Miso: Spring's Salt-Busting Superfood

By:StacyAtZeel

Miso is often ate as a soup.Miso is often ate as a soup. Last week, Zeel nutrition expert Natasha Uspensky gave us three diet myths to toss this spring as we revamp our nutritional mindsets. Today, we delve into one ingredient that's AOK to add to your diet: miso, Japanese for "fermented beans."

New York Times contributor Mark Bittman recently described miso as the "Parmesan cheese" of Japanese products. For those of us with less imaginative palates, however, that anomalous description doesn't quite make the cut.

One Zeel member still wanted to know how to buy "fresh" miso-a superfood (or ingredient) of sorts that, despite its high sodium content, has been shown to markedly improve our health. Much of the research surrounding the advantages of miso points to its cardiovascular benefits. While some studies say that miso decreases a major type of stroke, others suggest that it may also inhibit the onset of certain types of cancer.

As Natasha explains, "Miso is a healthy food made of fermented soy, salt and sometimes a grain, such as brown rice. Although a processed and dehydrated miso is sold in powdered form, the natural form of miso is a thick paste. This "fresh" miso can be bought in most natural food stores or Asian markets, and must be refrigerated after opening."

What are the best ways to eat it? "A tablespoon of miso mixed with a cup of hot water produces homemade miso soup, which can be seasoned with cubes of tofu and seaweed," Natasha describes. "Miso is also great to use in marinades, salad dressings, and as a substitute for salt in cooking."

What to know more about nutrition and what to add or toss from your diet this spring? Our experts are waiting. Ask them here!