Friday, April 29, 2011

So I love Natto. The first few times I had it, it only really stood out as being slimy and a bit unappetizing to the western palate. But now I find myself craving the stuff. Natto is a fermented soybean dish. Soy is a rather controversial "health" food.

It contains phytoestrogens which are plant estrogens. People say this may either help or exacerbate hormonally influenced cancers such as that of the breast, prostate, and other issues. But phytoestrogens also tend to be weaker than say, BPA, and are also more natural in our hormone binding sites than those made of petrochemicals. For this reason soy milk may be recommended or shunned by some. These are of supposedly lesser concentrations in fermented soy dishes (soy sauce, tempeh, natto) while other beneficial compounds are present in natto.

The compound is, namely, nattokinase. This enzyme can help you digest food and in vitro studies is able to dissolve blood clots so could be recommended for people with high cholesterol or blood pressure. You can now buy the enzyme as a supplement! However, I say, why not fill yourself up with this common Japanese breakfast food, get some protein-enzymes-and gentle probiotics--keep yourself regular (both in your guts and in your veins) and eat natto!

Despite sensitivities to some probiotics, I've found that the small portions that natto is served in does not cause any bother to my digestive system and it's darn addictive. In the U.S. it's likely to be available at only asian specialty markets, and is sold in small styrofoam containers. So my love natto is generating a lot of plastic waste! I found today doing a search on how to make it myself, and considering that it takes me 24 hours to defrost the natto I buy at the asian market, only 24 hours of fermentation and 24 hours of aging is needed to make delicious natto at home. why not give it a try. You can also bypass the MSG that is added to most commercially produce natto (although I have found brands that don't contain it)

See for the method. I'll let you know if it works to make good natto.

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