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Japanese Natto: What Is It And Is It Good For Your Health?

Japanese Natto: What Is It And Is It Good For Your Health?

If you've ever been curious about natto food, a fermented Japanese bean dish, you're in the right place! In this blog, join Japan With Love as we are about to embark on a journey to explore these natto fermented soybeans! Let's get started!

1. What Is Japanese Natto?

Japanese natto is a traditional dish made from natto fermented soybeans, known for its slimy texture, distinctive aroma, and robust flavor. The fermentation process imparts unique qualities, resulting in a dish that stands out in both taste and texture. Natto food is a special place in Japanese culture, where it has been consumed for centuries. Natto beans are a staple in Japanese breakfasts, enjoyed with rice or added to various dishes for an extra burst of flavor.

Natto is well-known for its distinctive aroma and taste

Natto is well-known for its distinctive aroma and taste

The preparation of these fermented Japanese beans involves a meticulous process that has been passed down through generations. Soybeans are soaked, steamed, and then inoculated with Bacillus subtilis, a bacteria responsible for fermentation. The mixture is left to ferment at a controlled temperature, allowing the bacteria to work its magic, transforming the soybeans into natto.

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2. Health Benefits Of Natto

How does natto food compare to other soy-based products in terms of nutrition? While tofu and soy milk are commonly consumed soy products, natto beans offer distinct advantages. Its fermentation process enhances nutrient absorption, and the presence of beneficial bacteria adds an extra dimension to its nutritional profile. Following are some health benefits of natto food:

  • Protein: Natto is an excellent source of plant-based protein, making it a valuable addition for individuals seeking alternative protein sources. The protein content in natto food contributes to muscle development and overall body repair.
  • Fiber: High in dietary fiber, natto food promotes digestive health by supporting regular bowel movements and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.
  • Vitamins: Natto beans contain essential vitamins such as B2, B6, and K2. These vitamins in natto Japanese food play crucial roles in energy metabolism, immune function, and bone health.

Natto is a nutritional powerhouse, boasting a rich profile of essential nutrients

Natto is a nutritional powerhouse, boasting a rich profile of essential nutrients

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  • Minerals: Rich in minerals like iron, magnesium, and calcium, natto contributes to maintaining bone density and supporting overall mineral balance in the body.\
  • Heart Health: The presence of vitamin K2 in natto Japanese food is linked to cardiovascular health, potentially reducing the risk of arterial calcification and promoting overall heart health.
  • Bone Health: Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K2 contribute to bone health, making natto beans a potential ally in preventing osteoporosis.
  • Digestive Wellness: The combination of fiber and beneficial bacteria in natto Japanese food supports a healthy digestive system, promoting gut health and regular bowel movements.

3. How To Enjoy Natto?

Natto beans, with its distinctive flavor and texture, offer a culinary adventure waiting to be explored. Here's a guide on how to savor these Japanese natto beans in various ways!

3.1. Natto Rice Bowls

Create visually appealing rice bowls by arranging natto atop a bed of steamed rice. Garnish with finely chopped green onions, shredded nori, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for an aesthetically pleasing presentation.

Natto with white rice is a perfect combination!

Natto with white rice is a perfect combination!

3.2. Natto Sushi Rolls

Incorporate natto food into homemade sushi rolls for a unique twist. Combine these fermented Japanese beans with avocado, cucumber, and your favorite fish for a flavorful bite.

3.3. Natto Omelette

Mix natto Japanese food into your morning omelette for a protein-packed and savory breakfast option. Add cheese, tomatoes, and herbs for extra flavor.

3.4. Natto Salad Bowls

Make salad bowls by incorporating natto food into a bed of fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, and other colorful vegetables. Drizzle with a tangy sesame dressing for an added burst of flavor.

3.5. Natto and Tamago Gohan (Egg Rice)

Mix these fermented Japanese beans with a raw egg and soy sauce, then pour natto over a bowl of hot rice for a simple and popular Japanese breakfast.

Combining natto with egg and rice is a traditional breakfast at Japan
Combining natto with egg and rice is a traditional breakfast at Japan

Whether you go for traditional preparation or get creative with fusion recipes, the key is to explore and find a style to find what type of fermented natto suits your taste buds!

4. Tips For Those New To Trying Natto

  • Start Simple: If you're new to natto beans, begin with a basic preparation. Mix it with soy sauce and mustard provided in many natto packages to ease into the distinct taste.
  • Experiment with Condiments: Customize your natto food experience by adding condiments like pickled ginger, green onions, or a splash of rice vinegar to enhance the flavors.
  • Blend with Other Ingredients: Mix natto beans with ingredients you already enjoy. Whether it's in a wrap, sandwich, or pasta, blending these fermented Japanese beans with familiar flavors can make the transition smoother.
  • Texture Play: If the gooey texture is a challenge, try incorporating natto food into dishes where the texture won't be as pronounced, such as soups, stews, or casseroles.

Taken as a whole, natto isn't just a flavorful addition to your meals; it's a powerhouse of nutrition. With its high-quality protein, essential vitamins, and minerals, natto beans offer a well-rounded array of nutrients crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle! For more of a Japanese culinary journey, stay tuned with us!

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