Monday, August 9, 2010

Amazing Natto

Natto is a fermented soybean food invented in Japan over 1,000 years ago. We had heard that it is suppose to be good for you, but recently a friend sent us a list of the amazing health benefits eating natto offers.

It is said the blood clot dissolving properties of natto provides the same capability as doses of $20,000 blood thinners given to heart attack patients in the ER. And the effects last longer and have no side effects.

Natto has a long list of other beneficial heath effects including prevention of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, osteoporosis, aging, senility, and intestinal disease due to its unique enzymes, vitamins and amino acids.

Pyrazine is an enzyme which gives natto its nasty smell and prevents blood from clotting. In 1990, Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi discovered another enzyme in natto he named Nattokinase which dissolves blood clots. The combination of these two enzymes is a powerful deterrent to blood clots that can cause a multitude of health problems. Natto increases circulation through restricted arteries, breaks up clots, and keeps clots from forming.

Natto also has lecithin, linoleic acid, and fiber from the soybeans, which purifies the blood and helps digestion. It is rich in vitamin K which helps with bone formation and olyglutamin acid in natto helps absorb calcium in the intestines. Japanese researchers have shown a correlation of eating natto with lower rates of cervical bone breakage, a common occurrence for elderly with osteoporosis.

Natto protects the body from other problems related to impaired circulation, including macular degeneration, senility, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia. It has anti-carcinogen effects from flanoviods and isoflavones present in soybeans.

We were most surprised to find that this incredible food has also been shown to have an anti-bacterial effect on pathogens such as typhus, dysentery, e-coli, and salmonella. Wow!

The downside of natto is that its smell, taste, and texture can be difficult to stomach for those of us not use to eating it. It has been dubbed sneeze beans due to its gooey, snotty look. Japanese people eat it raw, but we have heard that the taste and texture can be improved by mixing it with yoghurt, mayonnaise or cheese.

We immediately ran out and bought some natto at KTA. By itself, it smells terrible (like ammonia) and there is no way we could eat it. We mixed in the mustard & vinegar package that comes with it and it definitely helped. Vinegar eradicates the bad smell.
We mixed it in yoghurt and it was good, even better after granola was added in with it.
We mixed it in cottage cheese and it was great, even better with vinegar added. Adding some feta cheese in made it taste even better. Natto can definitely be made to taste great and it is very filling and has a lot of fiber. If natto is heated above 150 degrees F, the enzyme loses its effectiveness, so it is best to eat it cold.

Natto is widely available in Hawaii and on the big island at KTA. 

 If you can’t stomach the taste and texture of natto, you can get some of the same effects with a pill containing Bacillus Natto bacteria - Nattokinase. There is some debate about its effectiveness, but many people are posting great results from taking the pill.


Jennifer said...

It's never something nice, like chocolate cake. Nooooo. "Sneeze beans" have to be good for you. It's unfortunate, really.

Steve S. said...

Very informative blog on Natto. As you touched on, there is supposedly a vast difference between the effectiveness between the various sources. Though, I would think that Natto being consumed from the actual fermented soy would probably yield good results.

Fox said...

hi, i've been enjoy reading your blog for sometime. very informative and interesting. i grow up eating natto. in my opinion it testes awesome by itself. it's like cheese of japan. but here is some re-arrangement tip.
natto with wasabhi, diced raw tuna (or raw squid), Shiso (it's like japanese basil. it has strong smell to it which to japanese people really nice), nori (sea weed) and diced avocado if you like and off course soy sauce. you can eat it with rice or pasta or sake or beer.
wasabi and shiso will take some of natto smell away. and it still taste awesome.

wasabi, natto mixed with grated Yamaimo (japanese yam. very healthy as well)
put that on japanese soba noodle (cold), add soba soup and nori.

Yamaimo makes you itchy if it's on your lips and don't wipe it out quickly. a lot of strange food in japan. but they are awesome.

Samurai Shonan said...

I agree with Fox. I have been eating it for 27 years now in Japan and find it excellent. Took a lot of practice. I have gout, so this stuff is good for me. Goes well with beer which is not good for gout. Luv em both.

Luiren said...

I have to agree with Fox and Shannon. I love natto and have been eating it almost every morning for breakfast for the past 7+ years. I eat it over steamed rice, and sprinkle toasted sesame seeds, and/or shiso sprinkle,or any other kind of furikake. It's my kids favorite food too! Especially served as sushi rolls.