5 Wellness Benefits of Miso to Explore

This Asian food made of fermented soy and grains is incredibly good for you.

Japanese miso soup with seaweed.

(marco mayer / Shutterstock.com)

When people think about miso, soup probably comes to mind. That’s because miso soup is delicious and very good for you. But there is much more to miso than just soup.

The word miso actually means fermented beans in Japanese, according to Well+Good,  and the food originated first in China and then came to Japan over 1,300 years ago. Although it was first used to help preserve food, its rich earthy flavor has made it a staple in Japanese cuisine. You can use miso in vegetable dishes, dressings, glazes, marinades, and of course, in soup.

This versatile food  is easy to find and use and it comes with a host of health benefits. Here are seven  wellness benefits of miso for you to explore: 

Nutrient rich
Miso is a nutrient dense food that is very healthy, according to Healthline, even though it contains a large amount of sodium. It is so full of nutrients that miso contains three grams of  complete protein. The fermented food also contains 12 percent of the daily requirement of manganese, 10 percent of vitamin K, copper, zinc, B vitamins, calcium, iron, choline, selenium and phosphorus.

The fermentation process used to make miso also makes it much easier for your body to absorb nutrients, especially vitamin K which is good for your bones and the prevention of osteoporosis. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that also plays a role in blood clotting, and for healing wounds.

Miso is also rich in antioxidants which protect your cells from oxidation and could protect against chronic diseases and some cancers.

Aids a healthy gut
Your gut is full of bacteria, some of it is beneficial and some of it is harmful. That’s why it is important to have the right kind of “good gut bacteria” and eating foods rich in probiotics will aid your digestion. Miso contains A. oryzae, a probiotic that helps to reduce symptoms that are linked to digestive issues like inflammatory bowel disease. When you purchase miso, choosing the unpasteurized, live, enzyme-rich product will give you the maximum gut benefits, according to BBC Good Food.

May support Brain Health
Recent medical advances have shown links between your gut and your brain. According to a study published in the Journal Preventive Nutrition and Food Service, a diet rich in fermented foods – like miso – has cognitive function benefits. Probiotic rich foods also have positive effects on memory, anxiety, and stress relief.

Has Immune boosting Properties
Being such a rich source of probiotics also makes miso  and other fermented food good for your immune system, stressed BBC Good Food. In fact, consuming miso may help minimize the need for antibiotics when you are fighting off an infection.

Beneficial for heart health  
Miso is also good for your heart health. A study of healthy Japanese adults that was published in Internal Medicine, found that eating regular miso soup was associated with a lower heart rate. Since miso has a high sodium content, scientists had believed the opposite. But eating miso must be countered with a low-salt diet to have this benefit. Miso can also help reduce the rate of strokes and reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol, making it beneficial for cardiovascular health, according to Well+Good.

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