Miso Soup: A Delicious Bowl of Health and Anti-Aging Power

Posted February 15, 2007. There have been 8 comments

Find out why sipping fermented miso soup is the real secret to longevity in Japan. Studies show it can protect against radiation and cancer and keep you looking healthy and young!

There's a great debate about soy in the health food world today.

Once thought to be the cure-all for many ills and the lifesaver for vegetarian and gluten-free diets, more and more studies are showing what we at Body Ecology have known for some time: soy is NOT the health food you may think it is...unless it's fermented and non-GMO (not genetically modified).

Unfermented soy has been linked to digestive distress, immune system breakdown, PMS, endometriosis, reproductive problems for men and women, allergies, ADD, higher risk of heart disease and cancer, malnutrition and loss of libido.1

Who's At Risk?

While sales of soy are slowing as people learn about the risks, there are still people using soy. According to Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, who wrote The Whole Soy Storythe most at risk populations, are: infants who are taking soy baby formula, vegetarians (especially vegans) eating a high soy diet and mid-life women eating a lot of soyfoods thinking it will help with the symptoms of menopause.

So how can you get the benefits of soy, without the risks?

Fermentation to the Rescue

Fermented foods and drinks are a cornerstone of the Body Ecology program because they help build your inner ecosystem. When your inner ecosystem is healthy, it is full of friendly microflora (beneficial bacteria in your intestines), that help you digest and assimilate nutrients and boost your immunity.

In fact, healthy microflora actually go to work for you, creating the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay strong and energized.

When you follow the Body Ecology program, you begin to create energy so that your body can correct digestion, conquer infections and cleanse. Once your systemic fungal infection is under control we recommend adding fermented soy foods like miso soup, natto and tempeh. Soyfoods are high in copper and we have found that high copper foods often are not tolerated when a person has candidiasis.

Amazing Miso

Miso has been eaten in Japan and China for many centuries and has been attracting the attention of many of us because of its health and anti-aging benefits. It's also quite delicious. When you aren't feeling well a bowl of miso soup can be especially soothing.

While it was once thought that soy was the reason for the low rates of heart disease, breast and prostate cancer in Asia, more evidence is now showing us that it is the consumption of traditional fermented soy products (usually eaten every day) that are providing the real benefits.

Traced from ancient China, where it was known as hisio, a seasoning prized by aristocrats, miso was perfected in Japan from the 7th century to today.

Making miso is an art form in Japan. It is made of soybeans and koji, a culture starter made from beneficial molds, yeast and lactic acid bacteria. As long as you choose unpasteruized miso, you will be getting the benefits of live friendly microflora for the health of your inner ecosystem.

There are many types of miso, some made with just soy beans and soy koji (called Hatcho miso, a favorite in Japan) and others made with barley and rice.

No matter which type you choose, this fermented superfood has many health benefits.

Miso Benefits

Many studies have been done on miso, some on humans and some on animals. These studies are showing the following benefits of miso2:

  • Reduces risks of cancer including breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer.
  • Protection from radiation
  • Immune strengthening
  • Antiviral -- miso is very alkalizing and strengthening to the immune system helping to combat a viral infection.
  • Prevents aging - high in antioxidants, miso protects from free radicals that cause signs of aging.
  • Helps maintain nutritional balance - full of nutrients, beneficial bacteria and enzymes, miso provides: protein, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, vitamin E, vitamin K, tryptophan, choline, dietary fiber, linoleic acid and lecithin.
  • Helps preserve beautiful skin - miso contains linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that helps your skin stay soft and free of pigments.
  • Helps reduce menopausal complaints - the isoflavones in miso have been shown to reduce hot flashes.

Length of Fermentation Matters

Soy protein is hard to digest and takes a long, slow process of fermentation to break it down. Bacteria that can digest soy are much more hardy than the more fragile bacteria used to ferment vegetables, young coconut water and milk products (so while you may love our line of Starters, they won't help you make homemade miso - but they WILL help you make a variety of other probiotic-rich fermented foods and drinks.

With miso, length of fermentation matters. Hiro Watanabe, PhD, an expert in developmental biology and cancer prevention in Japan, conducted several animal and human studies using freeze dried rice miso to better understand how miso protects against cancer, radiation and other diseases.

Dr. Watanabe's studies showed that when it comes to healing illnesses like breast and prostate cancer, the ideal length of fermentation was between 180 days (6 months) and 2 years.

Dr Watanabe also found that miso fermented for 180 days is typically a rich color and has plenty of healthy microflora. After 2 years of fermentation, the amount of friendly bacteria has begun to disappear. And while the miso would still a fermented food and is not "spoiled" there is a risk that other pathogens can grow in the miso.

Sipping Miso Soup for Your Health

According to Dr. Watanabe's studies, the sodium in miso did not show adverse affects for people with salt sensitivity and hypertension. Here are the amounts of miso soup he recommended for different health conditions:

  • Cancer - 3 or more cups per day
  • High blood pressure - 2 cups per day
  • Menopause - 1 - 3 cups per day
  • Special Note: Here at Body Ecology we recommend eating less miso in the summer months because our body needs much less salt in the hot months. Donna often recommends adding it to salads, cultured veggies or salad dressings during the summertime. However, right now it is winter and much of the country is having extremely cold weather. Miso is a great food to eat every day.

For health maintenance, follow your intuition when it comes to how much miso soup you enjoy. This delicious, healing food is a great way to nourish yourself to great health!

Make Your Own Miso Soup

When you are ready to introduce the benefits of miso into your diet, you have more options than soup. For example, you can blend this certified organic miso (made with healthy sea salt) (Miso Master is another recommended brand; check with your local health food store) in with your cultured vegetables or add it to salad dressings for a delicious dose of protein, minerals and anti-aging power!

Or, sip your miso in a warming cup of soup as the Japanese have been doing to stay healthy for centuries. If you are really in a hurry simply dissolve a heaping spoonful of your favorite miso paste into a cup of hot water that you've poured into a favorite coffee mug. Spoon some cultured veggies into another bowl, add some roasted pumpkin seed oil and some sea salt to these and enjoy a perfectly balanced meal. This is fast food at its finest!

To make a more traditional miso soup, follow this easy recipe:

EZ Traditional Miso Soup Recipe

5-inch strip wakame (sea vegetable)
1 large onion (about 1 cup)
4 Cups filtered water
2 Tablespoons miso (ideally, fermented for 6 months - 2 years)
Garnish - chopped parsley, green onions, ginger or watercress

Instructions

  • Soak the wakame in water for 10 minutes and slice in into 1.5 inch pieces.
  • Thinly slice onions
  • Put water, onions and wakame in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to simmer for 10 - 20 minutes, until tender.
  • Remove 1.5 cups of broth from the saucepan, place in a bowl.
  • Allow water in the bowl to cool a bit and add the miso, mixing it into the water (the water should not be boiling, because it can kill the live beneficial microflora and enzymes in miso. In general, the microflora in koji, the starter used to make miso, die at 105° F).
  • Turn off heat, allow the water to cool a bit.
  • Add the miso broth to the soup in the saucepan and add chopped parsley, green onions, ginger or watercress for garnish.

RECIPE NOTE: The above recipe is a vegetarian version. You can also add bonito flakes (dried fish) - check out these bonito flakes at Amazon or check with your local Asian market. Simmer one tablespoon of bonito flakes in the water for 10 minutes and strain. Then continue as above. When made with the dried fish as a quick stock your miso soup will be even more strengthening.

P.S. Donna and Scott Eibel, President of Body Ecology, just returned from a trip to Japan. They enjoyed several bowls of miso soup each day...even at breakfast. They felt great.

Stay tuned for a future announcement about a delicious new all-natural non-caloric sweetener that the Japanese have been enjoying for over 10 years. Body Ecology is excited to bring it to America. Expected arrival date is early to mid May.

Sources:

1 Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN. The Whole Soy Story. Wise Traditions Conference, November 2006. http://www.fleetwoodonsite.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=11&osCsid=710d1e5b3567d83b3ec429eb228bb160

2 Hiro Watanabe, PhD The Magic of Miso. Wise Traditions Conference, November 2006.
http://www.fleetwoodonsite.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=11&osCsid=710d1e5b3567d83b3ec429eb228bb160

Miso soup 'cuts breast cancer risk'. BBC News Online, June, 2003.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2999852.stm

Post Categories: Anti-Aging Fermented Foods Recipes

8 Comments

  • I was given miso soup when I was unwell at a vipassana course.
    I really was not thinking about it but I did get better quickly - maybe naturally, but it does seem there are many benefits to miso.
    Is it really safe for those with high b/p and heart conditions where salt is all but forbidden? It would be a shame to ruin the efforts if those who have had a struggle to get off the salt and now are used to it, mostly. (Reminds me of the going over to non-fat milk and the giving up smoking battles)

    Posted on May 1 at 1:19 am

  • I crave miso like mad when I get that "coming down with something" feeling. I too will eat it from a spoon, or spread it on my toast for breakfast. When I'm well, I can take it or leave it, but when I'm not at my best, I just stir some into whatever I'm eating, at the table. Makes my smile come back. Do remember to brush your teeth because non-miso eaters may notice the smell!

    Posted on Mar 16 at 12:32 pm

  • Love miso. Make it every morning. Clears the redness from my eyes, and makes me feel alert!
    simple. boil small pot water. dump chopped bok choy in. throw in 1 or 1 sheets dried seaweed.
    Let simmer about 5 minutes. Add tofu pieces and large tablespoon of miso, ( I use the past with
    the bonito/dashi stock in it already) Simmer for another minutes or so. Done.
    Easier than making traditional Western breakfast full of fats and carbs. Miso has saved my life.
    I had C-diff, from taking Clindomycin for a tooth capping procedure. What a nightmare. Got over it without any form of further antibiotics, and give the credit to MISO and probiotics. Have my family and friends on it also! This is a habit to cultivate for life. Miso every day.....

    Posted on Nov 8 at 7:51 pm

  • I have been loving miso soup for as long as I can remember. I spend a great deal of time travelling the world for work and always carry a supply of the miso soup paste to make a refreshing snack whenever I'm feeling a bit flat. And now that I've hit the big Five-0, I'm in the ball park for prostate cancer. So it will always get the big thumbs up from me...

    Posted on Jun 18 at 11:27 pm

  • Just finished some Miso for breakfast with seaweed, enoki mushroom, green onion and a little tofu smashed up. Yummy

    Posted on Feb 7 at 5:57 am

  • To Lynn,

    I find that most products made in Japan are properly cultured before making it into the market. So the miso you buy should be fine. Try to look for ones that are product of Japan.

    Posted on Jan 4 at 9:38 pm

  • I love miso soup, but did worry about the soy. I do know that fermentation is good, yet I've heard it just the same. very confused.

    I buy the Whole Foods 365 Organic Vegan. I don't know how long the pasteurization is or how long the soy is fermented.

    Can you tell me?

    Posted on Nov 3 at 8:24 am

  • Love Miso Soup

    Posted on Jun 10 at 9:29 am

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