This post is part of a series, Best of Expo West 2009: My Favorite Things.
I visited the Gold Mine Natural Food booth at Expo West on Saturday to find something exceptionally thrilling: freeze-dried natto. Natto is a form of Japanese fermented soybeans.
Natto is unique in that it contains extremely high amounts of vitamin K2.
I write a lot about the dangers of soy on this blog. You’re probably saying to yourself, “Soy? I thought soy was bad!” Unfermented soy is bad for you. Fermented soy, consumed in small amounts, is good. This is the traditional Japanese way of eating soy.
Fermentation of soybeans reduces the phytic acid. Phytic acid prevents the absorption of minerals in the body. By fermenting seeds, nuts, grains and legumes, we reduce the phytic acid present. Fermentation also makes these foods more digestible.
What’s vitamin K2, you ask? Vitamin K2 is critical for strong bones and teeth. It helps you assimilate and use the calcium you consume. It is also very important for heart health because it helps prevent calcification in the arteries. Osteoporosis, heart disease and prostate cancer are all signs of chronic vitamin K2 deficiency.
Natto is highly nutritious and the world’s best source for vitamin K2. Just look at this chart:
Check out the following websites describing in great detail the benefits of vitamin K2:
Vitamin K2: The Missing Nutrient
Vitamin K2 Scientific Presentation on VitaminK2.org
Nina Planck on Vitamin K2
Chris Masterjohn’s excellent article, On the Trail of the Elusive X-Factor: Vitamin K2 Revealed
So, you want healthy teeth free of cavities and strong bones? Want to be free of heart disease? Simple — eat more natto.
The only problem is, most Americans don’t have a taste for natto. I personally have never tried natto but I have heard that many people don’t like it do to the very strong, sour, cheesy taste and the “slimy” texture. You can see from this photo (photo credit below) that it does look just a tiny bit too icky for most Americans’ sensibilities. After all, it’s not something we grew up eating.
Due to the issues Americans have with natto, Japan Gold USA, a division of MUSCO Co. USA, wants to sell freeze-dried natto here in the states. All of the nutrition with none of the sliminess!
I tasted some at their booth. They had four flavors: Plain, Black Pepper, Soy Sauce, and Garlic. I have to tell you, they were all very tasty. They suggested eating them with rice crackers. I tried that, and you know what? It tasted a lot like Chex Mix. A wonderfully salty, crispy snack you could enjoy with a cold beer or iced tea while watching TV.
Oh my gosh, aren’t you guys excited!? I wish I could tell you that you all have a case of freeze-dried natto under your seat.
As I said earlier. I’m not Oprah.
Freeze-dried natto is not yet sold here in America; only in Japan. I put a call in to Japan Gold USA’s National Sales Director this morning. I’m going to call Gold Mine Naturals, too. Hopefully they or someone else will be distributing it soon. We definitely have a ready market!
I’m so excited about this. Healthy Chex Mix! I’ll keep you all posted on what I hear back.