Natto | A unique odor but a delicious pairing with rice!

The white rice is the staple food of Japanese.
Natto is a side dish which the Japanese find an indispensable accompaniment to rice.
But natto is not for everyone: it has a unique flavor, a stinky odor, and a sticky texture.
There are even Japanese who won’t touch natto.
But it is very high in nutritional value and does wonders for your body!

But what actually is natto?
Simply put, natto is fermented soy bean.
The soy beans are soaked overnight and pressure cooked to a soft texture.
Then a probiotic bacteria called natto is added, and the beans are placed in a climate controlled environment for 16-18 hours. The probiotic bacteria forms a sticky film on the natto, which, when ingested, helps coat the intestines and has a miraculous effect on the immune system. 納豆2

Natto has a very high nutritional value.
Traditionally it has been highly regarded as a health food in Japan.

・Natto helps keep skin healthy and young.
Natto is rich in vitamin B2 and helps protect the skin and membranes. Eating natto has been said be linked with a fairer, smoother complexion.

・The natto bacteria helps gastrointestinal functions.
Natto contains many digestive enzymes which help the digestive process and the sticky film coats the lining for better protection.

・Natto is good for the heart and blood vessels
The monosaturated fats in natto flushes away excess cholesterol, and the high amount of vegetable protein forms a strong foundation for the heart and blood vessels.

・”Natto dokino ishasirazu” / Consume natto, know no doctor
This is an old proverb in Japan.
In the past, natto was produced between autumn and winter. As in the proverb, when people consumed natto, they regained physical strength and prevented the spread of disease.

These are just a part of the benefits of eating natto.
Other benefits include prevention of stroke, dementia, osteoporosis, hangover. It also is said to lower blood pressure and regulate intestinal activities!

Natto is often eaten as a side dish with rice, but it is also included in a few dishes.
Some examples are natto in omelettes, spaghetti, fried rice. In Yamagata there is even a miso-based soup called Natto soup.
Personally I like natto on toast!

Natto is very offputting at first because of that color, the unique taste and smell, the sticky texture. But you may grow accustomed to it over time and incorporate it into your daily diet!

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