by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© September 2020, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Miso is a very simple and wonderful food that adds beneficial bacteria to the body. It has been eaten in Japan and some other parts of Southeast Asia for thousands of years. It has a mellow, somewhat salty taste.
Miso is a fermented soybean paste. In some types of miso, other cooked grains are added to the soy paste, such as rice or wheat.
The traditional way to make miso is that one mashes up cooked soybeans and adds sea salt to it. Then one exposes the mixture to various ferments or bacteria cultures. These grow on the soybean paste, producing the miso.
Today, however, we suggest buying miso ready-made at the health food store, for safety and effectiveness.
II. THE BENEFITS OF EATING MISO
1. A probiotic food. The bacteria in miso help maintain the proper intestinal flora. This means that miso works well as a probiotic food. Sauerkraut, yogurt, cheese and kefir are also helpful probiotic foods.
Other fermented foods may provide the correct flora for the intestines. However, they are more toxic in other ways. For example, we do not recommend kombucha tea, pickles, kimchi, fermented vegetables, and most other fermented foods. We donŐt like that some health authorities recommend eating just any fermented foods, when in fact some have serious problems. These include:
- Aldehyde poisoning. Aldehydes, such as acetaldehyde, are toxic chemicals that form when many foods ferment. This is a very serious problem with some fermented foods.
- Other toxicity such as that found in kombucha tea, for example.
- Some fermented foods do not provide the correct intestinal flora.
For more details, read Fermented Foods.
2. Reducing the mercury load. One brand of miso, Cold Mountain (brand) Mellow White Miso, contains a bacteria that helps reduce mercury in the body. It is able to transmute mercury into less harmful elements.
Most other brands and other styles of miso do not have the same bacteria, so they are not helpful for mercury removal.
3. A more yang food. A problem with all fermented foods is that they tend to be rather yin in macrobiotic terminology. This is a physics quality that means too cold and too expanded. This is harmful for healing and for Development, no matter what other benefits fermented foods offer.
The yin quality is the result of the fermentation process and because most begin as raw (uncooked) foods. This is a problem with eating too much cheese, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and other fermented foods.
The high salt content of miso, and the fact that it is made of cooked beans, makes miso much more yang in macrobiotic terminology. This is a distinct advantage.
4. Miso provides a wide range of important trace minerals. This is due mainly to its sea salt content.
III. HOW TO PREPARE MISO CORRECTLY – THIS IS VITAL
Miso is eaten as a small cup of soup. It is vital not to overheat miso, as this kills the live bacteria it contains. Thus, in order to make miso soup:
1. Warm up some water on the stove. Instead of water, you can use bone broth, another special food for development. Instead, you could cook a small cup of vegetable soup. Do not use more than about half a cup of water per person.
Traditionally, miso soup is a fairly simple food made with water, some sea vegetables such as kombu, with a little chopped green onion or scallion in it.
2. When the hot water or soup is ready to eat, turn off the flame and leave it until it stops boiling. This is very important to cool it down so it does not harm the bacteria.
3. For one small cup of miso, place about one fourth teaspoon of miso into a small bowl. You will need to experiment with the exact amount: too little and the miso soup will taste bland and diluted. If you use too much, it will be too salty.
4. Mix this with about ten drops of cool water until the miso has completely dissolved.
5. Then add this liquid to your soup, provided the soup is no longer boiling. The soup can be hot, but not boiling.
6. Because it is a liquid, ideally have miso soup before the rest of your meal. Having liquids with meals dilutes the stomach acid and can impair digestion. Have it a few minutes before your meal.
One need not eat a lot of miso. A small cup every day or every other day is plenty.