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.