Not many people in the West knows about natto, but it is a super healthy food that could benefit your heart and your skin, but can also help your hair from hair fall.
Natto itself is a Japanese dish, eaten mostly for breakfast. It is made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis. It is the Bacillus subtilis in natto creates an enzyme called nattokinase, which produces vitamin K2.
It is not the most tastiest or greatest smelling item on the menu, but its horrid smell and taste is overcome with the health benefits it will provide you and your family. More so, it is a must if you want a healthy heart, beautiful skin and strong bones and teeth.
You just have to pucker up and try this vitamin-rich food, called natto.
Firstly, when it comes to soybeans, the only healthy form that you can eat is natto. Most soy is not healthy and will lead to thyroid problems and other health issues. But natto is different, and the secret lying in the bacteria that it is fermented in, but that also makes it easy for the body to absorb the nutrients. Plus, natto is a good source of probiotics.
In fact, the problem is that the soy that you are seeing in all these foods is not the traditionally grown crop of Japan. The majority of soy that you find in in grocery stores is actually genetically modified or GMO, and is not farmed the same way or yielding the same nutrition.
However, when you ferment soybeans you have a completely different product that yields a completely different nutrient system for the body. When it comes to soy, the safest (and in my opinion the only) way to consume it is through fermented soy products like miso, tempeh or natto.
The history of natto stretches back over 1000 years. It is truly a super food, a great source of protein, and low in calories. It is just the strong smell and a bit of an acquired taste. Some will describe the smell as being like ammonia, or it could even evoke a mixture of old socks and cheese. As for the texture, it has resembles a gooey, stringy and sticky small bean, which also adds to its unappealing nature.
Natto – good source of vitamin K
Most foods are rich in vitamin K1. Vitamin K1 is a blood thicken, in that it takes calcium from the bones and places them in the blood stream. This is not a bad action, indeed it prevents bleeding. However, if you are on thyroid replacement hormone medication, this action is doubled. The implication is that your bones get weaker over time and there are more pressure on your arteries and your kidneys.
Vitamin K2 acts differently. It takes the calcium from the blood stream can places them in the bones, thereby making your bones stronger and thinning your blood. Our guts can to a degree produce vitamin K2, but not enough. Plant-based foods do not produce this vitamin, however, like the case of soy when it is fermented it produces vitamin K2.
Post-menopausal women can benefit by consuming natto on a regular bases. In fact, there can be a reduction of 80 percent of the bone loss if they eat natto. This is since the effect of vitamin K2.
Other benefit is that vitamin K2 can reduce blood clots by slowing arterial calcification, enhance liver function and encourage the flow of urine.
More so, since there is an increase of blood flow, in vitamin K2 increases blood flow, hair loss will decrease, skin will become smoother and some finer wrinkles will disappear.
Natto is not just rich in vitamin K2, it is also rich in other nutrients
Rich in macronutrients and micronutrients, natto is fantastically nutritious, which is why people who regularly consume natto experience a fantastic array of health benefits. The nutritional profile of just one cup of natto include:
In terms of vitamins, one cup of natto provides the following:
Vitamin K: 51%
Vitamin C: 38%
Vitamin B6: 11%
Pantothenic Acid: 4%
Tips on how to enjoy natto
It does not matter how much you praise natto and what it can do to your health, if it come to eating it, its another matter.
Firstly, finding it can be difficult. The best is to go to Chinese supermarkets since they will most likely stock natto.
Secondly, do not opt for the supplement route. The issue is that vitamin K2 in supplement form can be unstable. In fact, within four hours of taking a vitamin K2 supplement (which is also one of the most expensive supplements you can get on the market), the vitamin K2 will convert to vitamin K1. That is not such a problem for females, but for men it could lead to prostate cancer. Therefore, it is best to go for the real deal. The actual fermented soy – natto.
It comes is a small white containers with mustard and soya sauce. If you are gluten intolerant then avoid the soya sauce, as it might contain gluten.
Then with a non-metal instrument – be it a chopstick or a plastic spoon, start eating it. This is since metal will kill the bacteria.
You can add it to eggs or on rice. These might it more, or just slightly better to eat.
You also do not have to worry about soy allergies when it comes to natto. That is since natto may not bother you. The fermentation process breaks down the difficult-to-digest proteins that many are sensitive to, rendering them unrecognizable as a problem food to your immune system
The bottom line about natto
It might not be the most pleasing of foods, well in Western terms, but it is super healthy. From strong bones, teeth, shiny hair, and smooth skin, these are a few of the benefits of natto. Natto can also help to reduce your cholesterol, lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health. It is something you need to include into your diet, especially if you have some health issues already.