Natto

What is it

Japanese Culture Natto

What is Natto

For more than 1,000 years Natto has been a Japanese staple. The Japanese consume roughly 50,000 tons of natto every year. Natto is fermented soybeans; soybeans are said to be the most nutritious crop grown. Natto contains 18 amino acids as well as protein, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B complex, as well as other vitamins and minerals that are essential to your good health.


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There are several reasons that natto is eaten, most are for medicinal purposes. Natto is considered to be safe and beneficial; it is also not associated with any ill side effects or any allergic reactions.

Natto can be hard to eat because of the smell, it has a very strong smell of cheese, and the texture is a little slimy, but there are ways to improve the smell and texture. That information will be provided in the recipe for making natto. (See the end of this article) The medicinal reasons for consuming this wonderful food are many. The prevention of osteoporosis is one. Bones are made with a special protein called gamma glutamic acid combined with calcium. Vitamin K is needed as a mediator in that particular combination; vitamin K is needed for the formation of bones and is an essential component. Natto contains an amazing 870 micrograms of K2 per 100 grams of natto. Natto also aids in the absorption of calcium from the intestines. Japanese researchers credit natto for the prevention of osteoporosis; it is statistically recognized that the regions with higher natto consumption have lower rates of broken bones.

In America we have 3 times the rate of prostate cancer in men than that of Japanese men. For Japanese males that move to America, the rate of prostate cancer rises significantly; it is believed that this is due to the change in their diet, going from a high consumption of soybean products to animal products. The Japanese consume 20 to 30 times more soybeans than Americans do, and it is thought that the relationship between cancers such as breast, skin, large intestine and prostate gland is largely due to the consumption of soybeans in Japan. Soybeans contain selenium, which is an anti-cancer mineral. Soybeans also contain edible fibers that cleanse the intestines which in turn is effective in preventing large intestinal cancers. No matter how you look at the research, eating soybean products especially natto, is effective in the prevention of various cancers and may aid in the recovery of individuals that now suffer with various types of cancers.

Natto aids in the improvement of digestion and intestinal disorders. The stomach destroys most bacteria such as bifidus before it reaches the intestines but natto bacteria is able to survive the journey through the stomach and reproduce in the intestines where it aids in digestion. The natto bacterium also helps beneficial intestinal microbes to reproduce. When there is a loss of the intestinal flora due largely to antibiotic use, (antibiotics are non-selective and kill any bacteria and intestinal flora that it comes in contact with.) natto can come to the rescue and aid in the reproduction of necessary microbes in the intestines, which can aid in the recovery from some forms of irritable bowl syndrome (IBS).

America has a problem with obesity; our country has fallen away from healthy eating habits and has turned to fast foods, so obesity is on the rise as well as all the diseases and illness that are associated with obesity. Soybean protein curbs the accumulation of body fat by raising the activity of the thyroid gland releasing more thyroid hormones, and that in turn will accelerate the burning of fat. It is said that soybeans prevent the aging of blood vessels and in turn strengthen them; soybeans also prevent high blood pressure caused by hardening of the arteries; which leads us to heart attacks, strokes and senility.

Pyrazine is an enzyme that prevents blood from clotting. The number one killer in America today is heart diseases and heart attacks. It is said that 60 percent of all cases of senility, among Japanese elders is due to blood clots in the brain; Americans suffer 4 times the rate of senility than the Japanese. There are anti-coagulant drugs and blood thinners, but they only treat the surface of the problem. Some drugs are so extremely expensive that some hospitals don't even stock them and if they do they are only used within minutes after a heart attack or stroke because the drugs ability to dissolve clots and fibrous tissue only lasts for about 4 to 20 minutes. Using it at this point, after the heart attack or stoke really isn't much help to the individual as the damage from the attack has already been done to the body. Until recently there was no natural solution to removing fibrin deposits or clots within the arteries but Japanese researchers have now shown that 100 grams of natto exhibits the same effect as these powerful drugs. This is great news for everyone out there. The biggest difference is that these expensive drugs only last 4 to 20 minutes where as the enzyme in natto called nattokinase maintains its clot busting activity for up to eight hours. You can find the enzyme nattokinase in a capsule form; take one in the morning and two a bedtime for the best results in clot busting. For the capsule you can visit their web site (NutriCology) or call 800-545-9960.

One precaution if you are on any blood thinners do not take the capsule or eat natto as this may cause you sever complications.

See your physician before taking any products that you may research and wish to use. If you are at risk and find that it is safe for you to use, then by all means eat natto, the sooner you put it to work busting any clots you may have the better your overall outcome will be.

There are so many conditions that may benefit from the consumption of natto that it is difficult to list them all; when you search the web for natto you will find pages covering natto use in animals such as dogs and cats. There is a report that states that dogs and cats share similar intestinal microbe flora as humans and there is now an experiment underway where natto is mixed with pet foods. To date no adverse effects have been noted and the animals don't mind the smell or sliminess.

There are many ways to eat natto, one is cooked but if you cook natto you will kill the bacterium that is essential to your health. The best way is to eat it is uncooked. The smell is compared to that of blue cheese.

The Japanese say that eating natto is good for your health, some of the claims are backed up by medical research and others are not.

More detailed research is needed in these areas listed above, as they are lacking in human trials. Human trials will never be done as natto can not be patented and therefore the cost of the research is too high. Individuals that have started a diet including natto have reported their experiences and the health benefits they have noticed and all have been positive. I wish you best in your search for better overall health.

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