Miso is a traditional seasoning used in Japanese cuisine that is prepared by fermenting rice, barley or soybeans with salt and koji – a mold starter… but is miso paleo? Is miso soup paleo?
The mixture is then let to sit and ferment for prolonged periods which could vary anywhere between 3 months to 3 years. The resulting paste is used for thickening sauces, spreads and soups. And although miso is derived from soy which is not a paleo friendly food, the fact that soy is fermented to get miso, takes care of its harmful lectin and phytate content. You see, when grains and beans like soy are fermented properly, they generally lose most of their toxic effects and do not render digestive concerns which their unfermented form would.
Regular consumption of unfermented soy, on the other hand, can trigger hypothyroidism, digestive inconsistencies as well as create hormonal imbalances in the body. Relying on soy as a source of high quality protein is a misnomer as the harms of consuming soy easily outweigh the benefits.
Miso being a fermented form of soy can be used in many paleo recipes and has its own set of health benefits to offer. It adds a distinct flavor as well as dense nutrients to any dish and offers some remarkable disease fighting properties. The nutrient density of miso is partly due to the fermentation process needed to prepare it. Because the fermentation mechanism works on the complex and hard to breakdown nutrients in soy, the resulting product is easier to digest and also contains lactobacilli, or live bacterial culture that fortify the digestive system. Like other fermented foods, miso’s bacterial culture strengthens the immune system.
The nutritional composition of miso offers various vitamins including vitamin B2, vitamin E and vitamin K along with important minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, choline and lecithin. Along with its complete protein content, miso also offers a substantial amount of dietary fiber. It can be used as a substitute for dairy in creamed soups, or blended with vinegar and olive oil to make a salad dressing. For paleo meals that stimulate the digestion and energize the body, add in a bit of miso into your food.