Miso is a fermented derivative of soy, a particular cream with an intense flavor, rich in vegetable protein and widely used in oriental cuisine. This seasoning was born in Japan but it is increasingly spreading in Western cuisine, also thanks to its many properties: it helps purify the intestine, it eliminates the waste that the body absorbs due to environmental pollution, it promotes the digestion and more. Then let’s discover what miso is, what its properties are and how to use it to take advantage of its benefits.

Miso: what is it and what is it derived from

Miso is a food of Japanese origin, and it is one of the derivatives of soy. It is usually used in eastern countries to supplement, with its digestible proteins, diets that are free of foods of animal origin. Miso is obtained from the long fermentation of yellow soybeans in water and salt, to which can be added other cereals such as rice, barley, rye, millet and buckwheat. All is then subjected to lactic fermentation for more than a year, and takes place under pressure in cedar wood barrels and protected from drafts.

Properties and benefits of miso

Miso is rich in vegetable proteins and provides our body with all eight essential amino acids, and it does not contain cholesterol or fat. Miso is also a good source for B vitamins, especially vitamin B12 which is useful for the good functioning of the nervous system. It is also rich in mineral salts such as calcium, sodium and magnesium which give this food a high alkalizing power, helping to fight the acidity of the blood. Miso also contains a good amount of live lactic ferments, lactobacilli similar to those we can found in yogurt, which bring benefits to the bacterial flora, strengthen the intestine and promote digestion. The content of linoleic acid and lecithin helps clean up blood vessels, eliminating bad cholesterol and preventing cardiovascular diseases, as well as counteracting the accumulation of fat and making skin and hair more beautiful, as it hinders the harmful action of free radicals. Miso also helps to reduce stress, as it stimulates the positive hormones of mood, and gives energy, thanks to the long fermentation and the presence of complex sugars.

Miso: how to use it in the kitchen

Miso is used in the kitchen like a normal vegetable nut, a teaspoon of miso is enough to flavor a cup of broth, without the need to add salt. Miso can also be added to soups, cereal-based dishes or cooked vegetables. Famous is the Japanese miso soup prepared with seasonal vegetables, daikon, parsley, onion, wakame seaweed, miso and water. This soup has detoxifying and digestive properties: in Japan it is consumed before meals to stimulate digestion. With miso it is also possible to make a brine to preserve cucumbers, aubergines or daikon. You can buy miso in ethnic shops or online: it is important to choose organic and unpasteurized miso, to keep the lactobacilli active. Remember also, for your preparations, to add the miso at the end of cooking and with the heat off, so as not to lose its properties: therefore miso must never boil.

Miso can also be used as an herbal tea: simply dissolve 1 teaspoon in a cup with hot water and drink the infusion away from meals. Two cups a day help to regularize the intestine and, in menopause, they also help to counteract the fragility of the bones.