Learning from the Japanese and Natto

Japanese Natto Food: Our recent article explored the benefits of fermented food, particularly foods like miso, and soy sauce. A deep-dive into another fermented food, natto, shows that this particular food may have many benefits that help women going through menopause. Natto, not nearly as popular as its “cousin” tofu, has been eaten in Japan for millennia. It is made of fermented soybeans, soybeans which are fermented with the bacteria bacillus subtilus. The beans are first cooked for hours before the bacteria are introduced in a temperature-controlled fermentation room. After a day or so, the beans are cooled and stored in a refrigerator for the flavor to mature.

The beans develop into a slightly sticky texture, though they still look like gooey chickpeas. Some complain that the odor of natto is not the most appetizing, ranging from exercise socks to paint thinner, from ammonia to Camembert cheese, and yet, depending how it’s prepared, the odor does not have to be overly pungent. It is certainly an acquired taste, but with that acquisition come all of the health benefits.

Health Benefits of Natto

The active ingredient in Natto is nattokinase. This enzyme not only helps aid circulation, but it also works to clean out the blood vessels which reduce the risk of hypertension, stroke and heart disease. It is also strong in K2, a vitamin that helps with bone health. The ability to bolster bone strength is one of the reasons why natto should be considered by menopausal and postmenopausal women. One study of Japanese women who were postmenopausal showed that those who consumed natto regularly were less likely to develop bone density loss which helped protect them against osteoporosis. In comparison to other soy products like tofu, there was no correlation between improved bone density and consumption.

Superfood Benefits
A healthy Japanese old woman with his white dog
A healthy Japanese old woman

When looking at the chemical breakdown of natto, it’s easy to see why it’s such a superfood. Natto has no cholesterol, and also contains lots of potassium and dietary fiber, two of the elements responsible for cleaning out the arteries. Because natto is fermented, the bacteria it contains helps to clean out the gut while the enzyme nattokinase cleans out the blood vessels. Vitamins, protein, and iron are all abundant in natto as well, making it not only healthy food to consume, but a good weight loss food that is both filling and nutritious.

Natto Recipe Preparation

When making a dish with natto, there are many methods for preparation. In Japan, it is commonly served with rice and fermented vegetables. This way of serving natto is a traditional breakfast in Japan. Another way to eat natto is to whip it with a fork, making it into a sort of fluffy paste, and then use apple cider vinegar, mustard, and cultured vegetables to add more flavor. It is, as mentioned above, an acquired taste, so finding a way to prepare it that works for you and your loved ones is best. 

As more evidence comes out that much of menopause is influenced by lifestyle, more so than genetics, it’s important to consider healthy diet and exercise choices that can minimize any difficult symptoms of menopause. Natto is one of the foods that can best alleviate negative symptoms while working to ensure healthy flow of systems in the body.

Healthy Living for the Bones: Exercise

When it comes to having healthy bones as you age, one of the best things you can do is exercise. Like muscles, bones are, quite simply, living tissue. Always changing, always growing, always capable of strengthening. Through food and supplemental choices, one can bolster the body’s ability to fortify bones with calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus, but another important component, especially when combating risk of osteoporosis, is exercise.. 

Simple, specific movements, specifically when working against gravity or using weight as resistance are two of the best ways to improve bone strength. In general, humans reach their peak bone mass in the third decade, and from that span of time, are in a slightly degenerative process that requires more attention and care to support healthy bones. Starting a daily exercise routine, 30 minutes as many days as possible, as recommended by the Surgeon General, is one of the best ways to weave healthy habits into your daily life. 

Anti-Gravity Exercises
exercises - healthy living for strong bones

When working to strengthen aging bones, some of the best exercises require minimal investment. Walking, jogging, and hiking are three ways that your body is working against gravity, and three ways that your bones can strengthen over time. The force that you exert as you lift and lower, move and stretch your legs, is one of the best ways for the body to work within its own limits, to use what is naturally available, in order to become stronger. Similarly, other anti-gravity exercises could be playing tennis, dancing, or climbing stairs. All of these activities, with the exception of tennis, require no financial investment in other objects, like a racquet or a ball. There are dance classes available for all ages, and all stages of dance, in most cities, and dancing on your own, or with the assistance of online videos, is always an option. Finally, climbing stairs, whenever you get the chance, rather than taking the escalator or the elevator, is a direct way you can strengthen your bones. Think about it with each step: my bones are getting stronger. 

Resistance Training
women stretching - healthy living for strong bones

Coupling anti-gravity exercises with resistance exercises is the best combination you could create. Resistance exercisesare essentially strength training and using weights to improve muscles and bones. It essentially uses force to strengthen. Higher weights with shorter repetitions are recommended for younger folks, but as we age, higher weights may not be as feasible for older folks. Newer studies have shown that light weights coupled with a lot of repetitions also work to increase bone density. Noting that osteoporosis most often affects the hips, wrists, and vertebrae in the spine. The hip bones, or pelvis, can be strengthened with leg lifts, squats, lunges (weighted or not), and other types of weighted movement with resistance bands. For wrists, strengthening the ulna and radius, the two bones that are below the elbow, as well as the humerus, can all help the bones in the wrist. Various combinations of bicep and tricep exercises, as well as lateral lifts and even light bench pressing, can help strengthen this part of the body. 

Taking Care of the WholeOverall, while exercise is a vitally important component of bone strength, it should be paired with healthy food and daily supplements to help bones to become as healthy as possible. These exercises can be practiced in small moments of daily life, even at an office or at home, rather than at a gym. Walking, taking the steps, and lifting light weights above the head (even if it’s a book or an object in the office) are ways that you can bring health into everyday practices.

Healthy Living for the Bones: Food and Diet

Did you know that your bones are alive? Every day, our bones are constantly breaking down and building back up. This constant cycle is one of the many ways the body replenishes nutrients, strengthens, and evolves. However, with time, and age, bones tend to break down more than they restrengthen. This breaking down of bones- most often in the wrist, hips, knees, or spine- is known as osteoporosis. There is much to understand about the disease, but more than anything, prevention in the areas of diet and supplements is vitally important for fotralizing the bones and strengthening the body. 

Food for the Bones

Many studies have been done on food that contributes to bone health, but the most important factors come down to calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. Vitamin D strengthens bones by helping the body absorb more calcium and phosphorous, two of the elements your body needs more than most. Calcium and phosphorus are the bone builders. Specifically, phosphorus provides structure to the nucleic acids and cell membranes, which contributes to your body’s energy production. Calcium, on the other hand, mostly resides in the bones and teeth. It helps the body communicate better through its nervous system, as well as strengthens the bones to withstand fractures, or breaking. The two together are better absorbed with extra vitamin D. 

Food Choices for Healthy Bones

When creating a diet that provides key nutrients for the body, it’s important to start with calcium. Dairy products, from cheese to milk, are key sources of calcium. Most cheeses, are the best sources of calcium, with parmesan having the most. Softer cheese have slightly less calcium but still contain substantial amounts. Yogurt, ranging from plain to greek to flavored, also contains high amounts of calcium. If, however, you are dairy-free or lactose intolerance, there are many options that do not fall into the dairy realm.

Seeds, specifically poppy, sesame, celery and chia, all contain significant calcium for bone health, as do the fish bones of salmon and sardines. Believe it or not, eating canned salmon and sardines, because of their edible bones, is a great source of calcium. Certain beans, specifically winged beans, are also great sources, as well as the solid snack food– almonds. In the realm of vegetables, dark leafy greens like collard greens, spinach and kale also contain quantities of calcium which can help reinforce bone health. There are plenty of options, and the key is to incorporate these healthy eating habits into your daily life and choices. 

Additional Support for Strong Bones

Complementing food choices is the option of addition supplements, like Bone Supplement. This combination of minerals and vitamins targets the body specifically, helping to strengthen the bone by providing  more vitamin D to better absorb phosphorus and calcium, those two minerals your body craves the most when it comes to bone health. Remember, bones, though they are steady and strong, are not nearly as solid as we think they are. They are constantly regenerating, and the more ways you can bolster them in their regeneration process, the stronger they will be for years to come. 

Address Bone Health and Osteoporosis Naturally with Japanese Bone Health Complex Natural Formula.