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.
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.
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.
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!
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.