Miso Power /Genistein/

Touted for centuries in the Far East as a folk remedy for poor digestion, cancer, tobacco poisoning, acidic conditions, low libido, and several types of intestinal infections, miso has long had a reputation as one of nature’s most healing foods.It is miso’s combination of ingredients and its unique double-fermentation process that transforms soybeans and grains into a potent medicine.

In 1972, researchers discovered that miso contains dipilocolonic acid, an alkaloid that chelates (binds together) heavy metals, such as radioactive strontium, and discharges them from the body. A few years earlier in April of 1986, the world’s worst nuclear disaster occurred at a power plant in Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union (now the Ukraine). European countries imported truckloads of miso from Japan and fed it to their people as protection against the radioactive fallout.

This prompted scientists around the world to find the silver bullet in miso, tofu, soymilk, soy sauce, tempeh, and even textured vegetable protein (TVP). They discovered that these foods, including miso, contained a high concentration of a potent anticancer agent called Genistein, a plant isoflavone.

According to an article from the National Cancer Institute and research from Children’s University Hospital in Heidelberg, Germany, Genistein delivers a one-two punch to cancer cells. It reduces the cell’s ability to form new blood vessels, a process called angiogenesis; it also attacks the cell’s reproduction mechanism. Without a growing blood supply or the ability to generate new cells, the cancer cells slowly shrink and die.

There are numerous miso types but most can be categories into either light or dark miso. All miso blends are made using soybeans, salt, and a mold called kojikin. The white, mellow style is prepared using a larger portion of rice koji rather than soybeans whereas the dark miso uses differing amounts of these same ingredients, with larger amounts of salt and soybeans. These elements work in cooperation with the amount of time they are fermented to give them sweeter or saltier flavors.

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source: The Miso Book by John Belleme-Square One Publishers Inc.