The idiom “Hara-Hachibunme” in Japan means “80% full” as a healthy eating habit. They say You don’t need a doctor if you keep “Hara-Hachibunme.” A similar saying in English will be, “Light suppers make long life.”
Since the 1980s, many countries have been scientifically investigating why “Hara-Hachibunme” is good for your health. This study compares the life expectancy of small animals such as rats between a group that eats a limited amount of food and a group that eats as much as it pleases.
For example, in one study conducted in Japan, the average lifespan of mice fed all-you-can-eat was 74 weeks, while that of mice restricted to 80% of their diet was 122 weeks, more than 1.6 times longer. (*1).
Since then, various studies have confirmed that the “Hara-Hachibunme,” constant restricted eating, can slow cellular aging. They point out that 80% of the stomach is effective in preventing cancer caused by dysfunction of cells, vascular disorders caused by arteriosclerosis (high blood pressure, stroke, myocardial infarction, etc.), and many lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes.
An American study on monkeys, which are more similar to humans, reported that a 30% calorie restriction (at the 7th minute of the abdomen) improved body fat, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, triglyceride levels, etc.
The same benefit for human
So, does the benefit of “Hara-Hachibunme” apply to humans? There is an interesting report about this.
Since 1991, in the United States, a survival experiment has been carried out in which eight researchers live a self-sufficient life in a dome called Biosphere 2. Initially, it was an investigation related to space development, premised on living in an artificial environment called a dome when humans migrate to a planet other than Earth.
This experiment failed in its original purpose, but on the other hand, there was an unexpected by-product, regarding restricted eating.
The low harvesting yield in the dome limited the researchers’ diet by 25% less than their planned meals. The daily energy intake was about 1800kcal. As a result, not only did they lose weight, but almost all values related to lifestyle-related diseases, such as blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure, also decreased.
Restricted eating extend your life expectancy as well as your healthy life expectancy.
In this way, they found from monkey studies and reports in Biosphere 2 that “Hara-Hachibunme” (restricted eating) may extend not only life expectancy but also healthy life expectancy (healthy period without disease). (*2).
(*2) Professor Emeritus Roy Walford of the University of California, who participated in the Biosphere 2 project, later focused on the relationship between calorie restriction and health and proposed a diet menu that would prevent malnutrition even with calorie restriction, etc.
Do you know the term “Umami“? It is from a Japanese term, meaning the taste element to add or deepen tastefulness in foods. If you know it from brand names like “Umami burger”, you may not have a healthy impression about it. Apart from such a commercial utilization, though, it is actually a key to reduce your calories. It adds thickness and tastefulness to your dishes without oil, sugar nor salt.
Umami is an independent basic taste
We have traditionally known 4 basic tastes, sweetness, saltiness, bitterness and sourness.
Japanese people have traditionally used “dashi”, some food extracts to add or amplify tastefulness in their cooking. The essence of dashi is Umami and it is actually the 5th basic element.
How Japanese people use “dashi”?
3 major dashi (umami extract) bases in Japan are konbu seaweed, dried bonito shavings and dried shiitake mushroom. The usage is simple. For example; They put some dried bonito shavings in to boiled water for a minute or two. Then they take out the residue after the extraction. They cook miso soup with this hot water. Miso, fermented soy paste, has nice taste and flavor on it’s own. But the dashi will deepen and organize the whole taste of the miso soup.
How scientists found it as actual substances and an independent basic taste?
Japanese scientists found umami as actual substances in the major dashi bases in the early 20th century. Glutamic acid from konbu seaweed, isonic acid from dried bonito shavings and gualynic acid from konbu seaweed.
They considered it as an independent taste element beside other basic ones like saltiness, sweetness, etc. But Western scholars didn’t believe it. According to their thought then, it was merely the tastefulness by the complex of other basic taste elements.
In 2002, they found the receptor of umami on human tong. It is a common recognition now that umami is the fifth basic taste element after saltiness, sweetness, sourness and bitterness.
How can you reduce your calories with umami?
They found it from the Japanese “dashi” culture. But Western foods also has their own umami bases, like fond or broth.
It may be hard for you to try new tastes from a foreign dietary culture. It will be easy for you to utilize vegetable broth and reduce sugar, salt and oil.
But not only the foods, they traditionally have healthy dietary habits and tips. The following tips work as natural appetite suppressants and you can take them into your life easily. Try them from today!
Hara-Hachibunme This Japanese term means that you stop eating when your appetite is satisfied by 80%. Stop eating when your appetite is eased before you feel full and wait for a while. It will take about 20 minutes before the taken food satisfies your satiety center. If you still need more food after that, take a little more. If you habitually always take food up to the maximum, you will learn that you can be satisfied with less food. As an extra benefit of such a new habit, you can be more active without suffering from the glut.
Take more water as a beverage or soup to fill your stomach with less food. It will provide you the same effect as Hara-Hachibunme without the intensional patience. Is water a natural appetite suppressant? Yes!
Take various dishes on small plates, and take them alternately, little by little. It Take various dishes on small plates, and take them alternately, little by little. It will satisfy your satiety center with less food by taking time, dietary fiber, and water in the middle. It will also help your health by taking balanced nutrients from the various foods.
Take foods containing much dietary fiber at first. It will slow your digestion and moderate appetite and blood sugar spike. Vegetables, mushrooms, beans, etc., will be good.
Use less cooking oil and sugar. Dashi will help your dish taste better and satisfy the eaters with less cooking oil and sugar. Dashi is an “Umami” extract. Umami is already an English term for elements of taste like bitterness, sweetness, or sourness, which makes you feel tasty.
All these dietary habits are easy for you to take into your life and work as natural appetite suppressants. I like to stress here that you should do them gradually to the extent you can try without stress. The most important thing is to make them your natural habit instead of chasing the benefits in the short term.
I watched a TV program in Japan for health, where a researcher of fermented food advised a woman to take a bit of fermented food every meal for one week. She had a problem with her bowel movement, and it led to her skin problems. After the week of the trial, she got a significant improvement. She was excited about the excellent condition of her skin. The fermented food she tried in that trial were yogurt, wed kimchi, miso soup, natto, fermented rice, onion, etc.
Umami is global, flavor is local
Maybe you can try. They are some of the best options. But there is a problem. Dr. Fushiki of the University of Kyoto, a famous scholar for fermented food, says, “Umami (savoriness) is global, but the flavor is local.” Fermentation generates rich umami in food in most cases, but it usually accompanies a specific flavor, which often smells and tastes odd to people from other dietary cultures.
For example, as an ultimate example, most Japanese love natto (fermented soy with bacillus natto), but most people other than the Japanese will think of is “rotten” by its gooey outlooking and probably stinky smell. Even such Japanese people can’t eat the “surstromming” of Sweden. (It’s a fermented canned fish called “the world’s most stinking canned food.”)
Those 2 are ultimate examples, but any fermented food presents the same challenge more or less to people from different dietary cultures.
Start with your familiar flavor
But, it will be better that you keep a healthy diet with less challenge than trying something too special and can’t continue. It will be good for you to take your familiar fermented food every day, even by a little.
Yogurt is already popular in the USA. You may not see wine as a fermented food, but it’s a fermented grape extract. Wine has rich polyphenols as the following; (1) From the skin: Anthocyanin, Resveratrol, Tannin (2) From the pulp: Anthocyanin (3) From the seed: proanthocyanin, tannin, quercetin, catechin Some people may be happy to find that wine makes you healthy as well as feeling good! But, you can have too much of a good thing. Be careful to drink it just for your health, and never drink too much.
“I am at my fourth month of trial. I suffered a fracture of the femur last year, had a hip replacement and am still monitored with x-rays every few months. There appears to be new bone growth according to my doctor. I am happy and will continue using it.”
What makes it unique?
What makes this product unique is β-Cryptoxanthin. It’s a kind of carotenoid richly contained in Satsuma Mandarin Orange. Satsuma mandarin orange is one of the most popular table fruits in Japan. This is never be a medicine but only a natural treatment for osteoporosis with a natural fruit. It’s only a fruits extract. But clinical reports back its solid support for your bone health.
This report shows the way how β-Cryptoxanthin works as a natural treatment for osteoporosis. It activates the osteoblast and restrains the osteoclast’s work. Then it boosts your bone metabolism. This is the system how these functions happen and researchers found it through in-vitro studies. They also conducted human studies. They saw the actual improvement of human’s bone metabolism depending on the intake of this vitamin.
This is only a natural food and helps your bone.
You may not have heard of β-Cryptoxanthin and may be wary about it. But, as a matter of fact, it is only one kind of carotenoid. The actually used ingredient in the supplement is only an extract of Satsuma mandarin orange. It is rich in β-Cryptoxanthin. Satsuma mandarin orange is called “Mikan” in Japanese. Mikan is one of the most popular fruits in Japan. Most Japanese people eat a lot of Mikan in winter.
People in the region to plant a lot of Mikan eat even larger volume of it. A Japanese agriculture institute found the apparent correlation between the blood β-Cryptoxanthin concentration and the onset risk of osteoporosis there by a cohort study to track 700 women for 4 years there.
“I have severe hot flashes for the past 7 years. After watching Dr Melissa YouTube video, I’ve been taking this product plus other supplements (Milk Thistle, Iodoral) and it completely took my hot flashes away. (Nothing else worked for me.). I’ve been using this product for over a year. I ran out of it and the hot flashes returned. I recommend watching Dr Melissa YouTube video it was a life changer for me.”
We also receive some negative feedbacks claiming that a few weeks or even a few days dosage doesn’t help them. We always explain to such customers by saying they need more patients with continual taking, and the duration before they see certain effects will vary depending on individuals.
The Concept of Oriental Medicine
The above explanation may sound obsolete to you. You might have already heard the same from a lot of supplement brands.
But such notices, “It may take time” and “The duration before you feel certain effects will vary depending on individuals” are never define the supplement as weaker versions of medicines for us. They are rather the key concepts of the basic of Juveriente’s supplements, Oriental Medicine.
The standard, or modern medicine, which we call Western medicine hereafter, specifies the deceased part and remove it or fix it directly. Drugs for it are often made of a single chemical.
But the idea of Oriental medicine is totally different. It will pursue the root cause of decease in the disorder or imbalance of your daily life and health. It may be in your imbalanced diet, a disorder of your discharging like sweat or bowel movement, or a disorder of circulation and metabolism.
Then it will aim the recovery of such imbalances sometimes with a little help of herbal medicines or acupuncture and moxibustion, and mainly through daily diet.
Such indirect treatment will not remove the problem immediately. “It may take time” and “The duration before you feel certain effects will vary depending on individuals”
But surely safe, and it addresses the root cause of the problem and provides you sustainable help.
(Of course, there are a lot of cases that such mild oriental medicine is not enough. We will discuss it in our next post.)
Japanese Diet and Oriental Medicine
“Medicine” meant Chinese traditional medicine in Japan in most of its long history (about 1,500 years) and it was simply called “Medicine”.
Japanese first modern government, which replaced the last and long lasted Samurai government in the late 19 century, adopted modern medicine imported from the Western countries as the official medicine.
Since then, Japanese people call modern Medicine Western Medicine, or only Medicine, and their former standard medicine Oriental medicine or Kanpo.
Regardless of this historical major change of their public policy, Oriental medicine is deeply rooted in their culture and daily life. Even doctors of Western medicine sometimes recommend Oriental medicine treatments to their patients.
Its idea is also rooted in the Japanese diet and makes it healthy. It never is their principle idea that a specific food provides them a particular health effect. Each food has various and general health effects, and good health needs multiple and diverse foods.
But there are surely various foods which help your health in some specific problems. We, Juveriente focused on some of them, which have back data and great performances in Japan, made them into supplements, and introduced them to the world.
Thus, the concept of Juveriente supplements is an extension of Oriental medicine. “It may take time” and “The duration before you feel certain effects will vary depending on individuals” “But surely safe, and it addresses the root cause of the problem and provides you sustainable help.”
Sake brewing passes through complicated processes. The sake master (Toji) needs to take care of each point in a delicate manner. It requires high expertise and continuous carefulness all through the processes.
I try to explain to you the key points of such a complicated brewing. It may be interesting but maybe somehow lengthy for you. You don’t need to read it through if you don’t have time or are not interested in such details.
The summary and the most important thing to know is that such complication enables Toji to make up the premium sake’s delicate taste and flavor without leaning on a fortune called “great vintage,” but only on his expertise and technique.
On the other hand, it also means sake sometimes falls into a terrible quality if the brewer neglects such carefulness to save operation costs.
If you are new to Japanese sake and enter the world of beautiful sake’s art, we commend you to start with brands already known to have premium quality like SOTO or Dassai.
Lack of temperature management in international logistics often damages even sakes, which are considered great in Japan, their origin country. Still, these two brands are brought to you even in Western countries under their careful temperature control.
It will be a tragedy if you try a terrible sake at first and walk away from the potential valuable experience without knowing the real beauty of sake.
Anyway, if you have a little time and be interested in the venture of the sake world, continue to the following.
By the way, what is so complicated, and how a Toji (sake master) manages it with his expertise and techniques?
The points we explained in our previous post are as the followings.
Yeast ( microorganism) derive enzymes and take energy by resolving sugar with them. Yeast discharges alcohol (ethanol) and carbon dioxide. This is the basic process of alcohol fermentation.
In the case of Japanese Sake; They plant Koji mold on steamed rice. It is called “Koji,” and Koji’s enzymes will resolve the rice starch into sugar. In the same tank where this reaction happens, sake yeast will resolve this sugar and make the alcohol fermentation.
The actual works and phenomenon to reflect the above principle in the actual brewing is the following.
To input the raw materials for the saccharification fermentation (fermentation to turn starches into sugars) (We call the following all together “ingredient set” hereafter.)
KOJI (STEAMED RICE COVERED WITH KOJI MOLD)
The ingredient set turns the rice starch into sugar.
The sake yeast causes alcohol fermentation when it eats this sugar and derives alcohol (ethanol).
What are the challenges?
The subjects to handle in this procedure are live microorganisms. The reactions vary every time. Also, the two different lively responses will weave a far complicated and unforeseeable flow. Even the right set of brewing conditions will never guarantee the right product. Toji, the sake master, observe the liquid surface and add delicate adjustments in need based on his expertise and technique.
The things you should know to understand the sake brewing’s critical points
The alcohol fermentation does not happen in a bio clean room. (Probably technically possible, but impractical in terms of the cost.) It means the liquid where the alcohol fermentation is ongoing always contact outside air, where numerous kinds of unwanted bacterias including wild yeast exist. The contamination can happen anytime.
They nurture only the target microorganism, sake yeast, with the following methods.
To make the environment where only sake-yeast can survive or keep its activity over other bacterias. Sake-yeast is endurable under high acidity and low temperature, where most of the others stop their activity and multiplication. (Once the sake yeast becomes predominant, it keeps its surrounding highly acidic on its own by deriving lactic acid and carbon dioxide.)
To keep sake-yeast predominant. Besides its keeping the acidity, the predominant sake yeast will eat up the feed, sugar, and leave no room for survival for the other bacterias.
The two critical control points to brew good sake
As explained above, it is necessary to eliminate the room for unwanted miscellaneous bacterias and wild yeast for safety and to avoid unpleasant taste and flavor.
Keeping the low temperature is not important only to prevent unwanted bacterias, but it keeps the alcohol fermentation active to the longest extent. A too rapid increase in alcohol will stop the yeast’s activity. The greater extent of the alcohol fermentation will resolve the rice starch as much as possible and make the taste of sake clean. It is also known that we can generate the premium sake flavor only in low-temperature fermentation.
What they actually do in their operations and managements
To implement the above conditions, the main thing that Toji, the sake master, does is to balance the saccharification (starch-to-sugar fermentation) and the alcohol fermentation in their speeds.
Multiple Factors To Complicate The Temperature Control
The following multiple factors always fluctuate, respectively, and change and require the best expertise of Toji, the brewing master.
The initial temperature of the liquid in the tank
The temperatures of the input steamed rice, water, and koji.
Heat generation by the fermentation’s progress
The alcohol fermentation will generate and increase the heat with its progression. It will make the temperature distribution uneven and hard to measure the temperature condition only with a thermometer.
Toji uses thermometers but makes his judgments at every critical point, eventually based on the traditional method. He finds what he should do by observing the liquid surface with full of his five senses.
Three Steps Input
As one of the principal methods, they input the ingredient set little by three times. It is called “three steps input.” When they input a portion of the ingredient set, it will dilute the yeast concentration and the tank’s acidity. Too much input will make them too low and give unwanted bacterias the room for multiplication.
Narrow Target of the saccharification speed / never too fast and never too slow.
They need to secure the right rice saccharification speed to keep up the yeast’s activity by providing enough sugar, the feed, on-demand. On the other hand, too much sugar by too fast saccharification will accelerate the yeast’s alcohol fermentation too much. It will make the alcohol percentage of the yeast’s surroundings too high and eventually prevent its own activity halfway. Otherwise, higher sugar concentration will also prevent the yeast’s activity.
The followings are the major factors to affect the saccharification speed.
The way Koji mold is rooted in steamed rice. The saccharification power is strong when it’s rooted deep inside the rice.
Softness/stiffness of steamed rice (= moisture content). Both smooth melting and not-too-fast are required.
Higher temperatures will encourage faster saccharification.
Such temperature control will directly affect the saccharification and the alcohol fermentation, as explained earlier.
Many other critical points affect the above matters in other processes like rice grinding, rice steaming, etc. They also require fine expertise in detail. We don’t write about them here, but you already know how sake brewing needs the expertise of sake masters and careful control.
In such a way, beautiful sake is made beautiful. Try a premium sake with such careful brewing and, don’t forget, shipped with careful temperature control.
P.S. How they make the yeast predominant at the start?
I explained that they need to keep up the high concentration of sake yeast in the fermentation tank. By the way, who do they start it? Do they purchase a liquid full of cultivated yeast? No. It was impossible in pre-modern while sake brewing procedure was already established.
The answer is that they do a similar fermentation in a tiny tank with a small volume before going to a big tank. This process’s main purpose is not alcohol fermentation (though it arises as a result) but the cultivation of the sake yeast. It’s much easier to control the environment in a small tank.
The sake yeast is not predominant here at the start. So they raise the acidity by lactic acid secreted by lactobacillus. The high acidity will prevent unwanted bacterias from multiplying, and the protected yeast increases. The sake yeast will generate alcohol through its multiplying (= alcohol fermentation). The heightened alcohol percentage will kill the lactobacillus, and eventually, only the sake yeast remains predominant.
This starting liquid is called “Shubo,” which means sake’s mother liquor. They carry the mother liquor into the main fermentation tank and add the ingredient set by the “3 steps input,” as explained above.
Japanese sake, one of the fastest-growing alcohol categories
One of my favorite Japanese sake brands, announced its partnership with one of the most famous female tennis players, Naomi Osaka, recently an icon of her generation. According to their news release, Japanese sake has been one of the fastest-growing alcohol categories in North America over the last decade and be expected to expand by a further 51% by 2022.
We, Juveriente, know something about Japanese sake as the brand from Japan, which is dealing with fermented food material (AglyMax® for Effisoy®). We would like to make some simple explanations about the art of Japanese sake, the complicated craftsmanship nurtured through Japanese history as the following.
Like you take energy from foods through the decomposition in your guts, a microorganism called “yeast” decomposes sugars and take energy from there. Of course, yeast doesn’t have intestines. It secretes enzymes and decomposes sugars outside of its body. This procedure derives alcohol and dioxide as the byproducts.
Except for some minor cases of the industrial application, alcohol is not something we synthesize chemically. But it is a discharge of the bio action (it is called “metabolism”) of microorganisms called yeast. It is called “fermentation” that microorganisms decompose their “feed” and turn it into another substance due to their metabolism. (Just for your reference, it is a phenomenon called “rotting” when the outcome is harmful against humans. The line parting fermentation and rotting is whether the outcome is useful for humans or not. )
Simple Fermentation (Wine)
The simplest way to brew alcohol is hat you feed sugars to yeast.
Grapes are the richest in sugar (glucose) among major fruits and a lot of yeasts exist on the skin of grapes. If you crush a grape and leave it, it will naturally turn into an alcoholic beverage. It is wine.
We found a relic of this simplest brewing method of an alcoholic beverage in a 6,200 years old Greek remain.
The human has improved it and added various fine-tunings in the long history, but yet the simple basic routine is the same even nowadays. We call it “Simple Fermentation” because we can make liquor with a single fermentation. (Though it’s quite simple, we don’t recommend you to brew a homemade wine. Unwanted bacteria may thrive over yeasts and rot the liquid if without the right expertise. )
Multiple Sequential Fermentation (Beer)
When you keep chewing starchy foods like bread, it will gradually turn sweet. It’s because the enzymes in your saliva will decompose the starch and turn it into sugar, glucose. Sprouted grains have similar enzymes and they turn their starch inside into sugar (maltose). We utilize this sugar and brew beer.
To turn the starch contained in wheat into sugar and make a wheat juice, called wort, rich in sugar (maltose).
To ferment the sugar in the wort and turn it into alcohol
The above “1” is also a kind of fermentation. This method combines these two fermentations in turn and we call it “Multiple Sequential Fermentation”.
According to the latest study by a Japanese beer brewer, ancient Egyptians of 5,000 years ago already did it industrially.
Multiple Parallel Fermentation (Japanese Sake)
Now we talk about the most complicated brewing method. Japanese sake.
We cause the two fermentations in turn, from starch to sugar, and from sugar to alcohol, in the brewing of beer. But we cause those two different bio reactions simultaneously in one tank when we brew Japanese sake. We call it “Multiple Parallel Fermentation.”
We use stuff similar to malt (sprouted wheat). It is a molded rice, with a particular mold for sake brewing, sorted and purely cultured through the long history of Japanese sake. The mold is called “Koji mold.” It secretes enzymes to decompose starch in the rice. The rice with Koji mold is called “Koji.”
The most significant benefit of the multiple parallel fermentation is that we can keep the yeast’s feed (sugar) at the appropriate level, in line with the yeast’s activity. Yeast’s alcohol fermentation can’t last when its meal (sugar) is short. But if we provide too much sugar at once and make the sugar content too high, the microorganism, yeast, can’t survive it.
Microbial Transition Control Established in the Premodern History
In the multiple parallel fermentation, we put the rice and Koji (fuels of the fermentation from starch to sugar) into the tank by multiple (usually three) times separately. The starch-to-sugar fermentation happens at an appropriate pace. It will enable the ideal speed and duration of the alcohol fermentation, which is happening in the same tank. For example, a long term low-temperature fermentation will contribute to the flowery flavor and clear taste of premium sake.
We say here that we control the yeast’s activity. But, it is not an easy matter like the operation of a machine. Fermentation is not an act of a production machine, but an activity of a creature. Setting the same one fermentation condition set will never guarantee the same one result. So even a single fermentation requires close and delicate care to attain a target quality of the outcome. When 2 of such unforeseeable phenomena are combined, the management will get more difficult exponentially.
Japanese breweries established most of the above methods by the 13th century and, their craftsmanship has made it more and more sophisticated through their long history since then. There was no modern measuring equipment and, nobody knew about microorganisms, but the sake craftsmen, called “TOJI”, watched and managed the ultimately complicated microorganism activities by full of their senses and created beautiful tastes and flavors. It is already an art, rather than merely an operation.
Nowadays they have all the modern kinds of equipment and good knowledge of microorganisms, but the best sake quality still requires TOJI’s expertise and delicate care in detail.
More Modern Technologies In The Premodern, Developed With Japanese Sake
Besides the above mentioned microbial transition control, there are two other modern technologies from their premodern history, which also show the profoundness of Japanese sake.
They developed the pasteurization already in the 16th century, 300 years prior to Pasteur. Pasteurization was named after Pasteur!!) It prevailed in the Japanese sake industry since then.
They don’t take mother Koji mold to plant on the rice to make Koji from the atmosphere. The brewers purchase the purely cultured mother mold. It sounds natural in the modern age. But when did they start to buy the cultured mold? There were already suppliers to culture the mother Koji mold in the 13th century, the time of crusaders! It would be the oldest bio-business in the world.
P.S. About Distilled Beverages (Whisky, Vodka, and many other high alcohol liquors)
You may think there are many other alcoholic beverages like whisky or vodka, even beside wine, beer, and Japanese sake mentioned above.
The above three are generally classified as “Fermented Liquor” because we drink them basically with no further processing after the above fermentations.
Others, high alcohol liquors, like whisky or vodka, are the kinds that we add further processing to either of the fermentation methods explained above to achieve higher alcohol concentration. We classify them as “Distilled Liquor” vs. “Fermented Liquor,” and I didn’t list it beside the above three.
I explain you the operation method of the distilled liquor just simply here.
The boiling point of the water is 100°C (212°F) and alcohol (ethanol) is 78.3°C (172.94°F). Generally, they boil a fermented liquor roughly at 70°C (158°F) to 80°C (176°F). If they take the steam and cool it down to a liquid, they can take a higher concentration of the alcohol.
They repeat it a few times to get further high alcohol for some kinds of liquors. But more distillation will impair the original taste and flavor. Thus they age the distilled liquor to add taste, flavor, and color afterward, for some kind. For example, whisky is aged and add up the flavor and the color from the barrel.
It explains why fermented foods have unique, or odd, flavors (or smells.)
According to Dr.Fushiki of Kyoto University, “Umami is global, but the flavor is local.” It means, umami is a good taste for people from any culture, but the flavor preference is something nurtured in each culture. Natto looks and smells weird to non-Japanese people. But it is something to stimulate appetite for most Japanese people, except for some regions.
On the other hand, most of them couldn’t eat cheese and yogurt in the past. Nowadays, western foods are prevalent in contemporary Japan, and they love those western fermented foods. Yes, once the “odd” flavor becomes familiar by habituation, the umami will steal their heart.
Fermentation resolves foods out to lower molecular.
The other description to keep in your mind is that fermentation will resolve foods out to lower molecular. Let’s take a look at isoflavone. Isoflavones in standard isoflavone supplements contain sugar, and it makes the molecular too big. We can’t absorb it before removing it in our guts. But fewer people have an intestinal environment to do it. Isoflavones from fermented soybeans are small and absorbable enough for anybody. Effisoy® is the only supplement to contain such isoflavone in the USA.
Three microorganisms to cause fermentation.
We have three types of microorganisms that turn foods more healthy and tasty—yeast, mold, and bacteria.
Wine is one of the oldest fermented foods in history. There is a winery in the remain of 6,100 years ago in Mesopotamia. In this ancient (and also contemporary) fermentation, yeast transforms the sugar of grape into alcohol. It is rather simple.
Fermented milk like yogurt and cheese is one of the oldest fermented foods, too. A bacteria called lactobacillus transforms milk into yogurt, and mold turns it into cheese.
These are rather simple fermentations by a single type of microorganism. The human developed more complicated fermentations.
It is common in East Asia to turn starches into sugar by molds called “koji” in Japanese and further transform it into alcohol by yeast. Japanese sake breweries convert the rice starch into sugar by koji mold and simultaneously turn the sugar into alcohol by yeast and lactobacillus. The more complicated process will require more complicated craftsmanship and create a wide variation of the taste and flavor, and rich nutrients.
Why many fermented soybeans in Japan?
Most Japanese people avoided meat in most of their long history for their religious reason, and it nurtured their unique dietary culture to place soy as one of their primary sources of protein. (Refer “Healthy Japanese Food“)
On the other hand, Japan has also nurtured the rich dietary culture of fermented foods in their humid climate. These two features interacted with each other and created their super healthy food materials, fermented soybeans, as miso, natto, and soy sauce, as their staples.
About Koji Mold: For your better understanding of fermented soybean foods
Japanese fermented soybean foods manufacturers plant molds grouped as “koji mold” on grains like rice, barley, or beans. These molded grains are called “koji” and they start the fermentation process by putting koji.
Koji plays mainly two roles.
(1) Molds on the koji generate enzymes, and the enzymes resolve the protein, fat, or starch of the primary materials and bring alcohol, umami ingredients, flavors, etc.
(2) The koji mold transforms the grain starch into sugar, etc., and it plays a significant role even in the final product’s taste and flavor profile.
Miso, Natto, Soy Sauce: The Differences and health benefits
Miso’s production method
They will add koji by rice, barley, or beans into steamed soy with salt. The added salt and the sugar resolved from the grain will kill unnecessary microorganisms. The enzymes from the koji work initially, but koji mold extinguishes under the very salty environment. Then multiple salt-tolerant yeast and lactic acid succeed in the leading roles.
Salt concentration affects the activities of these various microorganisms, fermentation speed, and which one works strong or weak. Salt management is one of the crucial points in their craftsmanship.
Miso’s Health Benefits
Raw soybean is already rich in nutrients, even without fermentation. The fermentation will make it more nutritious, adding various amino acids and vitamins, and make them easier for digestion.
We, Juveriente®, focus on the improved isoflavone of fermented soybean and introduce it by EFFISOY®, our natural menopause supplement.
Soy sauce’s production method
They make koji by soy and wheat together and then add saltwater to make something called “moromi.” They ferment moromi into Soy Sauce.
The salt will prevent unwanted microorganisms’ contamination while it makes the base taste of soy sauce as a seasoning. It will also work to keep the activity of the yeast and lactobacillus slow for the better taste. Salt management is delicate and essential here, too.
Soy sauce’s health benefits
Soy sauce is also rich in various nutrients like miso, by its complicated fermentation of soy and wheat. But, it is just seasoning and very salty. You can’t take much, and the practical health benefit will be limited.
But it adds an excellent taste to foods and entices your appetite.
Natto’s production method
Natto’s production method is much simpler than other fermented soybeans above. They soak soy in water and boil it to make it soft. Then they add natto bacteria and keep it warm for fermentation.
While the fermentation duration of miso and soy sauce varies from 6 months to 2 years, it is only about one day for natto, and only by a single microorganism, natto bacteria.
They manage the contamination of unwanted microorganisms and the fermentation speed by the delicate salt concentration control for miso and soy sauce. Still, they kill unwanted organisms only by boiling for natto.
Natto’s health benefits
While Natto’s production method is much simpler than its siblings, it has plentiful health benefits.
Nattokinase is already famous in the dietary supplements market. It is known to have an anti-thrombosis effect.
It’s rich in Vitamin K2, and it helps bone health.
Natto bacteria will activate and support the multiplication of lactobacillus in a gut. Besides, natto bacteria is thermal durable and can reach the intestine alive.
The primary material of the stickiness, polyglutamic acid, will restrain the surge of blood glucose levels after meals.
The fermentation removes the sugar from soy. It makes the isoflavone absorbable by anybody, as mentioned above. Is it the same in natto? Unfortunately, the answer is “NO.” According to Nichimo Biotics, the manufacturer of AglyMax®, a fermented soybean germ and Effisoy®’s main key functional ingredient, the fermentation of natto is too short and doesn’t remove the sugar.
How to take the benefits of the Japanese fermented soybean foods
As we have already discussed, fermented foods have their unique flavors, and they may be odd to people from other dietary cultures. Even if you overcome it by tireless (?) effort, it won’t be easy to find high-quality products in your country, where those foods are not common. Do you even get it over by your homemade?
It will be possible, but the standard solution will be dietary supplements.
Here are some recommendations for you.
A casual natto experience with reasonable price
Multiple enzymes complex including nattokinase
The only supplement you can take isoflavones from fermented soy
Attention: Effisoy® is only US$35/unit in the Juveriente® shop.(for multiple units per shipping in the USA, except for Hawaii and Alaska)
What makes such vast differences? Can western women take the same effect with Japanese women through something?
Attention: We are curating information from various credible websites here. But we are never in a position to determine anything medical about them. Please consult with a doctor when you utilize any info on this page for your actual health.
Breast Cancer Rates and Soy Foods / Researches by Harvard Univ. and Oregon State University
While there may be a complex of reasons for the above, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health introduces a study, which suggested a lower risk of breast cancer and lower risk of breast cancer recurrence by taking more soy foods, in their web page, “Straight Talk About Soy.”
Both web pages also introduce a mixed extent of benefits depending on individuals and Asian women vs. Western women. There are some analysis and guess of the reason. The hint maybe in the studies of the National Cancer Center of Japan, the country of soy diet.
Reverse correlation of breast cancer rates and fermented soy foods diet
A group of researchers from the National Cancer Center of Japan, too, conducted a large cohort study by following 20,000 women, aged 44-59, for ten years. The study aimed to find a correlation between the consumption of soy-based foods and the risk of breast cancer. They found a less reverse correlation in the diet of non-fermented soy foods, but the significant reverse correlation in the diet of fermented soy food, miso soup.
(The report summary in Japanese is here, and the English translation by Google Translate is here. )
While they don’t pursue any conclusions about the difference between the fermented soy and non-fermented soy, one intriguing matter is that they mention the “protection effect by isoflavone” as common sense. Isoflavone is a phytoestrogen but has almost 1/1,000 – 1/10,000 power of estrogen. When such a mild phytoestrogen sticks to estrogen receptors, it will protect them from too much stimulation by estrogen. This notion already prevalent in Japan, even among ordinary people.
Fermented vs non-fermented soy
Juveriente®’s natural menopause supplement, Effisoy®, is featured with fermented soybean germ extract, named AglyMax®. The supplier of AglyMax, Nichimo Biotic, did various clinical researches about their fermented soy extract. They are regarding menopausal relief and never intended to link it to breast cancer matters. Still they give us some hints and suggestions about the discussions above, why some women receive benefits of soy against breast cancer, and why fermented soy diet has far more significant reverse correlation with breast cancer onset ratio. (Some of their knowledge is summarized here.)
Traditional healthy food for Japanese, soy
Medical matters are too complicated to make any conclusions from limited information. One thing sure is that soy foods, both fermented and non-fermented, have always been staples in Japan and have provided health benefits to Japanese people over hundreds of years.
Take the benefits of Japanese healthy diet
Know how Japanese women are healthy.
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