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11 Reasons To Eat Natto (Japanese Soybeans)

11 Reasons To Eat Natto (Japanese Soybeans)

Never heard of natto? Don’t worry, it hasn’t taken off in America the way sushi or sake have! Even so, this fermented soybean dish, traditionally eaten as a breakfast food in Japan for over 1,000 years, has a lot of health benefits to offer. Here are a few of those benefits.

1. You Get A Ton Of Protein

A single serving of natto will provide you with 15 mg of high-quality protein. This makes it a great choice if you follow a vegan diet, since protein can be harder to come by when it comes solely from plant-based sources.

2. You Will Load Up On Vitamin K

Vitamin K is an important nutrient, but there are few natural sources of it — and natto is one of the best. One of the most important functions of vitamin K is that it reduces the chances of abnormal blood clots which can lead to serious events like heart attacks and strokes.

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3. You Will Fill Up On A Probiotic-Rich Food

Many people have a growing interest in fermented foods because they are a rich and natural source of probiotics — the healthy bacteria that lives in your gut and helps not only to improve your digestion, but also to strengthen your immune system, making it easier to fight off illness and disease.

4. You Can Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is a big problem for many Americans. It can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Natto has been shown to help decrease inflammation and strengthen the immune system, making it a great choice for people with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

5. You Can Eat It Even If You Are Sensitive To Soy

Some people love soy but find that it is hard on their stomachs. These people should definitely try out natto. This is because the fermentation process has helped to break down those hard-to-digest proteins and this makes it a great choice for people who are sensitive to other forms of soy.

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6. You Will Have Stronger Bones

Natto is a rich source of a specific form of vitamin K called K2. Vitamin K2 is especially important for women who want to keep their bones strong and healthy, and it has been shown to reduce post-menopausal bone loss by a whopping 80%. This is because vitamin K2 makes it easier for calcium to move into the bones.

7. You Will Have A Healthier Heart

Natto can help your heart in many ways. The vitamin K2, which moves calcium into the bones, also moves it out of the heart. Compounds in natto have also been shown to help lower blood pressure and prevent abnormal clotting of the blood.

8. You Will Also Get A Ton Of Calcium And Iron

Calcium and iron are arguably two of the most important minerals for your health: calcium helps your bones and teeth stay healthy and strong, while iron goes into making the hemoglobin in the red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. For vegans, this is another reason to load up on the natto — calcium and iron can be difficult to get from an entirely plant-based diet.

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9. You Can Eat It On A Gluten-Free Diet

If you are sensitive or allergic to gluten, relax! This soy product is naturally free of gluten and is a great addition to the diet if you have either of these conditions.

10. You Will Load Up On Fiber

Dietary fiber is incredibly important for your health: it helps to improve your digestive system and avoid problems like constipation. A high-fiber diet has also been associated with better heart health and a reduced risk of colon cancer.

11. You Can Make a Ton of Dishes From It!

Whether its bruschetta, veggie burgers, California rolls, or sandwiches, there are an amazing variety of dishes you can make from this unusual food. Some of these recipes are traditional and some have been adapted for Western tastes — but they all taste great!

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So, now that you know about all the amazing health benefits of natto, get out to your local health food or Asian food store and try some today. It truly is one of the healthiest foods you can be enjoying right now.

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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