Natto is a dish originating from Japan. It has been part of the Japanese cuisine for several centuries now, but in the recent past, the popularity of Natto has spread beyond borders. The main reason for the popularity of natto is the numerous health benefits it offers. This dish is great for your heart, skin, and bones, along with being rich in a variety of vitamins. The recipe for natto involves fermenting soybeans. In the process, the soybeans are fermented with Bacillus Subtilis. The fermentation process makes it easier for you to consume and digest the soybeans, while your body absorbs nutrients from it.
For over a millennium, natto has been considered a super food in Japan. The taste of the dish is pungent and the texture unusual, which is the reason it is a challenge for Westerners to eat it. In fact, many people in Japan don’t like natto. However, it is an acquired taste and given that it is great for your health, you should definitely consider eating it. Natto can be great for your outer and inner health. People in Japan eat natto for breakfast. You can combine it with sushi to make the flavor slightly palatable, so you can gain the benefits natto offers.
So, what are the health benefits of natto? Here’s a look at the top 10
1. High Quantity of Vitamin K
There are few foods that contain both vitamins K1 and K2. Natto belongs to that exclusive club. Generally, you get K2 from bacteria and K1 from leafy greens. The dish is rich in vitamin K. A single serving of natto can give you close to 30% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin K. Vitamin K can reduce the risk of blood clots, while at the same time preventing bone loss and cleansing your arteries. Lack of vitamin K in your bloodstream puts you at risk of osteoporosis, bleeding, and delayed healing of bruises and wounds.
2. A Great Source of Probiotics
First things first, you should not eat soybeans that have not been fermented. If you do, you can suffer from hormone dysfunction and your thyroid health will also be affected adversely. However, fermentation eliminates these problems. Since natto is made by fermenting soybeans, you get a large quantity of healthy bacteria, which is great for your digestive health. You can also eat natto to treat constipation.
3. A Rich Dose of Vitamin C
A single serving of natto can provide you with 13mg of vitamin C. This means you can get over 20% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is among the essential nutrients your body needs, as it reduces free radical damage. Free radicals are harmful and can cause cancer and other degenerative diseases. Vitamin C can also bolster your immunity.
4. Helps with Weight Loss
Despite being rich in nutrients, natto is low on calories. A single serving of 100g of natto contains just over 200 calories with 5g of dietary fiber. The great thing about dietary fiber is it makes you feel fuller. If you are on a weight loss regime, you should include natto in your breakfast. Another benefit you gain is that 100 grams of natto contains 11g of saturated fats, which keeps your energy levels up.
5. Increase Your Protein and Iron Intake
A major reason for the popularity of natto is that vegetarians have taken warmly to it. The nutrients in natto mirror those found in different types of meat, such as protein and iron. By consuming a single serving of natto, you can get 35% of your daily recommended intake of protein and close to 50% of your daily recommended intake of iron. As you would know, your body needs iron for ensuring oxygen flows smoothly to all parts of your body, and you need protein for your muscles and cells.
6. Great for Bone and Teeth Health
Natto is also rich in calcium and magnesium. You can get over 20% of your daily recommended intake of calcium and 30% of your daily recommended intake of magnesium. Calcium is essential for your teeth and bones. Magnesium supplements your calcium intake, allowing your body to absorb the nutrient properly. By making natto a staple of your diet, you can reduce the risk of bone-related conditions.
7. Purify Your Blood
Natto contains a number of nutrients that purify your blood, including fiber, lecithin, and lenoleic acid. These nutrients help clean your blood, ensuring a better flow of oxygen, blood, and nutrients to every part of the body.
8. Beautify Your Skin
Natto contains a vitamin you might not have heard of: PQQ. You have to consume this vitamin through your diet, and hence natto can be a perfect addition to your diet. Vitamin PQQ can help you maintain beautiful, healthy skin, and make you look younger. You can prevent the effects of premature aging.
9. Get More B Vitamins
You can increase your intake of B vitamins by eating more natto. In fact, this Japanese delicacy offers you a wide range of B vitamins, including B12 and B6, riboflavin, thiamin, and folate. As you might know, vitamins B6 and B12 can boost your cell metabolism. You also get a rich dose of trace minerals, ranging from omega fatty acids, potassium, and zinc, to copper, phosphorous, and manganese. The fatty acids, in particular, are critical for improving your brain function.
10. Suitable for Diabetics
The glycemic load score of natto is 5, which is on the lower end of the scale. Consuming a single serving a day will not impact your blood sugar level significantly. This makes natto a great food for diabetics, as they can benefit from the nutrients it offers.
Natto is an acquired taste and it might take you some time to get used to the different texture and smell, but the health benefits it offers make it worth the effort.