The Art of Japanese Sake 2 (Take a look inside the sake master’s world.)

Why we say “The Art of Sake”?

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. 

The Basics of Sake Brewing

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  1. To input the raw materials for the saccharification fermentation (fermentation to turn starches into sugars) (We call the following all together “ingredient set” hereafter.)
    1. WATER
    2. STEAMED RICE
    3. KOJI (STEAMED RICE COVERED WITH KOJI MOLD)

  2. The ingredient set turns the rice starch into sugar.

    The sake yeast causes alcohol fermentation when it eats this sugar and derives alcohol (ethanol).

 

Japanese sake brewing

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

  1. 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.

  2. They nurture only the target microorganism, sake yeast, with the following methods.
    1. 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.)

       

    2. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  1. The initial temperature of the liquid in the tank

  2. The temperatures of the input steamed rice, water, and koji.

  3. Heat generation by the fermentation’s progress

  4. 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.  

Saccharification paces

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The followings are the major factors to affect the saccharification speed.

  1. The way Koji mold is rooted in steamed rice. The saccharification power is strong when it’s rooted deep inside the rice.

  2. Softness/stiffness of steamed rice (= moisture content). Both smooth melting and not-too-fast are required.

  3. Higher temperatures will encourage faster saccharification.

Such temperature control will directly affect the saccharification and the alcohol fermentation, as explained earlier. 

Saccharification Speed Elements

Summery

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. 

The Art of Japanese Sake / How its delicate taste and flavor are brewed

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.

How to make alcoholic beverages?

How we can make alcoholic beverages?

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.

(C)2020 J-FIT Co. Ltd.

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.

  1. To turn the starch contained in wheat into sugar and make a wheat juice, called wort, rich in sugar (maltose).
  2. 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.

(c) 2020 J-FIT Co.Ltd.

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.”

(c) 2020 J-FIT Co.Ltd.

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.

A traditional sake brewery house / photo by RnDmS, iStock by Getty Images

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.

If you like to know further details about Japnese sake, proceed to the next post, “Take a look inside the sake master’s 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.

A distiller. The steam with high alcohol concentration goes up through the upper tube and be liquidated.

Fermented Soybeans / Variations and Health Benefits

Fermented soybeans are staples in Japan, and they account for a significant part of the healthy Japanese diet. Natto, miso, soy sauce. Can we take the same health benefit in the Western world?

Let’s dig into the basics of the fermented foods and fermented soybeans.

The difference between fermentation and rotting

Microorganisms transform foods into different forms. If the new characteristics are useful for humans, it is fermentation. Otherwise, it’s rotting. The border is simply “whether it is useful for human or not.”

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?

Soy Consumption by country
Soy consumption as a food per capita is outstanding in Japan, far above all other countries.

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

koji for fermentation
Mixing a koji and soy paste

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

miso brewery
A traditional miso brewery building

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 and rice
Rice with natto is one of the popular dishes in Japan.

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.

Natto’s isoflavone

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



Buy Effisoy from Juveriente Online ShopAttention: Effisoy® is only US$35/unit in the Juveriente® shop. (for multiple units per shipping in the USA, except for Hawaii and Alaska)

Learn more about Effisoy®.

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 Breast Cancer Rates and Fermented Soy Foods

Breast cancer rates are far different between USA and Japan.

Breast cancer rates are far different between the USA and Japan, according to a report by researchers from the National Cancer Center of Japan.

 

Breast Cancer Incidence Rate Comparison US/Japan
This image was copied from JMAJ 52(1): 39–44, 2009 by Kumiko SAIKA and Tomotaka SOBUE.
Breast Cancer Mortality Rate US Japan
This image was copied from JMAJ 52(1): 39–44, 2009 by Kumiko SAIKA and Tomotaka SOBUE.

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

Soy FoodsWhile 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.”

Oregon state university also introduces the same study.  (Refer these web pages for further details.)

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

Miso Soup Research - JuverienteA 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.

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Total Anti-Aging Benefits of Effisoy®

The reasons why you should take Effisoy® continuously in the long run

Hello!

Maybe you recognize our Effisoy® only as a natural menopause supplement to mitigate hot flash and night sweats. But, its key ingredient, AglyMax®, has multiple anti-aging benefits by balancing waned hormone precursor (DHEA) naturally.

old lady is depress because of her anti aging treatment

It is not only for unpleasant menopause symptoms improvement, but will also help your healthy life in various aspects. There are many reasons that you take Effisoy® continuously in the long run.

  • Menopause Relief from;
    Hot Flash
    Night Sweats
    Insomnia
    Osteoporosis
    Weight gain, etc.

  • Anti Aging Benefits like;
    Fatigue mitigation
    Recovery of lost muscle by age (= recovery of metabolism) (= weight management)

  • It has high Antioxidant Capacity (the following is from a leaflet by the manufacturer of AglyMax®.)
AglyMax® has multiple anti-aging benefits

We are introducing the health benefits of Miso soup in the Effisoy®’s product page, and Effisoy® will bring you the essence of that traditional Japanese diet. Try it now, and continuously!

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The Evolution Of Japanese Cuisine

The food history of humans is one of the lenses through which to view the evolution of culture, creativity, and health. Food history is typically broken down into three patterns: famine, sufficiency, and abundance. In modern times, most of us live in a world of abundance, if not over-abundance. Lifestyle-related diseases, like Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease, have developed in many countries due to changes in how we live, how active we are, and what we eat. When it comes to the things we put in our body, natural supplements like Effisoy are part of this philosophy: our bodies respond to what we ingest. This philosophy has been an integral part of Japanese culture for millenia.

Diet concerns the global population of humans. The need for a healthy diet is not restricted to certain countries or populations, although some countries have shown better results regarding general population health. Japan is one such country. The attention and care given to diet, the food produced, consumed, and presented, far exceeds many other countries, especially those in the Western hemisphere. But Japanese traditions did not spring forth from nothing. Much of the initial influence on Japanese practices was Chinese.

Ancient Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, folk medicine, and the use of specific animal parts is still found in modern day practices in China, Japan, and other Eastern countries. The connectivity is key: healthy ingredients aren’t just given to those who are sick. They are woven into the fabric of daily life. This practice can be traced through the evolution of Japan’s culinary culture, a chronology that begins in the 5th century.

A physician who came to Japan from China in the 5th century, through the Korean peninsula, was one of the first to share the knowledge between countries. By the 7th century, the Imperial Court of Japan had sent missions to Sui and Tang China so that emissaries could learn about medicine as well as state administration. This led to a code that was an imitation of Tang China’s legal code, and within the law was a stipulation that Japanese medicine should be based on Chinese medicine. But other factors were at play, including environmental, social and political forces.

japanese food facts

Japanese food Facts

Environmentally, Japan has always been a culture focused around rice, as has China. A Chinese text from 5 AD said, “Grains are the basis that sustain life. Fruits support the power of grains, meats provide benefit, and vegetables enrich.” While other regions were wheat-based (often colder areas), Japan and China were warm and humid, the perfect region for rice. With rice cultivation comes water and fish, so rice and fish became staples for the people in this region. Japan also has mountains that cover over 70 percent of its land area, as well as extensive rivers; this landscape has had its effect on food as well as the plants grown. There are many plants that grow in Japan that have been used for medicinal purposes. For example, some studies have shown there were more than 800 species of plants used to make folk medicines. This is out of a tallied 7,000 species of plants that grow in Japan, meaning nearly 10% of all plants in Japan are medicinal. This statistic is incredible to imagine.

The use of these medicinal plants is key to understanding the evolution of Japanese cuisine. According to Chinese practice, plants, herbs and spices are broken down into five tastes which function according to season, physical condition, illness, and the need to avoid some foods and some food combinations. Understanding these tastes also prioritized the importance of mind-body connection, and the evolution of this philosophy can be traced through various periods.

In the Heian period, (794-1185), the daikyō ryōri, the cuisine at the time, was very similar to Chinese food in terms of what was eaten as well as how. For example, a menu had to have an even number of dishes, and both spoons and chopsticks used. During this period, Japanese also developed “cutting” skills, deeming some to be “masters of the knives.” This is when the attention to detail first came into play regarding the skills necessary to be a master chef.

  Japanese Cuisine History

Japanese Cuisine

The shōjin ryōri (精進料理) of the Kamakura period (1185-1333) also mirrored the Chinese traditions, but in a different way. During this time, monks had who had studied at Chinese zen temples came to Japan and emphasized that there should be no consumption of animal products. Pork had become popular five hundred years before, had waned with government intervention, but was still eaten at times. These monks did, however, use fine ingredients–herbs and spices–to create elaborate dishes without meat, dishes that mimicked the flavor. The flavors of Japanese cuisine grew to include “yōkan (jelly made from bean paste) and ganmodoki (tofu fritter) dishes. Other plates used agar instead of gelatin, or tofu made from high-protein soybeans. Much of the food was fried or prepared in sesame oil or miso. During this era, Buddhism was integrated into the cuisine. The typical Japanese soup stock was also developed during this time. The soup stock that was used was probably extracted from ingredients such as kombu seaweed and shiitake mushrooms; this was the progenitor of the distinctive dashi stock that is currently a defining component of Japanese cuisine.

The Muromachi period (1337-1573) brought in honzen ryōri (本膳料理), cuisine that was served at celebrations for samurai. This is when Japanese cuisine began to depart from Chinese influence. One way was that the meal had to have an odd number of elements. It was also eaten from small individual trays (zen) and suited to a floor-based lifestyle. Only chopsticks were utilized, rather than chopsticks and spoons. This is also the period of the tea ceremony, flower ceremony, and the first culinary schools. The soup that had been developed in the previous era was also developed more through the use of katsuobuhi (dried bonito shavings). This final ingredient solidified the stock that is fundamental to modern Japanese dashi-based food culture.

The Sengoku period (c. 1467 – c. 1603) brought a highly spiritual form of cuisine that developed at the same time as the tea etiquette and ceremonies. There was more attention brought to detail. The method of serving and preparing was emphasized, and every tea ceremony was seen as a unique encounter between individuals. Importance was given to all aspects of cuisine.

The Edo period (1603-1868), brought about the popularization of cuisine. Restaurants were developed, and the consumer culture of cuisine grew. Anyone could enjoy gourmet food, whenever they liked, as long as they had the money to pay for it. This creative period brought about kaiseki ryōri (会席料理), a cuisine consisting of a number of dishes served on a tray that was ordered in advance and eaten at restaurants. Still focusing on classic ingredients–rice, fish, vegetables–the elaboration of dishes evolved. Cuisine schools and cookbooks grew in popularity and industries to produce soy sauce and miso thrived. This era also brought about more knowledge regarding health and diet. Whenever there were outbreaks of diseases, like smallpox or cholera, there were woodblock prints that explained which foods to avoid and which to consume.

japanese food culture history

Japanese food

The evolution of medicine deepened during this time. In 1709, a culmination of herbal knowledge was published in the book Yamato honzō. This text was the last in a series explaining and defining Japanese herbalism. By the mid-1700s, the notion that food, sex, and sleep were intimately connected to health was held to be the norm. And yet, 100 years later by 1869, during the era of Westernization, Western medicine was adopted as the predominant medicine of Japan. This coincided with the height of the Edo period. As Western practices were adopted, the divide grew between those who had wealth and those who didn’t. This created an imbalance, a sense of culinary hedonism. In the cities, abundance became the norm, whereas in the countryside, families were starving from famine and disease.

But the growth continued, regardless, and utilization the plants and produce available continued to improve the reputation of Japanese cuisine. The dishes evolved to include more herbs, spices, and experimentation, but the culture remained tied to rice, miso, fish, and the dashi stock. It was only in the 1980s that consumption of meat passed consumption of fish. The ideal meal of Japanese cuisine emphasizes one soup and three side dishes. Throughout the 20th century, this combination of plates has felt the outside influence. Japan’s food self-sufficiency decreased below 40% by the end of the 20th century. And yet, even with the integration of products from other countries, the health of the Japanese people has been sustained. Part of that is due to the education of the young.

In politics and education, Japan has adapted a unique system known as FOSHU (Food for Specified Health Use) that emphasizes how healthy foods sustain humans, but diet cannot be a singular solution. Diet and health accumulate over years. With the philosophy of Ishoku-Dogen, popularized in the 1970s, there has been a return to seeing food and health as interwoven, but that integration comes through authentic creations. Japanese people won’t just add an herb or take a pill for the health benefit; they incorporate the flavor into their daily habits. The evolution of the Japanese emphasis on diet, on the meticulous attention paid to the details of cuisine, has powerful effects. The Japanese are known to be some of the healthiest people in the world. In fact, the World Health Organization stated that the Japanese have the longest life expectancy of any country in the world, with an average of 83.7 years. [1]This culture of cuisine will only continue to evolve and develop with time, and there are many lessons that can be learned if the ultimate goal is health and longevity of a good life. [1]

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Serving Up Love with Ginger Lemon Tea

When talking with Ayurvedic doctors in New Delhi, India, there are many daily practices that are encouraged based on each individual’s particular body make-up. Ayurveda, one of the oldest medicinal systems, is based on the notion of doshas, that each person has a certain combination of elements that influence the body: the types of food to be eaten, the best times of day for work or for rest, the forms of exercise that benefit the body most. For those who have often struggled with digestive problems, be it a slow constitution or frequent stomach cramping and aches, one remedy prescribed is a morning brew of ginger and lemon tea.

The word tea doesn’t really even apply to this simple tincture, a combination of boiled water, lemon, and sliced and peeled ginger. It is a daily tonic that not only warms the intestinal system, but also can spark digestion for the day ahead. As women age, the body too find new methods of processing, of slowing down. A slow digestive system is one of the problems many women report. A survey in 2013 showed that almost 75% of Americans struggle with digestive problems symptoms. The factors are multifold, and require a longer commitment to a healthier lifestyle, including elements of exercise, cooking, intentional grocery shopping, and other environmental and mental factors. But one solution to jumpstarting a slow digestive system is a simple brew of ginger and lemon tea.

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Ginger Lemon Tea benefits – Juveriente ®

Preparing Lemon Ginger Tea

Boil 2-4 cups of water.

Peel a portion of the ginger root about the size of half a finger’s length.

Slice the ginger into small pieces.

When the water is boiling, add the ginger and steep for 5-10 minutes in a covered pot.

Drain the ginger water into a mug and squeeze half a lemon into the mug.

Stir and drink, slowly, with intention.

You will see that in a week you already getting positive lemon ginger tea benefits.

The Benefits of Ginger and Lemon

 Benefits of Ginger and Lemon

Ginger, a rhizome of the zingiber family, is packed with antioxidants that combat the attack of free radicals on the body, uncharged molecules that can cause oxidative stress and undermine the body’s strength. Ginger is also anti-inflammatory, antifungal, anti-parasitic, and antimicrobial.Think of it as a broom sweeping through and scrubbing at the intestinal lining, searching for and eliminating signs of oxidative stress and bacterial build-up. When the ginger can help the body better absorb nutrients, the fresh lemon juice targets indigestion and heartburn. Both lemon and ginger also contain large quantities of vitamins A and C, which can help improve hair quality as well as dry skin. Most impressively, however, is that this concoction, while helpful for digestion, also targets cognitive function.

Good for the Body and Mind

Lemon, being high in potassium, stimulates the nervous system in the brain, providing an extra jolt of mental energy. Ginger, simultaneously, improves blood function, increasing the body’s circulation and carrying important vitamins, minerals and nutrients to the body’s cells.

The Power of New Habits

A simple glass of this warming liquid in the morning can help jump start the day in a way that is both energizing and calming. The stomach is activated, ready to consume the healthy foods that will follow, and the mind is alert, prepared to tackle the tasks of the day. Also, the simple practice of morning ritual is known to have a calming effect on times of transition, which is the best way to describe the cycle of menopause. New habits are a science, a practice of identifying what the body needs and giving it an accompanying reward. They can be created at any age, and any new habit that serves the body’s greater good can be implemented during the menopausal cycle. It is a time when the body asks for more love, more kindness, and more nurturing, and that can be given even in a simple glass of morning tea.

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An Overview of Japanese Healthy Living

Routinely, Japanese men and women have been ranked as some of the healthiest people on the planet. A study by the World Health Organization found that Japanese women actually have the longest life expectancy at 87 years. Genes certainly play a role, but as more research and studies are directed at understanding health, it has become more and more clear that simple lifestyle changes can have dramatic effects. The Japanese lifestyle, down to what is eaten and when, how much to eat, and the use of food in creative ways, can be replicated in other cultures. Though it may seem difficult to adapt a Japanese method of eating while living in the United States, these small, powerful changes are not only beneficial for the body, but also for the environment and the mind. 

Be Diligent in Your Meals
Japanese Health Foods

In Japan, soup, especially miso soup, is one of the staples. This warming concoction not only helps you to feel fuller more quickly, but it also creates energy in the digestive tract, often making it easier to metabolize and digest other food. Japanese people often eat a seafood and rice-based diet as well, relying on these staples daily to provide healthy nutrients and vitamins. Studies have shown that a seafood rich diet can correlate with a significant decline in risk for heart disease. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish have also been linked to living longer and to preventing certain types of cancer.  Rice, when compared to bread or pasta or potatoes, often isn’t served with as many complementary calories, like butter or sauce, and expands in the stomach to make you feel full. All of these factors create a healthier baseline of diet.

Regarding how you eat, it’s important to monitor portion control. Many Americans eat significantly larger portions than people in other parts of the world. More than 1/3 of Americans are obese, and portion sizes has been studied as one of the leading reasons. In fact, in the last 70 years, the average portion has become 4 times larger than it was, and Americans now have the highest per capita calorie consumption in the world. Overeating is not a natural nor healthy phenomenon. Paying attention to how much you eat, when you eat, and the process of eating can help reduce overeating. 

Hara Hachi Bu (Don’t Overeat) 

This saying comes from Okinawa and serves as a constant reminder—only eat until you’re about 80% full. In the fast-paced lifestyle of many Americans, this practice takes time and diligence to implement. The faster one eats, the harder it is to realize whether or not you’re full. However, if you begin to pay attention to this threshold of 80% and stop when you reach that level, your brain will catch up shortly after your stomach, and you’ll find yourself with more energy after meals. After dining according to the 80% threshold, rather than dealing with possible stomach pain, gastrointestinal aches, or a lack of energy, your body will be ready to convert those calories into energy for whatever is needed next. Food is meant to restore our energy, not deplete it. 

Mottainai (No Waste)
Small Packings of left foods

Thinking creatively about food and how to use every part of the meal is another practice that the Japanese frequently implement. It is called mottainai and translates into “try not to waste it.” In Japan, people often use left-overs for future meals, saving rice, vegetables, fish, and other condiments to add more flavor to plates. Knowing that you won’t waste food, it makes it easier to eat smaller portion sizes in the moment and save the rest for later. 

Japanese Miso Extract Supplement

Learning from the Japanese and Natto

What is 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.

Natto

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

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Supplement is the best way to take only the benefit
of fermented soybeans, without unfamiliar
odor and texture.

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.

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Fermented Soy: A History

When the word ‘fermentation’ comes to mind, one might think of alcohol, of sourdough bread, of pickles. It is a word that conjures up images of bubbliness, or strange scientific processes that can’t always be understood but tend to have healthy outcomes. Fermentation has been a hot topic in American media the last few years as many folks “rediscover” the health benefits of consuming fermented foods. There are festivals and restaurants that specifically fetishize fermentation. However, like many other trends, including that of “discovering” turmeric, the benefits of fermented foods have been around for millennia, and one of the places that best exemplifies those benefits is Japan.

For generations, the Japanese people have utilized the healthy benefits of fermented food to aid in flavor-enhancement and digestion. Two of the most popular soy products, miso and soy sauce, are staples in most meals, including breakfast. To ferment soy properly, or to ferment most foods, a careful balance of skill and practice is necessary. Fermentation can happen with many different types of bacteria. In its most simple definition, fermentation is the harnessing of microorganisms and bacteria in food. 

Since Japan is surrounded by water and enjoys a warm, humid climate throughout most of the year, fermentation began naturally and has been infused into daily practice. Some of the various fermenting agents include types of mold like aspergillus, yeast fungus, lactic acid bacteria, natto bacillus, and other fungi. 

Popular Fermentation

When it comes to two of the most popular condiments in Japanese culture — miso and soy sauce — the role of fermentation cannot be underplayed. Not only does the fermentation add flavor to these condiments and to the meals, but it also aids in digestive processes, amplifies certain flavors, diminishes some of the more intense smells, and regulates the stomach and intestines. Other typical fermented foods and beverages in Japan include mirin, a sweet rice wine, fish sauces, ishiru (a sauce made from entrails and heads of squid) and Shottsuru (made from the liquid of a fermenting fish). Another example is natto, made from fermented soybeans, a health food noted for nattokinase, an enzyme that can destroy blood clots, thin blood, and improve overall circulation. 

Mastering Fermentation 

The process of creating these perfectly balanced fermented foods is inherited through generations. Currently, there are more than 1500 local producers of soy sauce in Japan and more than 1,000 miso makers. When the tsunami and earthquake hit in 2011, many of the businesses and corporations that had their recipes for fermentations — balances and formulas of correct bacteria—were destroyed. Just like the famous sourdough bread of San Francisco that has been made with the same starter for decades, many of the recipes for fermented soy and other products are perfectly balanced formulas that have been carried for generations. As many Americans continue to learn about the benefits of fermented food, there is much we can incorporate from the Japanese culture, as well as others, that have used this method of preserving and cooking for millennia. Our digestive systems will thank us.

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