Spotlight: Natto (Fermented Soybeans)

Being half Japanese comes with it’s perks, one of those being a broadened spectrum in all things regarding gastronomy.

Natto may scare the living daylights out of some, or have the others sighing in pleasure – the wafting aroma that can only be oxygen deprived bacterial growth accumulating on week old soybeans definitely stirs up some mixed reactions in people.

The little pocket usually comes with two sauce-type sachets, one is an amber fluid (soy sauce) the other is a yellowish smaller packet of mustard.

These little white mystery packs contain a deliciousness that is hands down one of my staples. 
You can add both, or none! (though I would personally recommend adding the soy sauce) – otherwise the end product is quite bland.

Mix the two together and you create a marriage of flavoury goodness.

FYI: The sticky- ladyfinger/okra snail-like slime enveloping these once vibrant green legumes comes as a shock to many Westerners. Or maybe it’s just the smell?

Forget your Spirulina shakes or poached eggs with avocado for brekky. Like most health foods – Natto boasts some of the best macronutrients around.

===============================================================

Breakdown: Nutrient style.

A cup of this stuff contains HALF your recommended protein and Magnesium and over 80% of your recommended iron intake! (Take that steak!) Not to mention the generous addition of calcium and vitamin C contained in there too (1).

Add some avocado and you have yourself a… (yes I’m actually going to do this)

vegetarian, vegan, lactose-free, gluten free, meat free, whatever the hell else superfood!

I just had this delightful beauty for lunch!

The combination of high protein, paired with the fiber and iron of this breakfast staple in japan will refuel my muscles with energy (still aching from that body attack class I did an hour earlier).

There was also a japanese study in the journal of nutrition stating that Natto had the highest single source of the vitamin K2 in foodstuff, this was linked to an endemic population that had significantly higher levels of bone health (2).

Maybe this is why you don’t see many Obachans (Grannies) confined to wheelchairs in their mid 80’s?!

You won’t find Natto in your local Coles or Woolies – check out japanese specialty stores such as GoGo Mart.

A few weeks left of my Uni holidays, can’t wait to go back and learn some more. My brain is yearning knowledge!

Eat well, sleep well, eat some more. 

===Anna Freeman===

=== Student Dietitian===

Biography:

  1. http://www.nutritionvalue.org/Natto_nutritional_value.html
  2. Kaneki, M., Hedges, S., Hosoi, T., Fujiwara, S., Lyons, A., & Crean, S. et al. (2001). Japanese fermented soybean food as the major determinant of the large geographic difference in circulating levels of vitamin K2. Nutrition, 17(4), 315-321. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0899-9007(00)00554-2
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3 thoughts on “Spotlight: Natto (Fermented Soybeans)

  1. Love natto. Japanese people are always amazed when they hear I like their funky beans. They always ask if I’ve tried them and seem to expect me to pull a ‘yuck’ face at the thought. A friend wanted a t-shirt saying ‘Yes, I like natto!’

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is something I have yet to try. I know you can buy it here, is there a brand that is better or worse? I love fermented anything so I’m hoping I will succeed in loving natto!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Are you in Australia? Any western/European country will have Asian supermarkets or mini marts. I personally go to one called ‘Go-Go mart’ or ‘Fujimart’ they’re japanese specialty stores.

      I’m not too sure on the exact brand (I believe it’s JFC), but natto is like milk to Japanese people- there’s so many different varieties! The best way to find your favorite is to simply try them all! 😀

      Like

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