Miso, or fermented soy bean paste, is a traditional staple of the Japanese diet. Soy beans are fermented with sea salt, koji (a mold starter), and sometimes rice, wheat, oats or other grain. The mixture is fermented for three months to three years.
The resulting enzyme-rich paste contains vitamins, microorganisms, salts, minerals, plant proteins, carbohydrates, and fat. But fermented foods are more than the sum of their ingredients. Fermentation gives rise to compounds that have amazing healing properties. Fermented foods like kimchi, natto, apple cider vinegar, and even wine and beer have been called “medical foods.”
In a new comprehensive review of both epidemiological and experimental studies, Japanese researcher Hiromitsu Watanabe from the Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine at Hiroshima University confirms the power of miso to prevent radiation injury. Watanabe’s review of the science emphasizes the importance of traditional fermented foods like miso to prevent disease and maintain health.