Miso soup comes from Japan and is a common companion to sushi and rice dishes.
Miso is made from soybeans, which are rich in protein and other important nutrients that contribute to a healthy diet. It is the primary ingredient in miso soup, along with additions that help make the soup more flavorful, like salt, green onions, dried kelp or seaweed, and tofu.
Potential health benefits of miso soup are as follows:
- Improved Digestive Health
- Reduced Risk of Cancer
- Lowered Risk of Heart Disease
- Less Severe Symptoms of Menopause
Scientific research supports many of these health benefits, but additional research is required.
One serving of miso soup contains the following:
- Calories: 40
- Calories from fat: 14
- Total fat: 2 grams
- Saturated fat: 0 grams
- Trans fat: 0 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 grams
- Sodium: 0.86 grams
- Total carbohydrates: 3 grams
- Dietary fiber: 0 grams
- Sugars: 0 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
Miso soup is also an excellent source of:
You can also find other nutrients in miso soup, including calcium, iron, B vitamins, and magnesium.
Potential Health Benefits of Miso Soup
Miso is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, as well as probiotics, known as the gut’s “good bacteria.” Research has found a number of potential health benefits to consuming miso:
Healthier Digestive System
Miso soup is full of probiotics, which contribute to improved gut health. Miso soup contains the probiotic A. oryzae, which can reduce the risk of inflammatory bowel disease and other problems with the digestive system.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
There may be a link between isoflavones, a type of chemical found in the soybeans used to make miso, and lowered risk of heart problems, though the research is still preliminary. One study showed that higher levels of these isoflavones correlated with lower risk of strokes and heart attacks in some Japanese women.
Reduced Risk of Cancer
One study showed that regular consumption of soybeans was correlated with a lower risk of stomach cancer, particularly among women.
Another study showed that consuming miso soup and other foods with soy may reduce the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, a liver cancer.
Easing of Menopause Symptoms
Isoflavones also provide a range of health benefits, including the alleviation of hot flashes in women going through menopause. In addition, isoflavones can improve arterial health in these women.
Potential Risks of Miso Soup
Although miso soup has many health benefits and is a low-calorie, low-fat dish, there are a few potential risks:
Excess Salt Intake
Many preparers of miso soup add a good deal of salt. Eating too much salt can increase your risk of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
Instead of loading your miso soup with lots of salt for flavor, enjoy the dish with healthier additives like vegetables and seaweed.
Another thing to be aware of is that soy products are goitrogens, which means they can affect how well your thyroid operates. However, when consumed in moderation, goitrogens are generally safe.