The Fermented Food to Include in a Gut and Heart Healthy Diet
Many foods that contain soy aren’t good for your health. In its UN-fermented form, soy is extremely hard to digest due to the large number of enzyme inhibitors it contains1. It certainly won’t provide your body with the amino acids you need for a well-focused brain, for glowing hair and skin or for strong, well-defined muscles.
Beware, because UN-fermented soy can be harmful to your digestive tract and prevent you from digesting and absorbing other vital nutritional components in your food.2
Soy is also a largely genetically modified crop that is over-processed and over-used in packaged foods.
More and more people are showing allergies and sensitivities to this food that was once hailed as a nutritional superstar and a perfect vegetarian protein.
How Did Soy Get So Popular?
Back in the 1990’s, because of a heavy economic push from the soy industry and a growing sensitivity to milk, tens of millions of us turned from dairy food to soy foods. Soy formulas became the norm for babies with digestive troubles. A dazzling array of advertisements in leading health magazines made us believe that soy was a safe and desirable food especially for cancer, heart disease, menopause symptoms and osteoporosis.
There are many conflicting studies to date. Here’s what we know though – not all soy is created equal. Check your soy milk, soy protein hot dogs, soy ice cream or baby formula – do they say fermented on them?
Can Soy Products Improve Health?
Absolutely, yes! Fermented soy products (organic and GMO free) like miso, tempeh and natto can be very healthy vegetarian protein choices. We encourage you to eat them instead of the unfermented soy because of their amazing health benefits. One of our favorites actually is miso soup – a delicious bowl of health and anti-aging tool. Fermented foods enable you to create and maintain a healthy inner ecosystem with lots of beneficial microflora in your gut.
Soybeans have gotten a bad reputation for causing food allergies. But, when they are fermented you can easily digest them and reap their many healing benefits. Some of our most popular products are some delicious fermented drinks, like Cocobiotic and Innergybiotic, that you can take with you on the go or even enjoy at home. Just 2-3 ounces per day can give you the probiotics you need in your gut to create a thriving inner ecosystem.
The fermentation process is key to breaking down the soybean’s indigestible proteins into readily available amino acids. The fermentation, in effect, helps nourish and provide energy to your cells.
Soy has been known to be a part of a heart-healthy diet, and has even been shown to help prevent certain cancers6,7.
If you can’t properly digest soy, however, you won’t be able to take advantage of the healing, restorative, and strengthening effects this food offers. Two recent studies from Spanish and American scientists have found that people with soy allergies do not react to soy products when they are fermented before consumption5.
What forms of fermented soy are available?
- Soy sauce: This popular sauce originally came from China but found its way into the cuisine of Japan, Korea and Thailand. Each region differs slightly in taste, consistency, fragrance and saltiness. Originally produced in giant urns or wooden barrels by old-fashioned traditional methods today’s soy sauce is made by machine-assisted fermentation. However, soy sauce contains gluten and with its high salt content, genetically modified soybeans, sugar, preservatives and colorings, soy sauce is a food to avoid. Many brands of soy sauce (especially those in little packets) and also the “liquid amino acids” sold in your health food store are made from hydrolyzed soy protein instead of a traditional culture. If you are sensitive to Chinese food, this kind of soy sauce may be one reason why (they also use harmful vegetable oils). You can try organic coconut aminos – derived from coconut tree sap, it has a sweet taste and is a nice alternative to soy sauce. It can be used on stage 2 of the Body Ecology Diet – and remember that Principle of Uniqueness, and watch for how your body reacts.
- Tamari: In the 7th century the Buddhist created a “soy sauce” called Tamari, from the verb, “tamaru,” meaning, “to accumulate.” This black liquid was the by-product that seeped from the wooden barrels of fermenting miso and “accumulated” in a second outer barrel. You can obtain excellent wheat-free, low sodium tamari from the Japanese company, San-J. It’s easy to find in your local health food store and is recommended for use in stage two of the Body Ecology Diet.
- Miso: The fermentation process to create raw, UN-pasteurized miso allows for the growth of healthy probiotics that can colonize in your intestines. Miso is carefully fermented from 3 months to up to two years and has proven anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and even anti-aging benefits.
- Tempeh: This fermented soy product that is then pasteurized, providing a creamy, nutty addition to your diet that is often used as a meat replacement. Tempeh lacks live probiotics because while bacteria are used to help with digestion of the soy protein, it is then cooked. Being predigested, however, your body still benefits from the nutrition soy offers.3
- Natto: When whole soybeans are fermented with Bacillus subtilis, natto is created. Natto is probably your best choice for a fermented soy. Natto is full of healthy, living probiotics, and like these others allows for better nutrient absorption because it’s predigested. Natto has been shown to aid not only in the prevention of cancer, but also of osteoporosis, and heart attack.4 Natto is a great vegan source of vitamin K2 which you need to help promote bone health, and support your liver, gallbladder and digestive system.
What fermented soy food will work best for you? If you’ve been avoiding soy because you didn’t understand the facts, now you know. And remember, fermented foods like probiotic-rich drinks are a wonderful way to create a thriving ecosystem – the health benefits are just amazing.
1. Floyd, Margaret, ShareCare.com.
2. Dr. Ray, 12 Points On Grainfields Products. BodyMindHealing.com.
3. What is Tempeh? Henry’s Gourmet Tempeh, Web.
4. Dr. Mercola, Discover the Benefits of Natto, Mercola.com.
5. Daniells, S, Fermenting takes the allergy out of soy: studies, FoodNavigator-USA.com.
7. Messina, Virginia, Soyfoods and Heart Disease, Today’s Dietician, Vol. 18, No. 4, P. 18, April 2016.