Natto – The Cheapest, Nutritious, and Unique Food of Japan

Natto, Japanese food, served in a cup

Natto, Japanese food, served in a cup

July 10th is the day of natto, because of the pronunciation of 7 (NAna) and 10 (TO). Natto is a Japanese fermented food made from soybean. There is no doubt that natto is one of the most healthy foods in Japan because it has rich nutritious. Because of its unique smell, people mainly divided into 2 types which are do like and do not like to eat. Also, it is very sticky (as shown in picture), sometimes this makes people to avoid from eating it.

Effects of Eating Natto

Natto has rich nutrition which are important to our body and health. For the reason, natto is used for food from very long time ago in Japan. Vitamin B group, which are promotes cell growth and regeneration, polyamines, which is effective for metabolism and aging prevention, dietary fiber to adjust intestinal environment, and calcium, which is irreplaceable substance for our bone health, are can be found in natto, to mention a few. In addition, it is appreciated by women because it has isoflavone, which balances female hormones, and helps to improve skin condition.

A popular package of Natto

However, it seems like there are times that you cannot get natto’s effects depending on how you eat it. Some people, who likes natto, put natto on various types of foods such as omelet, pasta, fried rice. However, those methods could weaken the effect of natto!! The sticky thing holding natto together is weak in heat and it loses its effect instantly in high temperature (around 50 celcius). So, if you want effect on blood circuit and turning down blood pressure, natto has to be eaten at room temperature. By the way, a hot rice bown just come out from rice cooker is less than 50 celsius, so it is ok to eat it with natto.

However, don’t lose a faith in natto. There are many methods to eat delicious natto and get more nutritions to our body. Specialist dietician says that “When you eat natto with fermented food (kimchi, shiokara, pea mackerel, etc …) synergistically adjusts the intestinal environment. Also, if you add tuna, sesame seeds, and perilla, those promote blood circuit, natto will have more effect on blood circuit and cholesterol lowering. If you eat natto with ginger, umeboshi, garlic, or onion, it can increase absorption of B1 into your body.”

In Conclusion

There is no argument that natto is good food for our body considering our health. However, its uniqueness about smell and stickiness, lot of people does not like eating it. I was also could not eat natto at the first year in Japan. Fortunately, I actually started enjoying to eat natto from 2nd or 3rd year. My suggestion is don’t bother and think about the smell when you eat natto first time. Sometimes, I buy natto from supermarket, and have a natto and rice on my breakfast. There is also another good point about natto beside health. It is price. If you look around at convenience store or supermarkets in Japan, you will be surprised by how it is cheap on such good healthy food. So, we can help our health by simply eating natto, and at the same time, we could save money on food in Japan with high living cost.

Natto recipe: add on a toast

Author - huchka

I am from Mongolia and studying abroad in Japan since 2007. Currently, I am living in Osaka and studying at Graduate school of Information Science and Technology, Osaka University. I have always fascinated about Japan product's quality in so many different levels, especially in deep specific fields. Also, Japan has very interesting long historic and traditional culture and it has been kept so well within modern era that I found amazing.
Recently, I am taking interest in handmade crafts and it's background culture and history. So I can introduce what you are looking or interesting.
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