Is Miso Soup good for you?

Is Miso Soup good for you?

Miso Soup is fermented Japanese Soy. It also contains added salt, sometimes other grains such as rice or barley, and other ingredients. The longer the miso paste has been fermenting, the darker the flavour and colour. Miso Paste also contains probiotics, which are healthy micro organisms similar to those living in your gastro intestinal tract. Probiotics are great for health benefits including gut health, which is linked to brain and skin health as well as improved irritable bowel syndrome and other gut issues.

However beware of all the added salt and additives which you can find in miso soup, which might provide some side affects (including sodium bloating). That is, some Instant miso soup satchets contain MSG, so make sure you read the label before purchasing.

Some tips:

  • If you’re looking for probiotic miso soup, make sure you buy unpasteurised miso as pasteurisation kills the probiotics.
  • If you are adding miso paste to a home made soup or curry, add it right at the end and quickly remove from heat as the heat can kill the probiotics
  • Watch the sodium content and eat Miso in moderation, as 1 serve of miso soup can contain 25% of your recommended sodium intake of 2400 milligrams. If you have high blood pressure or a high salt diet, it might be best to skip the Miso.
  • They contain soybeans, so beware if you have any allergies
  • Miso contains the amino acid tyramine, which can interact with anti depressants and for some people has been known to trigger migraines (also found in cured meat, beers and aged cheeses)

It’s worth asking – are there better sources for probiotics given the high levels of sodium and additives in many miso soups?

Certainly you can look to yoghurt, which is one of the best known probiotic foods when you eat a live cultured yoghurt. Or Sauerkraut, refit, kombucha, pickles, tempeh.

Or you can eat more prebiotic foods which feed your own gut bacteria and allowing them to thrive, rather than taking probiotics to add new gut bacteria…

Prebiotic foods include chicory root, dandelion greens (use in salad), jerusalem artichoke, garlic, onions, leek, asparagus, slightly green bananas, barley, oats, apples (the pectin fibre in apples is a prebiotic), cocoa, flaxseeds. It seems there are some excellent foods here that you can eat daily to boost your own healthy gut bacteria and skip the Miso and probiotics if the sodium is a little too much for your diet.