Many people recognize miso from Japanese restaurant menus as miso soup seems to come as a side dish even when you didn't order it yourself. So, what is so amazing about miso that the Japanese swear by it?
Here are 5 reasons to start including it into your diet.
Miso And Gut Health
Miso literally translates to "fermented beans" which makes total sense since it's made from fermented soybeans and grains. It's been used in Japanese cuisine for over a thousand years and it served as an amazing food preserver, but its incredible rich flavor, also described as umami, quickly found its place within marinades, sauces, glazes, and soups.Since fermented foods are known to contain a high number of helpful bacteria, also known as probiotics, it's no wonder that consuming miso is linked to a variety of gut health benefits. Probiotics are generally thought to decrease inflammation, improve digestion, and support a healthy immune system function.And although many of these findings are still preliminary and require further research, there's no doubt that adding a probiotic-spiced up broth such as miso soup into your diet will help your gut flora, if only to help you digest the meal you're eating it with.
Miso And Brain Health
Miso paste is packed with nutrients, and within them, a whole plethora of B vitamins, including B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) B5 (pantothenic acid) and B9 (folate). B3, B5, and B9 are specifically important to support the nervous system activity, protecting it, and making sure it functions properly.Without having enough B vitamins in your diet, you're risking brain fog, elevated stress levels, inability to focus and concentrate, fatigue, low energy levels, and poor short-term or long-term memory, so it's extremely important to make sure you're eating the right foods and taking the right supplements.Vitamin B9, or folate, is also one of the most important vitamins during pregnancy, as it helps prevent a birth defect known as spina bifida, which occurs when the spine and the spinal cord don't develop properly.In addition to that, probiotic-rich foods are linked to improved memory and reduced stress levels, anxiety, depression, and even OCD. It's amazing what can happen when the overall inflammation goes down.
Miso And Your Bones
Miso is also super-rich in vitamin K, a group of fat-soluble nutrients that play an important role in bone health, regulating blood calcium levels, and blood clotting.Although extreme cases of deficiency are rare, stress and the Standard American Diet are great contributors to many micronutrient imbalances in our bodies, putting us at risk for a variety of diseases; osteoporosis and other bone health conditions being only some of them.Vitamin K is usually found in leafy greens such as kale spinach and collards, as well as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, fish, liver, meat, and eggs. Miso actually packs an astonishing 29 microunits per 100 grams, making it incredibly easy to replenish your storage.
Miso And Cardiovascular Health
Cardiovascular diseases are on the rise throughout the world due to our poor diet, bad sleeping habits, environmental pollution, and increased levels of stress we go through on the daily. We need to do whatever we can to counter these bad factors, from paying more attention to the foods we eat and how much we sleep to implementing self-care routines and limiting toxic chemicals in our vicinity.Consuming miso paste has been linked to playing a role in the protection against strokes as well as having a positive effect on the daily heart rate variability. Although more studies need to be conducted, these findings showcase miso's great potential in fighting one of the hardest health issues people deal with today.
Who Should Stay Away From Miso?
Although generally considered safe for most people, miso does contain a lot of salt, so if you're someone who's suffering from certain conditions that require you to follow a low-sodium diet, it's better to check with your physician and avoid consuming it before you get the green light.Also, because of its high vitamin K levels and their role in blood clotting, those on blood thinning medication should check with their doctor before implementing it in their diet.And finally, since miso is made from fermented soybeans, which are considered goitrogens, those with thyroid conditions are better to stay away until they get their doctor's approval.
How To Include It Into Your Diet
From making miso soup to marinating your salmon fillet, there are tons of ways you can implement miso into your weekly menu and enjoy all of its benefits. You can find miso paste in the majority of today's supermarkets or get it online and start playing with recipes in your kitchen.Miso will add a very unique, salty, and rich flavor to all of your meals, so make sure to try with small portions first and get used to the taste. It pairs really well with fatty fish and meat, root vegetables, tofu, mushrooms, and other rich and earthy flavors which will further enhance the taste of both ingredients without letting one overpower the other.
Miso is a nutrient-rich ingredient definitely worth looking into and keeping on hand, not only for its delicious taste and umami flavor, but also for all the incredible potential health benefits it may bring to the table. Try out some new recipes and get your miso kick on.
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