Traditional Japanese food has long linked miso with healing. Perfectly blended with the therapeutic Shiitake mushroom and allium vegetables. Miso soup has been used for hundreds of years to provide people with a treasure trove of health benefits. One cup of miso soup provides your body with many necessary vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients which help fight infection, inflammation, and cellular breakdown. Miso also provides a wide array of beneficial bacteria known as probiotics which strengthen the immune system.
Miso is a superfood that contains many vital minerals and vitamins. It is also an excellent source of manganese, vitamin K, protein, copper, and zinc. Copper is a key factor in preventing cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Copper helps iron create red blood cells which in turn help maintain healthy bones, blood vessels, and increases immunity performance. Vitamin K is responsible for the production of prothrombin. Prothrombin is a protein critical to bone metabolism and blood clotting. Studies show a correlation between low vitamin K levels and the onset of osteoporosis. Zinc keeps the immune system strong while aiding in the production of proteins. Proteins create and repair cells. Manganese helps the body create connective tissues, produce sexual hormones, and maintains nerve and brain functions.
Miso is essentially fermented soybeans and grains. Fermentation of food creates a wealth of beneficial bacteria which strengthen the human immune system. Miso is rich in probiotics. Miso requires the fermentation starter, koji. Koji has many beneficial, fungal microorganisms, mainly Aspergillus oryzae and the yeast, Saccharomyces rouxii. 75 percent of the human immune system is in the digestive tract. Miso ensures the delicate balance of beneficial bacteria is kept in check. People struggling with gastrointestinal disorders like Leaky Gut Syndrome should add miso soup to their regular meals because the fermented superfood can ease symptoms. Miso soup is a delicious way to improve your health.
Miso is truly amazing food. However, not all misos are equal. A GMO made miso won't provide health benefits. In fact, only organic, miso created through a fermentation process lasting at least 180 days can be used as a defense against cancer. Miso is high in antioxidants which aid in the determent of tumor growth and radiation damage. Shiitake mushrooms mixed with Miso provide the human body with polysaccharides like lentinan that increase immune functions and reduce inflammation. Miso and Shiitake mushrooms combine to form lymphokines (like interferon and interleukin) which rally the defense system to produce phagocytes (immunity warriors) that find cancer cells and attempt to destroy them. Miso soup is traditionally made with brown sea veggies like wakame and allium vegetables (onions). Mixing Shiitake mushrooms, seaweed, and scallions are known to reduce the risks of breast, colon and rectal cancers.
One bowl of miso soup can have almost 1000 milligrams of sodium. Don't write off miso just yet. The high sodium bill is worth it because there's even more, this traditional food can do to help the human body. A bowl of miso has less than 30 calories and provides two or more grams of protein per serving. This superfood is rich in vitamin B12 and revs up the body's metabolic rate. Wakame (edible seaweed) contains a compound called fucoxanthin which reduces abdominal fat. Miso provides Omega-3's and can help balance estrogen levels in women. Edible Seaweed lowers blood pressure and can help you stop smoking by negating nicotine cravings.
It seems that the people of Japan age at a slower pace than the rest of the world. Not only does the Japanese population appear younger, but they also live much longer lives. Miso contains the chemical compounds, saponin, and Linoleic Acid. Together saponin and linoleic acid lower bad cholesterol and prevent the onset of heart disease. Studies have shown people with higher level of linoleic acid have fewer wrinkles. Miso keeps your arteries from clogging up, allowing blood to refresh the color of your skin. It is important to remember only unpasteurized miso can provide the necessary microflora which battles free radicals. Don't overcook your miso soup, boiling it will kill all the fountain of youth compounds.
There is a common saying about miso soup, "miso strengthens the weak and softens the hard." Miso is a nutritional powerhouse that produces a variety of health benefits. In 1945, after the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, many survivors depended on the therapeutic effects of miso to heal the wounds caused by radiation exposure. Miso soup produces the phytochemical genistein. Genistein suffocates cancerous tumors by refusing blood flow to them. This process is known as anti-angiogenesis. Anti-angiogenesis is heralded as an excellent form of therapy for cancer patients.
Genetically modified soybeans do not provide any of the health benefits of organic miso. Miso is a delicate balance of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, microflora, peptides, and chemical compounds that pack a weighty punch against many different illnesses and conditions. However, if miso is not fermented for six months, or if it is pasteurized, or boiled it losses it's complex assortment of nutrition and health benefits.
The world of miso is pretty complex, trying to pick out a miso base can be confusing for beginners. Yet, this superfood is divided into three categories: white, yellow or red miso. White miso or Shiro miso is the most diverse and versatile of bases. Shiro miso is made from rice and soybeans with a short fermentation process. White miso is yellow in color and has a sweet taste. It can be used in soups, salad dressings, and marinades. Yellow miso is also known as Shinsu miso. Yellow miso is comprised of fermented soybeans and barley. Shinsu miso is brown in color. A little stronger in taste and varies by brand for its fermentation process. Red miso is the darkest miso and has gone through an extensive fermentation process. It's also the saltiest miso. Be careful when using this type of miso, a little bit goes a long way.
It might be overwhelming as you make your first foray into the world of miso at the grocery store. However, if you remember to look for organic, non-genetically modified, long-fermented miso paste, then you too will be reaping the rich nutritional rewards of this amazing food. While you're at the grocery pick up some Shiitake mushrooms, and scallions to further pack your snack with nutritional power!
This recipe makes enough for two servings. Ingredients:
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