Miso – More Than An Appetizer. Kefir Bests Yogurt. Top 12 Fermented Foods List Continues.

Top 12 Fermented Foods With Miso And Kefir
Foods that Heal – Foods that Maintain Weight Loss

by Boyd Jentzsch

Today: I never realized Miso wasn’t just a Sushi soup. Nor that sour Caucasian milk, Kefir, could be so tasty.

4. Miso
This traditional Japanese “seasoning” is as old as old Japan, and as modern as modern Japan. Made by fermenting rice, barley, and soy, it is widely used in many different forms in Japan as a seasoning.

Miso soup powder Top Fermented Foods

Miso Powder is Aromatic & Potent. Photo Courtesy WikiPedia

It is high in protein, rich in minerals and vitamins, it has been popular since feudal days, but has been around since the earliest days of Japanese culture. The Chinese are sure to say they introduced it to Japan over two millennia ago, but, wherever it came form, it is a unique treat.

Most Americans only know miso as a “bean curd” found in “miso soup” served as an appetizer at Japanese restaurants. But that is to profoundly understate its true value to nourish and fortify your body.

There are many varieties of Miso, white, red, mixed, yellow, dark, light, and versions made with an amazing assortment of basic ingredients. What they all have in common is a delicious taste.

Miso paste Top Fermented Foods

This Fermented Food is Full of Probiotics. Truly a “Living Food.” Photo Courtesy care2.com

A fermented food full of active probotics, it is a truly “living food,” so it needs to be refrigerated before use, and only added in at the very end of the cooking process for heated foods. It is best if not cooked at all.

Miso is high in vitamin B12, plus a host of other vitamins and nutritive ingredients. It was highly regarded for its protective effects on those suffering from radiation poisoning in Japan at the end of the war there, and after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine. It is thought to protects against radiation due to dipilocolonic acid, an alkaloid that chelates heavy metals and discharges them from the body.

It is a detoxifier, rich in enzymes, and contains all the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It strengthens the immune system, and helps to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. High in antioxidants, it protects against free radicals.

My frequent trips to Japan had me wondering how the locals could eat regular meals at the exceptionally expensive restaurants in Tokyo. The answer, I learned, was they don’t. They either bring their lunch with them from home, or mob the legion of street vendors. But whether in a bento, or at a street vendor, the consistent staple was miso in all its wondrous varieties.

Miso, I learned, is not just a soup ingredient. It is a side dish, a condiment, a dip, and a sauce, and much more. It supplies many of the nutrients your body must have to heal and lose weight. Miso can become a staple in your daily efforts to keep your weight off. Weight loss, and weight maintenance are not rocket science. It is just common sense to understand that you can’t eat the same way that made you gain weight. Miso, and all of these Top 12 Fermented Foods can supply your body what it has been missing for many years, what it needs to rebuild, and what it requires to maintain your reduced weight long term.

Miso is truly a “healing food.” Read more about Miso here

3. Kefir
A fermented milk drink, has its origins in the North Caucasus Mountains. It is prepared by introducing kefir grains into cow, goat, or sheep milk. In the old ways, a bag of it was hung in a doorway so that persons passing by would give it a hit, thus keeping the milk and kefir grains well-mixed.

Kefir-lactic acid bacteria yeasts top fermented foods

Kefir Grains Look Like This Cluster of Cauliflower! Photo Courtesy ask.com

Kefir grains are a combination of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars. This symbiotic matrix forms “grains” that resemble cauliflower. For this reason, a complex and highly variable community of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts can be found in these grains. This makes it perfect for fermentation of an excellent and healthy drink.

Because of the type of organisms that ferment Kefir, nearly all of the lactose from milk remains, making it available for many who are otherwise lactose intolerant. My own lactose intolerance is rather severe — I can’t even eat a spoonful of ice cream. But I can easily drink a full glass of Kefir.

Kefir in glass jar Top Fermented Foods

Kefir Is One of the Most Beneficial Fermented Foods out there with potent Probiotics!
Photo Courtesy wholenaturallife.com

Popular in Eastern and Northern Europe, it can be found in the dairy case at your local food store (you might have to look a little, but it will be there). Full of calcium and tryptophan, protein, B vitamins, and phosphorus, it is a very good aid to digestion.

Especially full of probiotics, Kefir has a strong influence on your immune system, boosts gut health, and improves the strength of bones. It is, in every sense of the word, a true superfood. Whatever benefits you expect from
eating a good yogurt, you will get in spades with Kefir.

The commercial brands of Kefir come with flavored and unflavored varieties , but the flavored ones usually have more calories. Choose a brand that lists at least 12 different probiotics on the label.
While Kefir is often used in food recipes, be aware that cooking it will kill all the beneficial bacteria, although other benefits may remain.

A goof friend with relatives from the Ukraine introduced me to Kefir a dozen years ago. It seemed like watered down yogurt to me, so I declined to really give it try. Then one night, raiding the fridge, I realized I was out of my favorite yogurt. I made a hasty trip to the store, saw the Kefir, and decided to give it a go. I’ve never quit drinking it since. I prefer the unflavored kind because it is lower in calories. And, now I eat quite a lot of fermented foods (I’m holding off the 60 pounds I lost 10+ years ago), I find it not only refreshing, but the probiotics are great for my intestinal track health. I love good Kefir, and I think you will too.

While there are some excellent commercial versions of Kefir, you might want to try making some of your own. Here is an excellent source for kefir making.

Remember, I too am on a mission not to regain my lost weight. I have found that Kefir is one of my best allies in doing that. I rely on its rich assortment of probiotics (one commercial brand has 12 different beneficial strains) to keep me healthy. But it is more than that. It satisfies my body’s cravings for protein and calcium, which keeps me from over-snacking. If you are trying to lose weight and keep those lost pounds from reappearing, Kefir can be your weight loss ally, too.

Tomorrow: We finish the Top 12 Fermented Foods with fermented cabbage (#2) and fermented tea (1).

Top 12 Fermented Foods
Foods that Heal – Foods that Maintain Weight Loss

Here’s a List to the Top 12 Fermented Foods Admired Throughout the World

Fermented Foods that Heal & Maintain Weight
Chicha and Buttermilk
Kvass and Rejuvelac
Pickles and Yogurt
Kimchi and Tempeh
Miso and Kefir
Cabbage and Cambucha

Don’t forget to send me your weight loss questions, and join me here for a LIVE Weight Loss Wednesdays™ lesson and Q&A, every Wednesday evening at 9:30 PM ET.

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  1. I think I’d better look onto Miso and Kefir-yes I have seen Kefir in the stores but have never tried it. At the moment I am gaining and have no idea why—————-

  2. Yes! Thank you for pointing out the benefits of miso. One of the reasons the Japanese are so healthy. They have lots of benefits for sure. Plus it definitely tastes good!

  3. I think i tasted miso before.. at a restaurant.. if i remember it was pretty good.

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever tried either one of these, but I’ll try anything once!

  5. Don Purdum says

    This is a great idea. I love Kefir so we are going to give it a try.

  6. Paula Parker says

    I never heard of Miso before, so thanks for the info. I do like to add good food to my diet slowly. Variety is the spice of life!!! Thanks again.

  7. I have never had kefir but I have had miso. I know a lot of people who make their own kefir.

  8. I love Miso. It is good to hear that it is good for you.

  9. I never thought about making this my own! Great idea!

  10. I really need to get more protein into my diet. This looks like a great way to do that.

  11. I totally thought Miso was just a soup as well! Thanks for teaching me something new today.

  12. I’ve tried Kefir before but never Miso. Thanks for the explanation of them both.

  13. I didn’t know that miso has benefits. Oh if I only had known, I would have wanted to sip it more. Usually I don’t like miso soups in Japanese restaurants.

  14. I had no idea Miso had so many varieties. Thanks for the lesson in cultural culinary art!

  15. michele d says

    Never heard of it until now. Would try it once to see if I like it.

  16. Miso hungry now… Haha I am hilarious. No really, that was a great explanation. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Miso soups looks really great for an appetizer. Kefir is something new to me but it looks really healthy.

  18. I’m a fan of miso, mostly because of its health benefits. 🙂

  19. Not an experimental person in terms of food.. not for me.. nice though 🙂

    • Celebrate Woman says

      I’d encourage you to be more open to life and possibilities out there. Food or not – allow yourself to be more adventuresome!

  20. I tried a drink that has Kefir in it and my tummy just didn’t agree with it. I didn’t try it again because I was scared on how my tummy would react.

    • Celebrate Woman says

      It’s a normal reaction, especially if you have never drunk Kefir!
      It is the most suitable food for your gut: Lots of good internal flora and it’s 99% fermented, so it is not milk any more!
      I was raised on Kefir! I drink it every day.
      Try again, I would like to encourage you! Keep at it with small quantities and see how your body gets adjusted to new food!
      The results are marvelous: how you feel, your regularity, your internal gut health – all from drinking Kefir.

  21. I haven’t tried either but I do like the sound of the benefits they have.

  22. I have never tried miso. You’ve sure got me curious to try it now though. 🙂

  23. I LOVE miso! Thanks for sharing such great foods- they’re so underused!

  24. I have never had this before, is it like yogurt? Wonder if my kids would like it?

  25. I had no idea about Kefir’s benefits to the body. This is great!!

  26. We enjoy kefir quite often, but I never thought of Miso!! We always drink a lot of komucha too. Fermented foods are so good for you!

  27. Since I haven’t tried either of these, I feel so out of touch. I definitely need to try them!!!

  28. I didn’t know that miso wasn’t just a soup! I’d never even heard of kefir before!

  29. Lots of really good info! That is awesome you have a good hookup with a friend in the Ukraine who got you into it–thanks for sharing this post!

  30. Patricia says

    I have never had either of these before. It sounds very interesting. Thanks for sharing this. I think I may have to explore outside the box.

  31. I have never tried eiher of these. I’m a fan of probiotics though, so will check it out

  32. I love both of these things! Thanks for the post- I’m going to have to start making my own kefir, as it would be better for me anyway.

  33. I love miso soup. I find it healthy and very tasty. I always make sure that there’s miso soup on my table when dining out.

  34. Hi my friend! I wish to say that this post is awesome, nice written and come with almost all vital infos.
    I would like to see more posts like this .

  35. We love kefir. So tangy and good! Mango flavor is our fave.

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