Miso soup, a dietary staple in Japan, contains miso paste, onions, carrots, seaweed and water. The paste is typically made from soybeans, yeast and a starch, such as rice or barley, and is aged for at least a year. Fortunately, you can purchase aged and fermented miso, which provides several health benefits, in many speciality stores and some supermarkets.
Miso soup contains isoflavones, which are believed to fight cancer cells. Alternative health experts recommend that women drink a few bowls each week to obtain the maximum benefit. In addition, according to the Mayo Clinic, fermented soy may decrease the risk of prostate and breast cancer.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
The National Institutes of Health point to a Japanese case-controlled study that shows a direct correlation between increased consumption of soy products and decreased risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Fermented soy provides high-quality protein, which is important in the diets of vegetarians. Depending on the recipe, 1 cup of miso soup can provide 7g of protein.
Vitamins and Minerals
According to Columbia University Medical Center, miso soup typically packs significant amounts of vitamins A and K and a full range of B vitamins, as well as potassium, folate and magnesium.
Miso contains tryptophan, the same natural amino acid found in turkey. Since tryptophan is a natural sleep inducer, drinking miso soup just before bedtime is considered a healthy practice.
The fermented soy in miso soup relieves oestrogen depletion symptoms. In fact, some alternative health practitioners recommend consuming fermented soy rather than oestrogen pills to relieve menopause symptoms, including hot flushes.
Miso, and the soup made from it, contain fibre. As with many fermented foods, miso also provides the beneficial bacteria necessary for good digestion. For this reason it is best to serve the soup warm, but not hot, to prevent damage to the bacteria and enzymes.
Many believe that consuming miso soup several times a week will help you avoid illness during cold and flu season. The remedy soothes those who are already sick much like chicken soup. Antioxidants in the soup strengthen the immune system and, because miso soothes acid in the system, it helps combat viral infections.