- Food and Cooking
5 Reasons Why You should Eat Natto
Who knew that Rotten Soybeans could be so Good for You?
Have you ever heard of Natto? It's a very healthy, popular Japanese food which people in Japan have been eating for hundreds of years! It's vegetarian friendly and is a treasure trove of nutrients with many health benefits to offer.
Despite this, there are some people who cannot stand the sight of this food. Why? Because natto is basically made of rotten, fermented, sticky soybeans with a strong flavor and smell.
But don't let this shy you away!!
As I've mentioned, natto is full of nutrients and can be a delicious treat once the taste for it is acquired. After all, we have no problem eating other fermented foods (i.e. yogurt, cheese) Continue reading to discover how this food can be a great addition to your diet, and how it can benefit your health and lifestyle.
1. What does natto look like?
Natto is typically brown and retains the appearance of the beans that they are made of. They are rather slimy and produce sticky strings when stirred. They also have a strong smell often compared to that of pungent cheese... or as some say, "a pair of used socks"!
2. How do you prepare natto?
Natto is very easy to prepare! It usually comes in small white packets that are capable of keeping their contents fresh for days without allowing its smell to leak out. Each of these packets contain a serving of natto (about 50 grams).
All you have to do is open the package, pour a small amount of soy sauce over the beans and stir it until it's sticky and gooey... and it's ready! There's no need for any complicated recipe. The ease with which it's prepared is one reason why natto is so popular in Japan.
3. How is natto eaten?
Natto can be eaten in so many ways! The easiest way is of course to simply eat it straight from the white container that it comes in. But natto is most often eaten over hot, white rice. It also goes extremely well with other foods such as raw egg, okra, and long onions. It can also be put in miso soup, sushi, curry and even on pasta!
People are always coming up with new ways to prepare and eat natto. The possibilities are endless!
For more information, check out Wikipedia's article on natto!
Top 5 Reasons Why Natto is Good for You
1. Natto is rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber
According to Takano Foods Co.,Ltd, a 45g serving of their popular brand of natto contains a healthy dose of protein (7.4g), Vitamin B2, B6 and E, potassium (300mg), magnesium (45mg), iron (1.5mg), fiber (3g), Vitamin E (0.5mg), and calcium (41mg).
That's a lot of good nutrients in one small container! Natto is known to be an excellent source of protein and calcium for vegetarians. I know one elderly lady in her late seventies who eats natto on a daily basis; to this day, all of her teeth are healthy and intact, and she has no trouble eating hard foods!
2. Natto helps keep your digestive system healthy
Natto contains numerous types of bacteria, some of which help regulate your intestinal environment and keep it healthy. This useful medical benefit of natto has been known in Japan for at least over 300 years!
It's also widely known that the sticky substance in natto works with mucus to coat and protect the inner linings of the stomach.
3. It's a natural blood thinner
It is said that the enzyme called "nattokinase" in natto helps dissolve blood clots, lowers blood pressure and improves circulation. A lot of research has been done on nattokinase to this date, and nattokinase suppliments extracted from natto are widely circulated to be used for cardiovascular disease.
4. It makes a great addition to your diet plan
A typical serving of natto contains only about 100kcal of energy, but has all of the other great nutrients mentioned earlier (refer to Reason No.1 above). I recommend implementing at least two packs of natto a day into your diet plan to replace meat or other high calorie foods.
5. It's cheap!
A package of natto containing three servings can be bought in Japan for as little as 58 Yen, or about $0. 60. It's not all that pricey in the states either, so it's easy to get into the habit of eating a pack of natto a day.
Well, what are we waiting for...
Let's eat natto!!
Depending on where you live, natto might be hard to find. They are most likely to be found at your nearest asian food store. If fresh natto is hard to come by, here are some instant and/or dried natto products that you can buy online.
This healthy instant miso soup contains pieces of natto. All you have to do is pour boiling water over it and it's ready!
Dried natto is hard and crunchy, but has that same smell, flavor and stickiness as its fresh counterpart!
Nattokinase is an enzyme extracted from natto, and is used for cardiovascular disease.
What do Others Say about Natto? - Do they love it or hate it?
- The Sneeze
A funny review on natto by someone who's tried it for the first time!
- Veganbits.com - "We Ate Natto"
This reviewer bought some natto in Los Angeles and ate it with Indian rice (a rather interesting combination...)
- Being Jen-Jen - "I Love Natto"
A great review by a natto lover - complete with photos.
- Vegan Nutritionista - What are Natto Beans?
This page describes in detail how natto beans are made!
The Natto Poll
Would you eat natto if it were offered to you?
Have you ever tried natto? If not, would you be curious enough to try it? Let me know!