Here’s the science behind the health benefits of organic miso

When it comes to good nutrition, you often hear people say that fresh fruits and vegetables are the best foods to eat. These whole foods are rich in nutrients that your body needs but can’t produce on its own. They’re also a great source of beneficial compounds you won’t find in other foods like animal meat.

But while plant-based foods offer many health benefits, they have one disadvantage: They don’t last long in storage. Many fruits and vegetables spoil easily; and they don’t just taste and look bad when they rot, they also lose most, if not all, of their nutrients.

Before the invention of refrigerators and freezers, our forebears solved the problem of food spoilage by using different kinds of preservation techniques. Fermentation, which makes use of certain microorganisms like bacteria, molds and yeast, is one of the preferred methods for prolonging the shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables.

During fermentation, beneficial microorganisms are allowed to break down certain food components, such as sugars and starches, to produce energy. In turn, these microbes generate desirable byproducts like acids, alcohols and flavor compounds that help preserve food and give them new, often tangy, flavors. [1]

By increasing the alcohol and acid content of food and decreasing water activity, fermentative microorganisms create an unfavorable environment for microbes that cause food spoilage. This allows foods that spoil quickly to be preserved and last longer than they normally do.

In the past, fermentation was simply viewed as a preservation technique. But recent investigations into the fermentation process have revealed that it also imparts superb health benefits.

When you ferment fresh fruits and vegetables – even meat – you’re not only prolonging their shelf life and creating unique flavors and textures, but you’re also getting rid of natural toxins that may be present in those foods. Plants produce various chemicals as part of their defense mechanism. While many of them are beneficial to humans, some of them may be toxic when ingested. [2]

Fermentation also makes certain foods like legumes, which are notoriously hard to digest, easier for your body to break down. The process helps destroy their non-nutritive components that disrupt the activity of digestive enzymes. [3]

In addition, fermentation increases the bioavailability of nutrients in food. For instance, in the case of proteins and minerals, fermentative microbes produce organic acids that bind to these nutrients to form soluble, easy-to-absorb products. This interaction prevents phytate – a well-known antinutrient commonly found in seeds, grains and legumes – from making insoluble complexes with those nutrients and interfering with your body’s nutrient absorption. [4] 

It’s important to note that fermentation occurs naturally and doesn’t require the use of heat, which can destroy nutrients. This guarantees that when you eat fermented foods, you’ll get the full nutritional benefits of those preserved foods.

Thanks to the widespread use of fermentation in various cultures, you can enjoy a wide selection of traditional fermented foods and beverages today. If you’re looking for something incredibly tasty and nutritious to add to your regular diet, here’s a great fermented food you should try: miso.

The remarkable benefits of organic miso

Miso refers to the light- or dark-colored paste that’s made by fermenting soybeans and rice. It was said to have originated in China before being introduced to Japan some 1,300 years ago. Considered a valuable commodity, historical records suggest that before miso became an indispensable seasoning in Japanese cuisine, it was used as a gift or as a means to pay the salaries of the Japanese elite. [5] Today, miso is commonly associated with miso soup, a smooth, savory soup served with seaweed and tofu bits that has become a basic part of every Japanese meal.

The most common type of miso is made only from soybeans or from a combination of soybeans and rice. The strength of the paste’s flavor depends on how long the ingredients are fermented. The longer the fermentation time, the darker the color of the resulting paste and the richer its flavor. [6]

There are many varieties of miso available today. White miso, or “shiro miso” in Japanese, is made by fermenting soybeans and rice for two months. The resulting product is a light-colored paste whose taste ranges from sweet to mildly salty.

Yellow miso, or “shinsu miso,” is another type of light miso that’s produced the same way as white miso, except for the slightly longer fermentation time. While white miso is a great accompaniment for salads and sauteed vegetables, yellow miso, with its mild, earthy flavor, complements soups, marinades and glazes. [7]

Red miso, or “aka miso,” is often called dark miso because of its russet color. Made with a higher proportion of soybeans than lighter miso varieties, this paste is a product of up to three years of fermentation. Compared to white and yellow miso, red miso is saltier and has a heavier flavor that suits hearty dishes like stews and tomato sauces. This type of miso has a strong umami flavor that can overpower other ingredients, so it’s used sparingly in mild dishes.

No matter which type of miso you prefer, it is sure to boost your nutrient intake. This fermented food is rich in essential nutrients as well as important macronutrients like protein fiber. A 100-gram (g) serving of miso can give you the following: [8]

  • Protein, 12.79 g
  • Fiber, 5.4 g
  • Healthy fats (linoleic acid), 2.88 g
  • Choline, 72.2 mg
  • Cobalamin (vitamin B12), 3% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Folate (vitamin B9), 5% of the DV
  • Niacin (vitamin B3), 6% of the DV
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), 7% of the DV
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2), 18% of the DV
  • Thiamin (vitamin B1), 8% of the DV
  • Vitamin A, 2% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6, 15% of the DV
  • Vitamin K, 24% of the DV
  • Calcium, 4% of the DV
  • Copper, 47% of the DV
  • Iron, 14% of the DV
  • Magnesium, 12% of the DV
  • Manganese, 37% of the DV
  • Phosphorus, 23% of the DV
  • Potassium, 4% of the DV
  • Selenium, 13% of the DV
  • Zinc, 23% of the DV

Eating miso also supports a healthy nervous system and your mental health. Miso is a great source of choline, which is converted inside your body into the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. As one of the main chemical messengers used by your motor and brain neurons, acetylcholine can promote a healthy mood and numerous automatic bodily functions. [14][15] Acetylcholine also plays a role in supporting healthy cognitive functions like attention, learning and memory. [16]

The B-vitamins in miso also help support the healthy functions of your nerves. Vitamin B1 aids in the production of acetylcholine, while vitamins B6 and B12 help maintain healthy nerves. [17][18] [19]

Speaking of vitamin B12, did you know that this essential nutrient is not present in plant-based foods? Normally, you can only find this B-vitamin in animal products like eggs, red meat, milk and cheese. But Aspergillus oryzae, the microbe used to ferment soybeans to make miso, is one of the few microorganisms capable of producing vitamin B12 during fermentation. [20] Hence, vegetarians and vegans, in particular, can boost their intake of this essential nutrient by regularly eating fermented foods like miso. [21]

Miso can also promote healthy digestive and immune functions. According to research, your gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, many of which produce health-supporting products like short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which provide nutrition for the cells in your colon. [22] These good microorganisms also support healthy digestion and the processing of insoluble fiber, which is commonly found in plant-based foods.

In addition, the beneficial microbes in your gut can help protect against external threats. [23] [24][25]

As a product of fermentation, miso contains millions of beneficial microbes – also known as probiotics – that are similar to the good microbes in your gut. When you eat fermented foods like miso, you’re introducing new probiotics to your intestinal microflora that can help you maintain healthy digestive and immune systems. [26]

For people who wish to achieve sensible weight management goals, miso is one of the best foods you can add to your diet. Miso can not only promote healthy digestion, but its fiber and protein content can also help you feel full for longer. This can help support sensible healthy weight management goals when combined with a well-balanced diet and exercise.

To recap, here are 8 health benefits of eating organic miso:*

  • Provides plenty of bioavailable nutrients
  • Supports healthy digestive function
  • Promotes a positive mood
  • Supports healthy immune function
  • Supports healthy cardiovascular function
  • Supports healthy nerve function
  • Supports healthy brain function
  • Supports sensible weight management goals when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.

 

Where to get laboratory-verified, clean, organic miso

Some people are reluctant to eat soy products because of they contain plant-based estrogens. But fermentation radically alters the nutrient composition of organic soybeans and turns them into an anti-estrogenic food. The fermentation process also improves a couple of other things, such as the digestibility of organic soybeans, their nutrient content and the bioavailability of those nutrients. These fermentation benefits, combined with the health-supporting properties of soybean phytonutrients, are what makes miso an exceptional superfood.

To help you enjoy this amazing fermented food, the Health Ranger Store is bringing back our lab-verified Health Ranger Select Freeze-Dried Organic Red Miso Powder and Health Ranger Select Freeze-Dried Organic Yellow Miso Powder. Our premium organic miso powders can easily enhance the taste and nutritional benefits of your dishes and allow you to enjoy a delicious bowl of miso soup in seconds. All you need to do is mix any of our powders with hot water to reconstitute.

Health Ranger Select Freeze-Dried Organic Red Miso Powder is made by allowing A. oryzae to ferment only the highest-quality ingredients, which include organic soybeans, organic rice and sea salt. Our red miso is then freeze-dried to preserve its freshness and nutrient content, and turned into powder for storability and convenience. Use it to complement the flavor of meaty vegetables, such as eggplants and mushrooms, or make hearty soups and dishes. Because of its strong flavor, we recommend using our red miso powder sparingly to prevent it from overpowering mild-tasting ingredients.

Health Ranger Select Freeze-Dried Organic Red Miso Powder contains no gluten or wheat and is packaged in a USDA Certified Organic Facility. It is vegan, non-GMO, non-China and certified Kosher and organic. Our high-quality freeze-dried red miso powder is also extensively lab tested for glyphosate, heavy metals and microbiology. Supplies are always limited for this product, so stock up now while inventory lasts.

Health Ranger Select Freeze-Dried Organic Yellow Miso Powder is made from high-quality organic soybeans that were fermented with a small amount of organic rice. Due to its shorter fermentation time, our yellow miso powder has a slightly sweet and less overpowering taste than our red miso powder. Its mild, earthy flavor is perfect for broths, condiments, soups, marinades, dressings and glazes. Enrich your dishes with our delicious yellow miso to experience the health benefits of this remarkable superfood.

Health Ranger Select Freeze-Dried Organic Yellow Miso Powder is entirely made in the USA and is lab-verified for purity and quality. Like our red miso powder, this premium powder is made available in a freeze-dried format for convenience, storability and to preserve its nutritional quality. Our freeze-dried yellow miso powder is vegan, non-GMO, non-China and certified Kosher and organic. It is also extensively lab tested for glyphosate, heavy metals and microbiology. Supplies are always limited for this product, so stock up now while inventory lasts.

Support the health of your cardiovascular, digestive, immune and nervous systems with the cleanest organic miso on the market!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any diseases.

References

[1] https://cravingsofafoodscientist.com/

[2] https://www.who.int/

[3] http://www.ftb.com.hr/

[4] https://link.springer.com/

[5] https://www.marukome.co.jp/

[6] https://www.bbcgoodfood.com

[7] https://www.thekitchn.com

[8] https://www.nutritionvalue.org/

[9] https://nutritionfacts.org/

[10] https://www.acpjournals.org/

[11] https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/

[12] https://www.sciencedirect.com/

[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

[14] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/

[15]https://www.healthline.com/

[16] https://www.verywellmind.com/

[17] https://www.onegreenplanet.org/

[18] https://www.healthline.com/

[19] https://www.frontiersin.org/

[20] https://www.sharecare.com/

[21] https://www.health.harvard.edu/

[22] https://www.healthline.com/

[23] https://www.health.harvard.edu/

[24]https://www.scientificamerican.com/

[25] https://www.karger.com/

[26] https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/

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