Maybe you have heard of Miso in movies or books, or maybe you have tasted this flavor in Japanese cooking or through in Chinese cooking.
The Japanese enjoy warm miso soup to stimulate digestion and give themselves the energy for their day. Miso is fermented grain with salt and a fungus, called kojikin. Miso is usually made from rice, soybeans, or barley in addition to salt and kojikin. Miso is not new. It has been a traditional part of the Japanese culture for many centuries now.
Miso does vary in its aroma, appearance, texture, and even the taste by region. This is partly because of the different grains that are used to make miso. Miso is not only found in soups. Though, yes, miso is most widely found and known for being part of the staple miso soup. It is similarly used in soup-type fare. Miso is commonly found in udon, ramen, nabe, and imoni.
Miso acts as a probiotic for the Japanese population. This is only one of its great health benefits. The health benefits are starting to make miso hit the map in the Western world too.
The History Of Miso
Miso originate in China by way of its early originator, hisio. Hisio was a seasoning that resulted from fermenting alcohol, salt, and soybeans, wheat and other myriad ingredients. At that time, it was limited to wealthy aristocrats. It was considered a delicacy and luxury, not a staple. At approximately the 600 BCE, soybean paste found its way to Japan.
At first, the soybeans used in miso were not ground. During the Muromachi era, Buddhist monks realized they could grind the soybeans into a paste. By the time the Kamakura era arrived, miso became a household item. This simple innovation broke open new cooking methods to enjoy miso. That is partly how miso became such a common food flavoring.
The miso-making process is relatively simple. At this point, households began making their own miso. The practice spread throughout the whole of Japan. In the Sengoku era, miso was even part of military provisions. It transformed miso into an economic influence for daimyos. During the Edo period, miso was known also as huki or hishio, depending on the culture and climate.
Miso has many health benefits. It is recognized in macrobiotic diets and increasing rapidly in the West as the interest in Asian food is embraced.
Health Benefits of Miso Ramen
Scientific studies have found that the dipilocolonic acid found in miso is excellent at breaking down heavy metals in the body. The alkaloid chelates even radioactive strontium. Miso is for that reason alone growing rapidly in popularity.
Miso, because of its concentration of soy has potent anti-cancer properties from the genistein found in soy. Even more so, studies find that miso contains 25 more genistein than unfermented soy, such as soy milk and tofu. Miso is more beneficial in lowering cancer risk, particularly that of breast cancer.
Its high concentration of the essential isoflavone reduces cholesterol. That means miso lowers the risk of heart disease too. It is a good source of antioxidants, which means miso also eliminates free radicals to stall the ageing process. In research studies, miso soup has also been shown to reduce chronic pain. It also leads to a greater sensation of calm and tranquility. Miso contains rich stores of essential minerals, including zinc, copper, sodium, and even manganese. These are all necessary for vital body functions. Zinc is a cofactor in many enzymatic reactions. Such reactions are key in wound healing and immune system functioning.
Copper and manganese are found in miso as enzyme cofactors and essential enzyme, superoxide dismutase. This enzyme is essential in the body’s antioxidant defense mechanisms, and even in energy production. Copper, meanwhile, provides ground flexibility for the blood vessels, joints, and bones. Copper assists with hemoglobin synthesis. Hemoglobin is essential for the body’s ability to transport oxygen throughout the system.
As it turns out, Miso also supports the body’s secretion of fluids into the stomach. It helps regulate digestion.