Natto Health Benefits

| Modified on Jun 20, 2021
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A highly purified enzyme, natto is considered one of today’s superfoods. The supplement is particularly effective for improving circulation and reducing swelling, but its uses do not stop there. The enzyme’s slimy texture and salty flavor are not necessarily attractive to everyone; however, its health benefits are.

What is Natto?

A traditional Japanese food, natto is made by fermenting soybeans – a combination that renders an assortment of healthful vegetable proteins. Traditionally called nattokinase, natto can be described in flavor as strong and pungent with a slimy texture. The supplement can also be likened in flavor to the salty bite of blue cheese and is typically eaten with rice.

While the food is considered highly nutritional, most describe it as having an acquired taste. Nonetheless, natto can be used as an effective health treatment and preventative. With its varied protein palette, the food delivers an assortment of nutrients good for treating a wide range of health conditions.

Not everyone will be willing to make natto a part of their healthy diet. For those who still wish to reap the benefits of this superfood, the supplement nattokinase is an option. It is derived from natto and encapsulated. It is commonly used to lower blood pressure, dissolve blood clots, and heal endometriosis. Nattokinase does not contain vitamin K2, as natto does. If you are specifically desiring a way to get K2, natto will work but nattokinase will not.

The saying goes, “You are what you eat.” This sentiment is especially true when it comes to supplemental foods like natto – a nutrient filled superfood effective for treating a host of different conditions.

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1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Susan (Waipahu, HI) on 06/20/2021

I have had eczema for over 15 years. I was forced to resort to prescription cortisone salves to keep the flare ups under control.

As a result of being diagnosed with osteoporosis and refusing to take prescription medications to treat it, I discovered (as a reader of Dr. Joseph Mercola's daily emails) that Japanese Natto (fermented soybeans) contains vitamin K2 which is helpful in protecting bones.

I began eating a spoonful of Natto daily. It does take some getting used to as it is very slimy.

Low and behold as a side benefit of consuming this fermented soybean, my eczema completely cleared up!

I still eat Natto daily and consider it essential to my healthy regimen.

Multiple Cures

Posted by Rob (Manhattan, New York) on 01/31/2010

would like to add Natto to the Remedies section.. Although a required taste, it would be a good addition to most diets.. Many Japanese eat it often for breakfast..

It has numerous health benefits, some name a few.. prevents osteoporosis, dissolves blood clots, high in vit K and protein, natural antibiotic...see Wiki for more info.

I believe it is usually better to add whole food sources of nutrients instead of the isolated compounds, since science is usually behind or incapable in measuring the complex array of interactions involved between nutrients & the body.

Replied by D1nonly
(Camp Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan)


I am very excited to see that you had already suggested adding Natto on here. From what I have read on the web about natto, it seems to be a 'superfood'(without the superfood price tag and easy for any one to make). I have lived in Japan for almost a year now. I have no qualms against the taste or smell, it just smells and tastes like what it is. I consumed natto every now and then until after doing some more reading up on it after searching for 'how to make natto'. I don't like the small styrofoam containers it comes in and also like to use organic materials.

So then, I made my first batch yesterday morning and so far it was successful. This means I will start eating it on a regular basis now and not just when I remember to purchase it. I am also experimenting with other legumes. Apparently the natto kin (japanese word for the strain that is used in fermenting the soy beans) can work with other beans as well as grains. That which makes natto so unacceptable to some people is what is actually good for you: the sticky, slimy stringiness of it all. That is where all the enzymes and vitamins are that make it so good for you. The Japanese have a saying for natto: "Let's eat natto once a day; Let's make natto once a month"

Natto freezes well, so you can make it in larger quantities, then freeze in smaller portions. Here is a saying about soybeans:"Meat grown in a field, without detriment of meat." Only 150 grams provide 21grams of dietary fiber. Soybeans are also recommended for those who are vegetarians for the vitamin B5 content.

Japanese have the highest longevity and I am sure that is not by happenstance. Lower amounts of red meat, large amounts of fish and vegetables. Research has also tied the incidence of osteoporosis to the amount of income households spend on natto. There is a direct correlation to households with more income spent on natto and lower incidence of osteoporosis.

I am making some changes to my diet to include natto on a regular basis. There are also some delicious recipes out there, which allow you to mask the slimy, stringiness of it: Natto in crepes, natto spaghetty, natty in salad, natto sandwhich...all you need to do is use your imagination.

It takes up to 280F and one hour to kill most natto bacteria-so you can even do some cooking with it and still get some of the goodness. Or you can just think about how healthy it is and all the goodness you are getting out if it and learn to appreciate it.

I know there are a lot of conditions, diseases, etc. out there that once you develop them, the cure for, or at least the ability to live with them, comes at a much larger price (not only in terms of money, but the toll they take on your body) than some stringy, slimy stickiness... natto is one of the many perfect examples of how nature has everything we need-we just need to use it!

Replied by Rob
(Manhattan, New York)

thanks D1nonly! for this very thorough post...I too am put off by the styrofoam & wondered about making it...
will need to give it a try!

Replied by Mary
(Sf Bay Area, Ca, Usa)

The natto I have seen in the US has had the Vitamin K removed deliberately so don't plan on getting any in natto that you purchase. Maybe it is separated out in order to sell the K by itself. Read up on whether K is present when you make your own. I don't know that answer.