as when I am at home.

One of the best comfort foods ever is miso soup: the quiet heat of the smoking salty bowl makes me feel a cozy sensation of warm filling up.

As I am becoming gratefully addicted to learning about food health benefits, I got the chance to read a lot of scientific studies about miso and here are my findings:

What Is Miso?

Essentially, miso is fermented soybean paste used as a condiment in East Asia.

Miso is widely used in Japan and throughout Asia. Each country has slightly different ways to make it, like using a different soy variety, as well as mixing soy, for example, with fermented rice or oats in different proportions. The result is also visual: you will find miso in different colors (white, yellow, and red) and as it is used in a particular local way, it reflects the regional cuisine taste and tradition.

Obviously, it is ideal if you can use miso you utilize is from an organic, non-GMO soybean - as a side note, almost 94% of all soy grown in the US today is GMO! And as per the research, the more positive effects belong to the miso’s longest fermentation period, because you will have access to live probiotic that will help you to balance the fight against pollution, oxidative stress, toxins, etc.

About the fermentation period, it can vary from 2 months (white miso) to up to 3 years (red miso). So, if you choose a red one, by its concentrated flavor, you shall use it with parsimony, once its taste can overlap all others in your recipe.

When buying organic non-GMO miso, it is better to keep it in the refrigerator, for to maintain its fermentation effect.

One important issue is about if you are soy allergic - soybeans and foods with it as an ingredient are among the top 10 major food allergens in the US). However, at least in one Korean scientific study of P34 protein (one of the primary allergenic protein in soy), showed almost undetectable traces of this protein, making miso potentially with less allergic risk from other soy food sources.

What Are Miso's Benefits For Health?

Miso is a condiment that contains many goodies:

  • vitamins (B12, E and K),
  • folic acid,
  • salts,
  • vegetable protein,
  • essential minerals (copper, zinc, manganese),
  • fat, and
  • carbohydrates

 

One little word about K vitamin: if you are thinking about enhance its intake by the bond protective effects and it is difficult to have this information clearly disclosed in miso’s packing, you would prefer Chinese miso, which uses Bacillus subilis which is one of the microorganisms responsible for to develop this vitamin on miso’s fermentation.

And, by the way, you can use miso in other receipts beyond soup and you can try it, for instance, in a cucumber salad. And you can mix miso with apple vinegar for achieving an acid aftertaste. It is refreshing and you will eat raw miso, which is the healthiest way, taking advantage of all fermented microorganisms. Yummy!

Its health benefits are being researched and considered from preventing cancers to order intestinal function and helping digestion as protection against gastric ulcer, decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol. It has been disclosed as well as preventing fatigue and inflammation.

And about other protective effects, the first registered fact that miso has radiation protection effects was after the 2nd atomic bomb was dropped in Nagasaki (August 9th, 1945) when physician Tatuichiro Akizuki with 20 employees took care of 70 tuberculosis patients at “Uragami Daiichi Hospital”, about 1,4 km away from the bomb’s hypocenter, but none of these people have any acute radiation disease. Dr. Akizuki defines that wakame seaweed miso soup, which they consumed every day, had radioprotective effects.

Another scientific experiment also confirmed miso’s radiation protection action, as well as by its preventive impact on large intestine cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, gastric tumors and hepatic tumor.

What is concerned about hypertension, the study revealed that 2 or more bowls of miso soup have preventive benefits. Even though miso is a salty condiment, the scientists found that the salt in it, by its fermentation and, therefore, bioavailability, doesn’t have a negative impact on the arterial blood tension.

How Can I Eat Miso?

Other than the cucumber salad that I mentioned above, I also like to eat miso soup ("miso shiru"). I will start with an almost plain receipt and growing in flavor and health uses - here is how I make it:

Simple Miso Soup

  • peel and slice a carrot, or ¼ of a Japanese white radish if you have access to it, and cook it in water (1,5 l) until the veggies are cooked
  • turn off the stove and add 1 soup spoon of miso
  • sprinkle the soup with fresh sliced chives (chives have calcium and iron and are rich in vitamins A and C).
  • This first miso soup version is my favorite to substitute a mug of tea. By avoiding caffeine, it is warm, healthy drink to have before bedtime.

Add Some Protein (1 of 3):

  • if you need a light entrée a poached egg-like is a good protein addition to the simple version
  • the poached way to add the egg to the soup will give the pleasure to individuate another flavor in the soup
  • if you like eggs, but not so much a fan of the egg yolk flavor, you can stir the egg and you will have a weak taste of it

Add Some Protein (2 of 3):

  • for those who are vegetarian, you can use some tofu in small cubes
  • certainly, it is even lighter than the egg version but it will kill your hunger with this protein boost

Add Some Protein (3 of 3):

  • if you are looking for something to get rid of the flu, make a chicken broth and, with it, a miso soup. It will bring an inner warmth
  • I myself substitute the flu medicine for this chicken miso soup. It always works!

All these recipes can be done with a multi-purpose rice cooker.

I hope you enjoy your next miso soup as per its countless health benefits and great Asian flavor.

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