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December 23, 2015
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January 13, 2016

MAGIC MISO

miso soup2

By: Dr. Alan Christianson

I love miso soup. You can make a hot bowl of it in a matter of minutes and instantly feel more energized and alert. Along with making you feel well, there are lots of health benefits from miso.

Benefits of Miso

  • Miso cuts cancer risk. This has been shown for breast cancer [1], prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer.
  • It helps menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, headaches, and insomnia. [2]
  • It provides protection from radiation. Worried about airport security, dental X-rays, or CT scans? Have some miso. [3]
  • Miso strengthens the immune system. It cuts your risk of colds and flu. [4]
  • It’s an antiviral. Already sick? Miso can knock it out faster. [5]
  • Miso prevents the free radical damage that leads to aging. It’s a unique source of phenolic acids (like are found in coffee or tea but without caffeine).
  • It’s high in nutrients. Miso has protein, vitamin B2, vitamin E, vitamin K, tryptophan, choline, dietary fiber, linoleic acid, manganese, copper, and lecithin. [6]
  • Miso is a good bacteria. It can contain lactic acid, forming good bacteria similar to those found in yogurt (such as acidophilus). Miso is dairy free. [7]
  • It contains digestive enzymes to help digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. These are made by the Aspergillus that ferments miso. [8]

But, isn’t soy bad?

Miso is fermented. The fermentation breaks down the phytic acid found in soy and makes the isoflavones more absorbable. It also creates the probiotics and digestive enzymes of miso.

There are unfermented soy foods to avoid. These include:

  • Dry soybeans
  • Texturized vegetable protein
  • Soy flour
  • Tofu
  • Soy milk
  • Soy protein powder
  • Fresh green soybeans

Safe versions of fermented soy include:

  • Miso
  • Natto
  • Wheat-free tamari soy sauce
  • Tempeh is also a fermented version of soy, but many find it hard to digest.

Here’s my favorite dish to get a boost of energy and ward off colds and flu. You can combine these ingredients in a matter of minutes:

  • Miso
  • Scallions
  • Fresh ginger
  • Garlic
  • Wakame
  • Shiitake mushrooms

What about the extra salt in miso?

Miso has substantial amounts of sodium since it’s naturally fermented with salt. However, studies show traditional miso doesn’t act like salt in studies on mice prone to get high blood pressure from sodium. [9]

How can you make miso soup?

Ingredients:

  • Start with a GMO-free, organic, naturally fermented brand of miso. Eden brand is my favorite. Use about 2 tablespoons.
  • Wakame is traditionally included. This is a mineral-rich sea vegetable. Use one strip about 5-inches long.
  • Shiitake mushrooms work great in miso. Use four per bowl. Fresh mushrooms work fine; however, dried ones are more cost effective and have a long shelf life. You can use dried mushrooms as long as you soak them for 10 minutes in water beforehand.
  • Fish flavor. I use a few splashes of fish sauce, but dried fish flakes (called bonito) can also be used. Vegetarians can leave these out, and the soup will be fine.
  • Other ingredients: There are lots of options. Try fresh garlic, fresh ginger, fresh turmeric, grated daikon, or dried astragalus.

Directions:

Gently simmer all ingredients in 4 cups of water, except miso, for 10-15 minutes. Turn off heat. In a bowl, combine miso and ½ cup of water and whisk. Transfer diluted miso into soup and blend. Serve and garnish with chopped scallions.


[1] “Miso soup ‘cuts breast cancer risk’,” BBC News Online, June, 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2999852.stm.

[2] Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN, “The Whole Soy Story,” Wise Traditions Conference, November 2006.

[3] Hiro Watanabe, PhD, “The Magic of Miso,” Wise Traditions Conference, November 2006.

[4] Hiro Watanabe, PhD, “The Magic of Miso,” Wise Traditions Conference, November 2006.

[5] Hiro Watanabe, PhD, “The Magic of Miso,” Wise Traditions Conference, November 2006.

[6] Hiro Watanabe, PhD, “The Magic of Miso,” Wise Traditions Conference, November 2006.

[7] Hiro Watanabe, PhD, “The Magic of Miso,” Wise Traditions Conference, November 2006.

[8] Hiro Watanabe, PhD, “The Magic of Miso,” Wise Traditions Conference, November 2006.

[9] Watanabe H, “Beneficial biological effects of miso with reference to radiation injury, cancer and hypertension,” Journal of Toxicologic Pathology, 2013 Jun;26(2):91-103, doi:10.1293/tox.26.91, Epub 2013 Jul 10.

 

Dr C full res(c) 2015- Integrative Health Care, PC

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Dr. Alan Christianson is an Arizona-based Naturopathic Physician who helps people overcome adrenal and thyroid disorders and achieve lasting fat loss.  He authored the New York Times’ bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.  Dr. Christianson is the founding physician behind Integrative Health.

Dr. Christianson can be reached at www.MyIntegrativeHealth.com, www.DrChristianson.com and 480-657-0003.

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