Aside from miso, there is another soy-based superfood that comes from Japan — it’s called natto. It may be new to your ears, but natto is actually a steady part of the Japanese diet for over a thousand years now. You may find natto’s appearance (soybeans covered in stringy goo) and smell (similar to used sweat socks left unlaundered) somewhat off-putting. However, knowing the health benefits natto offers can make you look at it in an entirely different light.
What makes this Japanese superfood particularly good for you is the fact that it’s fermented. Kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, tempeh, pickles, yogurt — these treats are fermented and everyone knows that they are highly beneficial for the health. Natto and all of these fermented treats promote a healthy digestion by supplying the gut with healthy bacteria. By the way, another great thing about natto is it may be consumed by individuals with mild soy allergies as the fermentation process natto goes through makes those hard-to-digest proteins friendlier to the tummy.
Definitely, including natto in your diet will take some getting used to. Natto is usually consumed with steamed rice and chopped up spring onions, together with some soy sauce. Some people find natto more palatable by adding mustard to it. Do you love wasabi? Then feel free to add a little of that spicy green paste to a serving of natto! Although natto is available in the form of supplement, experts say that pale in comparison to the real deal.
Now let us tackle some of the reasons why it’s a good idea to consider having natto included in your diet:
This Superfood is Rich in Vitamin K1 and K2
Some foods are good sources of vitamin K1, a nutrient important for the regulation of blood clotting. Then other foods are excellent sources of vitamin K2, which is important for bone strength. Guess what? Natto supplies your body with both types of vitamin K. Needless to say, consuming it is good for your circulatory and skeletal systems.
It Reduces Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
Since natto contains the kind of vitamin that helps regulate blood clotting, having it included in your diet may help lower your chances of suffering from a heart attack or stroke. That’s because it helps prevent the formation of a blood clot, something that can disrupt the supply of oxygenated blood to the heart or brain.
The Fermented Food Helps Prevent Iron-Deficiency Anemia
Iron-deficiency anemia strikes when the diet does not contain enough iron-rich foods. You see, iron is a mineral that’s vital for the production of hemoglobin, a blood component that carries oxygen molecules. Adding iron-rich foods in your diet such as natto can help save you from ending up with iron-deficiency anemia.
Natto Promotes Skin That’s Young-Looking
One of the many nutrients natto packs is PQQ. Short for pyrroloquinoline quinone, it is has vitamin-like properties and one of its functions is cellular growth. What’s more, experts say that PQQ also acts as a powerful antioxidant. It’s exactly for such reason why consuming natto on a regular basis can make your skin look healthy, young and beautiful.
Consuming It Keeps the Gut in an Excellent Shape
Just like other fermented foods on the planet, natto is packed with beneficial bacteria. It goes without saying that including natto in the diet is good for the GI tract. It supplies the gut with good microbes that keep the number of bad microbes in check. A healthy gut is essential for proper digestion and a strong immune system.
Including It in the Diet May Help Prevent Certain Cancers
Experts say that natto contains breast cancer-fighting phytoestrogen, a type of estrogen that occurs naturally in some plants. However, it isn’t just breast cancer that the consumption of natto may help prevent, but also other cancers because it is loaded with flavonoids and isoflavones that are revered for their ability to fight off deadly cancer cells.