Natto is a Japanese speciality made of fermented soybeans. Legend says that it was discovered a thousand years ago (around 1051 AD) and was studied for the first time in 1894 by Dr. Kikuji Yabe (at the University of Tokyo) referring to it as “vegetable cheese”. In 1980 the nattokinase enzyme, a highly beneficial component in natto was discovered by Dr. Hioryuki (at Chicago University Medical school). Curious? Then, read on for these Top 5 Health Benefits of Natto!
1 Helps with High Blood Pressure
Nattokinase fulfils a similar mission to plasmin (a powerful enzyme) that is produced by your body and disintegrates blood clots that form in your blood vessels. With age, it often becomes more difficult for your body to produce plasmin and this is where nattokinase comes in handy!
2 Good for Gastrointestinal Disorders
Natto contains a “super” probiotic, called B.subtilis which is used to treat dysentery. It also demonstrates antibiotic effects and is useful for chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer disease and the treatment of Clostridium difficile (C. Diff for short) which is a bowel-affecting bacteria.
3 Bone Health
Natto has a very high vitamin K2 content which helps produce osteocalcin, referred to as the ‘glue’ that helps integrate calcium into your bones. It has been shown that in Eastern Japan where eating natto is popular, that its inhabitants are less prone to hip fractures compared to where it isn’t consumed as much (ie, in Western Japan).
4 Helps Cholesterol Reduction
A study showed that eating natto every morning for four weeks reduced cholesterol levels while simultaneously decreasing triglyceride levels.
5 Source of Bioactive Peptides
Bio-active peptides possess antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic and anti-cancer properties – powerful stuff!
Natto might not be to everyone’s taste, it’s not called “vegetable cheese” for nothing! It’s a bit slimy but with such unique advantages, it’s worth a try! You can find it ready-made in some Japanese specialty stores or even better…make it yourself! (See the video above.) Love Japanese food, been eating natto for a while – how has it helped you? Let us know in the comments below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram. (Check out these other healthy food articles and Keep YOUR Fit ON!)