Natto: The Stinkiest Healthy Food From Japan!
Have you ever heard about Natto? Natto is a Japanese food made by fermenting the soy beans. Natto smells bad and has a very strong taste, and it is extremely sticky and slimy. The food is very popular among the locals, but it is generally not popular among the tourists and the foreigners who live in Japan. In addition, natto is not also very popular among the locals who live in Kansai area (Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo).
Natto is a traditional breakfast in Japan, and it has been consumed by Japanese people since 300 BC, and it was one of the most important sources of protein in the Japanese diet. Japanese people eat natto with rice and miso soup, and in order to add flavors to the natto, many Japanese people add the karashi (hot mustard) and soy sauce into the natto before mixing them. Some people add raw eggs or mayonnaise into their natto, and recently people also mix kimchi with natto to create interesting flavors.
Natto was made by wrapping the cooked soybeans in rice straw and fermented with Bacillus subtilis or Bacillus natto for awhile. The consistency of Natto is very gooey, and the odor is pretty extreme. Despite its gooey consistency and extreme odor, Natto so far is the best source of Vitamin K2, a fat-soluble vitamin best known for its great roles in blood clotting and healthy bone formation and preservation. So far, Natto is the only soy food that helps preventing osteoporosis, obviously because Natto is rich in Vitamin K2. You can’t find Vitamin K2 in tofu, soy milk, or other soy products, so Natto is the only soy food that has Vitamin K2 in it. On top of that, Natto is also a good source of nattokinase, an enzyme that is useful at solving cardiovascular and circulatory problems.
In addition to the Vitamin K2, Natto is also packed with protein, fiber, and other nutrients. It also adds probiotics to your diet, which improves your digestion system and also strengthens your immune system. Natto is also very rich of Vitamin PQQ (pyrroloquinoline quinone), that actually helps your body’s cells to metabolize even better.
To try eating Natto, you can just follow the most traditional style, is to mix the karashi and the soy sauce with the natto and put it on top of rice. If you can’t stand the smell of the Natto, we recommend you to stir fry the Natto. Adding tomato sauce or curry sauce will also make the smell disappear. Natto can also substitute the meat, yes, you can just chop the Natto before you cook them.
Eating Natto for the first time is always a great challenge for non-Japanese people, you’d probably fall either loving it or hating it. Many foreigners tend to hate Natto for its bad smell and gooey texture, but some of them actually love Natto for its great nutrients. Why don’t you challenge yourself to try Natto?