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    Archive for the ‘natto’ Category

    You Ask, I Answer: Natto

    Natto_in_other_words_rotten_soya_bean_but_a_delicacy_in_JapanWhat you said about edamame and tempeh reminded me of natto –what do you think of it? I’m curious about its nutritional value.

    — Christine Ho
    Berkeley, CA

    I did indeed overlook the five-star nutrition in natto, Christine.

    I initially considered mentioning it in the post you refer to, but, in my experience, natto is even harder to track down than edamame and tempeh.  Regardless, I should have mentioned it because it is indeed another wonderful unprocessed way to consume soy.

    I mention “unprocessed” soy because in their feverish rage to bash soy, anti-soy advocates don’t take the time to differentiate between different varieties of the bean.

    It is true that the amount of processed soy in the Standard American Diet (SAD — how appropriate!) is alarming.  To label all soy as equally unhealthy, though, is absurdly reductionist and plain wrong.

    Some of the world’s healthiest cultures have eaten — and continue to eat — large amounts of unprocessed soy on a daily basis.  A diet high in tempeh and natto is very different from one high in soy ice cream, soy chips, and soy burgers.

    In any case: like tempeh, natto is fermented soy.  This means more nutrients (natto is a great source of vitamin K and folate) as well as higher absorption of minerals.  Natto is also a wonderful source of fiber and protein.

    There are two key differences between the two, though.

    1. Tempeh is usually (though not always) mixed with other foods, like barley, millet, and flax seeds.  Natto is 100 percent soy.
    2. Tempeh is fermented through the addition of the Rhizopus mold.  Natto is fermented through the B.subtilis bacteria strand.

    From a flavor and texture standpoint, tempeh is meaty/”mushroomy” while natto is sticky and emits a very unique odor that some appreciate and others find repulsive.


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