Benefits of Miso

An introduction to Miso


What is Miso?


Miso means ‘fermented beans’ in Japanese. In Japan, people typically eat miso for breakfast, or asa gohan (朝ごはん) it is believed to stimulate digestion and energise the body.  This it wat it looks like.

It’s a semi-thick paste that’s made by fermenting cooked soybeans with a starter called a “malt.” The malt is made mostly by a bacteria called aspergillus, which is cultured on the surface of soybeans, rice, or barley grains.

The origin of miso: Where did it come from?


It is said that origin of miso dates back to ancient China. Also Japan was originally claimed miso as it’s own. So, the origins are not completely known. Two theories about origin, China and Japan are found in The history of Miso. As different dates and times from east asian records hold different stories.

A traditional ingredient in Japanese and Chinese diets, miso paste is made from fermented soybeans, grains and contains millions of beneficial bacteria. There are hundreds of different types of miso and different versions are linked with regional cuisines, identities and flavours.

The protein-rich paste is highly popular as it provides an instant flavour foundation. It adds the fifth taste, known as ‘umami’, to all sorts of dishes including soups/broths, salad dressings, vegetables, stews, glazes, and marinades. It makes a great marinade for chicken or baked salmon.

Miso is rich in essential minerals and a good source of various B vitamins, vitamins E, K and folic acid. As a fermented food, miso provides the gut with beneficial bacteria that help us to stay healthy, vibrant and happy. It’s gut healthy friendly. Good gut health is known to be linked to our overall mental and physical wellness.

Different varieties

The most common type of miso is made from only soybeans, but the variety and ratio of raw ingredients can vary. Some miso pastes are made from cultured wheat or millet or combinations of different grains and beans. The length of fermentation time can affect the flavour; ranging from sweet and mild to salty and rich. The colour is a fairly good indicator of the strength in flavour. The texture can vary too. Miso made from a wholegrain is typically saltier than that made from a hulled grain.

White Miso (Shiro)

Made from soybeans and rice and fermented for no longer than two months. Shiro (means “white” in Japanese) is light in colour and sweet to mildly salty. Shiro is a great gateway miso, very versatile and provides a bit of oomph to salad dressings or sautéed vegetables.

Yellow Miso (Shinsu)

Another mild type that is fermented for slightly longer than white miso. Yellow miso is adaptable in a wide range of recipes.

Red Miso (Aka)

If a recipe calls for dark miso, you’ll want to use an aka or red miso. Russet in colour, this type is made from a higher proportion of soybeans, is fermented for up to three years, and is saltier and deeper in flavour. Its full flavour is best used in hearty dishes like stews and tomato sauces. Use with caution – its flavour can over-power other ingredients.

Barley Miso (Mugi)

Made from barley and soybeans, mugi miso usually has a longer fermentation process than most white miso. It has a strong barley aroma, but is still mild and slightly sweet in flavour.

Different pastes based on regions of Japan.

Why eat miso?

Miso has tons of health benefits. It is a source of copper, manganese, vitamin K, protein, and zinc.

The fermentation process means that miso is rich in enzymes. Fermentation enhances the number of beneficial bacteria in the food. These bacteria are known as probiotics and are thought to help a wide range of health issues, especially for digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients. 

By consuming fermented foods you are adding beneficial bacteria (known as probiotics) and enzymes to your overall intestinal flora, increasing the health of your gut microbiome and digestive system and enhancing the immune system.

Additional fermented foods that are gut healthy and create a happy microbiome to try are kimchi, kombucha, natto, kefir, sauerkraut.

Studies in 1997 and 2013 have shown that beneficial bacteria synthesise vitamins in the gut, primarily vitamin K and vitamin B12, as a by-product of their metabolism.

Miso is considered to be high in salt and should be consumed with the guidelines of no more than 6g per day in mind.  

There is much research on the benefits of including soy products in the diet. Although miso is made from soy beans, the quantity consumed is quite small and unlikely to have a profound oestrogenic effect.

Soy products are widely produced from genetically modified (GM) soybeans. To make sure miso is made from organically grown, not genetically modified soy beans, make sure to read the label. The label will also indicate if the miso is gluten free. 

How to select and store

This is what Shiro Miso can look like from the shelf. Other times they are in little plastic containers.

When buying miso, choose the unpasteurised, live, enzyme-rich product that will need to be stored in the fridge. This type is loaded with beneficial microorganisms. We keep it after opening in a tuperware or something sealed to keep it fresher longer. After opening, the texture, colour and flavour may change so keep an eye on it. Some can be kept for quite a long time without any concerns or variations to quality.

Recipe suggestions

Miso Soup
Miso-marinated salmon

For more about Japanese diet, BBC Good Foods, has an article about the health benefits of a Japanese diet.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/glossary/miso

Benefits of Fiber

Types of Fiber

Fiber is so important. In my early twenties I knew that it was important. Most the time fiberlax or a laxative was what most people would suggest. Yet after learning about all the chemicals in off the shelf laxative’s I realized that this wasn’t what I really wanted to put in my body. As I grew into motherhood and startred to understand that our bodies change quite a bit after children or in our 30’s. Growing up I didn’t realize how differently we ate at home. We always had oranges and apples in our house. And our snack food were goldfish or icecream. Rarely did my mother bake. So those smells of muffins, pasterys, or homemade cookies or Georgia Mud Pie and deserts like that weren’t really around. Recently I’ve been looking up more ways to have more fiber in our diet as getting older it really effects my tummy. This article from MyFoodDiary.com really breaks down the differences between soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Highly reccomend reading and review as it has suggested intake and more in depth about who it effect weightloss.

Different Sources of Fiber

Sources of Soluble Fiber: Oat bran, barley, nuts, lentils, beans, peas, apples, pears, and citrus fruits.

Sources of insoluble fiber: Wheat bran, brown rice, broccoli, cabbage, dark leafy greens, and raisins.

Fiber and Weight Loss

High-fiber foods have been associated with improved weight loss. Fiber intake is linked to losing the pesky LOW BELLY FAT. Wow, who doesn’t want to shed those love handles? Besides the obvious physical benefits of fitness, there are also really great health benefits to a healthy gut. Not only is soluble fiber a good PROBIOTIC source, it can reduce risk of colon cancer, it can also reduce risk of diabeties– to learn more about those wonderful health benefits, HealthLine.com has a great article about how fiber and belly fat plays a key role in healthy gut bacteria with many sources to back those claims.

Many high-fiber foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are also low in calories. Additionally, high-fiber foods may keep you feeling full longer to prevent high-calorie snacking between meals. Which is why most healthy concious individuals eat the colors of the rainbow or whole foods as much as possible. It’s far from food snobbery, more like how we ought to eat, in several cases a family member, like a child or spouse, has a food restricted diet related to a disease or some genetic tendancy that really makes them more health concious. Which is far from snobbery, it’s a pretty health concern. Wonderfully enough there are more options to help today than ever before. Its about getting back to the root, going organic to ensure no harmful pesticides and chemicals are in our food sources. Getting back to eating local or all organic real whole food.

References:

University of Clemson

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23985870

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27666579

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12468628

Options for Daily Fiber

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Biomedic

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Detox Project Certification Press Release

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The Purpose of this Blog and Part of My Mission:

To offer authentic evidence based, products or best practices for health, healing, fitness and opportunities. I want to help as many people as possible. With my own experience with so many pharmacuetcals. It became more of band-aid than an actual solution for my well-being. Going towards food, nutrition & better daily habits of exercise I’ve been able to take back my health, find more purpose & live a more fullfilled life.

It started with listening to my body & basic bio-chemistry. What am I allowing into my body, mind and spirit? What can I do to change. Is all the medical intervention necessary? Being still and listening from within. Asking questions. Lead me to seeking alternative health and more truth. Hopefully you take the time to ask yourself important questions and how to make changes. Start somewhere, start with your why.

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