The Surprising Secret to Longevity and Radiant Skin: Superfood Natto
In the quest for a long and vibrant life, as well as youthful and glowing skin, we are often drawn towards the latest fads and trends. The simple key to unlocking these benefits may lie in a humble and traditional Japanese dish called natto.
With its distinctive aroma and slimy texture, natto has been celebrated for its remarkable health properties. In this blog post, we will explore why incorporating natto into your diet can contribute to longevity and radiant skin.
An Ancient Secret to Longevity and Radiant Skin: Superfood Natto
Originating from Japan, natto is made by fermenting steamed soybeans with a specific strain of bacteria known as Bacillus subtilis var. natto.
This unique fermentation process results in the production of a sticky, stringy substance that encases the soybeans and adds to the nutritional value of the food. While natto might not win any awards for appearance, it is revered for its high nutritional value and numerous health benefits.
Natto has many health benefits, including the ability to modulate blood cholesterol levels, arterial sclerosis, heart disease, and hypertension, promote bone health, control the bacterial balance in the intestines, prevent diarrhea, enteritis, and constipation, improve immunity, fat reduction, beauty treatment, eye relief, and more! 
Natto is frequently mentioned as one of the greatest sources of vitamin K, particularly vitamin K2.
Vitamin K is used by the body for bone health and healthy blood clotting according to Anderson et al. 
Enzyme Nattokinase: Natto contains a powerful enzyme called nattokinase, which has gained attention for its potential role in promoting cardiovascular health.
Nattokinase has been shown to possess clot-dissolving properties, aiding in the prevention of blood clots that can lead to serious conditions like heart attacks and strokes.
Lab and human studies have demonstrated that serine proteases such as subtilisin and nattokinase have a profibrinolytic effect. 
Fibrinolysis is a process in the body that works on blood clots to keep them from growing and becoming problematic.
Nutrient-Rich Profile: Natto is a rich source of essential nutrients, including protein, fiber, vitamins (such as vitamin K2, B vitamins, and vitamin C), and minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Natto provides 211 calories and 19 g of protein per 100 g.
One cup of natto has more than 19 g of fat. The majority of these fats are polyunsaturated. Polyunsaturated fats can decrease LDL cholesterol and may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. 
These nutrients work together to support overall health and vitality.
Gut Health: The fermentation process in natto increases the concentration of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria crucial for gut health.
A healthy gut microbiome is linked to improved digestion, strengthened immunity, and reduced inflammation, ultimately contributing to a longer and healthier life.
In epidemiological studies, high levels of isoflavonoids (active compounds in soy) are particularly related to a decreased colon cancer risk, while miso soup intake is linked to a lower risk of stomach cancer.
Soy beans have been reported to hold large amounts of carcino-preventive agents.
Radiant Skin Health
Collagen Production: Natto is an excellent source of vitamin K2, which plays a pivotal role in maintaining healthy skin.
Vitamin K2 activates a protein called osteocalcin, which aids in the production of collagen—a structural protein responsible for maintaining skin elasticity and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Antioxidant Properties: The isoflavones found in soybeans, the main ingredient in natto, possess potent antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants help combat free radicals, unstable molecules that can cause oxidative stress and damage to the skin, leading to premature aging.
Regular consumption of natto may contribute to a more youthful and radiant complexion.
Healthy Skin Cell Proliferation: Cell cytotoxicity assays revealed significant anti-melanoma effects of natto extracts in a dose-dependent manner, and exhibited low influences on normal skin cells.
The studies were in a lab on melanoma cells and the researchers found that the cellular death phenomenon shifted from autophagy to apoptosis with the increased dosages of natto. 
Incorporating Natto Into Your Diet
Traditional Preparation: Natto is traditionally enjoyed as a breakfast dish in Japan, served over a bed of rice with additions such as soy sauce, mustard, or green onions.
The combination of flavors helps balance out the pungent taste of natto.
I like to mix it with kimchi due to the additional health benefits seen when you eat both foods.
See my article on kimchi here.
Creative Culinary Uses: If the taste or texture of natto is initially off-putting, there are various ways to incorporate it into your diet.
You can blend it into smoothies, mix it with salad dressings, or even use it as a topping for sushi rolls.
The key is to experiment and find a method that suits your preferences.
I made my own natto at home and it was surprisingly easy!
All you need is a big steamer, a yogurt maker, soybeans and natto starter culture. I use organic soybeans and soak them for 12 hours then steam and ferment!
Check out this informative video on natto and how it is made:
While natto might be an acquired taste for some, its potential benefits for longevity and skin health make it worth considering as a regular addition to your diet.
With its wealth of nutrients, gut-friendly probiotics, and unique skin-enhancing properties, natto offers a natural and holistic approach to supporting your overall well-being.
So why not embrace this ancient superfood and embark on a journey towards a longer, healthier life with a radiant, youthful complexion?
Give natto a chance, and you might just love it like I do!
1. Afzaal M, Saeed F, Islam F, Ateeq H, Asghar A, Shah YA, Ofoedu CE, Chacha JS. Nutritional Health Perspective of Natto: A Critical Review. Biochem Res Int. 2022 Oct 21;2022:5863887. doi: 10.1155/2022/5863887. PMID: 36312453; PMCID: PMC9616652.
2. Chou HY, Liu LH, Chen CY, Lin IF, Ali D, Yueh-Luen Lee A, David Wang HM. Bifunctional mechanisms of autophagy and apoptosis regulations in melanoma from Bacillus subtilis natto fermentation extract. Food Chem Toxicol. 2021 Apr;150:112020. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2021.112020. Epub 2021 Jan 26. PMID: 33513408.
Any recommendations are options and should not be construed as medical advice. Any information given is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any disease or conditions.