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Getting the Most Out of Soy

In my last two soy articles, we discussed some of the risks of soy. For example, its effect on thyroid function, how it blocks mineral absorption and its estrogenic effect. Today, we’ll look at the healthiest forms of soy – and the benefits you can get from eating them.

Choosing the Right Soy Foods

Soy comes in many forms. Most – such as tofu and soy milk – can be difficult to digest. And allergies to soy are relatively common, particularly among children.

But for most of us, certain soy products offer real health benefits. I’m talking about fermented soy.

The most common forms of fermented soy are miso, tempeh and natto. Miso is a fermented soy paste. Americans know miso as an ingredient in the soup commonly served in Japanese restaurants. Tempeh comes in cake form. Vegetarians often use it as a meat substitute.  Natto resembles baked beans. It’s unfamiliar to most Americans, but it’s a popular breakfast food in Japan.

If you want to get the most benefit from soy, these are the products I recommend. In the next few minutes, we’ll look at how you can use them to boost your health.

Build Better Digestive and Immune System Health

Although soy isn’t a complete protein, it’s one of the best plant sources of protein. Beyond that, miso has an advantage over other protein sources. Miso is fermented with bacteria. And the healthy bacteria in miso – as in other fermented soy products – is an effective probiotic.1

For anyone with a need to avoid dairy, miso can provide a probiotic boost to digestion and the immune system – without the discomfort associated with dairy-based probiotics.

But when it comes to health, miso takes a back seat to another soy product: tempeh.

Tempeh – A Smart Choice for Your Brain

Vitamin B12 is critical to brain and nerve function, but our bodies can’t make it. We can only get it from food. B12 is virtually nonexistent in plant foods, but meat, poultry and fish are good sources. And here’s where the B12 story gets interesting.

You see, only bacteria can make B12. And the bacteria commonly used to ferment tempeh happens to make it. So, even though soy doesn’t contain vitamin B12, tempeh does. That’s good news for your brain, since a lack of vitamin B12 can lead to memory loss, disorientation, numbness and worse.

And B12 isn’t the only important nutrient in tempeh. Because it’s fermented from the whole bean, tempeh is higher in fiber, protein and vitamins than it’s cousin, tofu. And, of course, it provides a healthy does of friendly bacteria to your digestive system.

Finally, there’s natto. And you may be surprised by the nutritional boost this soy product offers.

The Easy Way to Improve Bone Strength and Blood Flow

Though soy is best known as a protein food, natto offers you much more. For one thing, it’s high in vitamin K. Here’s why that’s good news:

Along with vitamin D, vitamin K can lower your risk of bone fracture. And a recent report from Kyoto Women’s University backs up natto’s beneficial effect. According to the report, eating more natto results in less chance of fractures.2

But there’s a bonus when you get your vitamin K from natto. Dutch researchers discovered that this natural form of vitamin K stays in your system far longer than the synthetic form used in supplements.3 Natto’s natural vitamin K also reached levels 7 – 8 times higher in their subjects’ bloodstreams.

And this translates to stronger bones. Scientists at Kawasaki Medical School conducted a year-long human study on natto and bone strength. Of 73 premenopausal women, those who ate natto most often (3 x per week) maintained greater bone density than those who ate natto less often or not at all.4

It gets better. A study in the journal Biofactors says that natto is good for circulation, too. In two trials, Japanese researchers gave subjects an extract made from the bacteria found in natto. In both trials, their subjects’ blood flow improved.5

But please keep in mind, Natto and or Nattokinasse should not be taken by anyone using a blood thinner such as Coumadin or who is on aspirin therapy for blood thinning.

Enjoy Soy – But in Moderation

As we’ve seen, soy isn’t quite the perfect food marketers might like you to believe. But certain forms of soy do offer significant health benefits.

For most people, adding fermented soy foods to their diet is, on balance, healthful. Just be sure to eat soy in moderation… stick with fermented soy products… and follow the protective steps I outlined in my last article (See Soy’s Dirty Secret Here). If you do, you should be able to enjoy soy’s proven health benefits without the risks.

Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
Best Life Herbals

Editor’s Note: Nattokinase, Mother Nature’s samurai warrior, may just be the health secret the world has been waiting for. The research on this Asian nutrient doesn’t lie, Natto can drastically improve almost every aspect of a healthy life. And now you can get this life boosting ingredient and experience the joys of strong immune system, optimum heart function and much, much more. To order your supply of Nattokinase today, follow this link!

* Natto and or Nattokinasse should not be taken by anyone using a blood thinner such as Coumadin or who is on aspirin therapy for blood thinning.


1 Nichols A. Probiotics and Athletic Performance: A Systematic Review. Current Sports Medicine Reports:
August 2007 – Volume 6 – Issue 4 – p 269-273.
2 Kuwabara A. Foods rich in fat-soluble vitamins and bone health. Clin Calcium. 2009 Sep;19(9):1362-9.
3 Schurgers LJ, et al. Vitamin K-containing dietary supplements: comparison of synthetic vitamin K1 and natto-derived menaquinone-7. Blood. 2007 Apr 15;109(8):3279-83. Epub 2006 Dec 7.
4 Katsuyama H, et al. Promotion of bone formation by fermented soybean (Natto) intake in premenopausal women. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2004 Apr;50(2):114-20.
5 Omura K, et al. Fibrinolytic and anti-thrombotic effect of NKCP, the protein layer from Bacillus subtilis (natto). Biofactors. 2004;22(1-4):185-7.

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