Eat your natto

Have you heard of natto?

If you haven’t, Dr. Ann Yonetani, a microbiologist turned food entrepreneur, hopes you will.

According to an article published in the New York Times, http//www.nytimes.com/pages/health/nutrition/, the fermented soybean condiment has a mild, earthy taste and looks like small brown jelly beans floating in white goo. Popular in parts of Japan, natto hasn’t caught on in many other parts of the world, and Yonetani is hoping to change that.

Yonetani, who teaches food science at the New School in New York City, founded NYrture in 2015 to introduce New Yorkers to one of the most potent sources of healthy bacteria there is.

In our effort to steer clear of germs, Yonetani believes that we have gotten rid of many of the helpful bacterias that live in our guts and keep us healthy.

“Food used to be fresh and dirty,” she told The Times. “We lived surrounded by nature. Nowadays, we are exposed to too little microbial diversity.”

According to Yonetani, each tablespoon of her natto product contains a billion Bacillus subtilis, a healthful soil bacteria and natural probiotic. Introduced to natto as a child while visiting relatives in Japan, Yonetani makes natto in the back of the Organic Food Incubator in Long Island City, Queens, according to the article. Each batch she makes comes out tasting a little bit different from the previous one.

“That’s not something the food industry likes,” she told The Times. “But I think its beautiful, because that’s biology.”

What’s Natto Love?

For the adventurous eater out there, or at least a person who is willing to try anything at least once, natto is definitely something that needs to plop on their plate. A Japanese creation, the sticky, awful-smelling substance is fermented soybeans, complete with a Chostbusters-worthy goop to tie the whole mess together. But as nasty as it looks and smells, it reportedly comes with a lot of health benefits.

The bacteria present in the rotting soybean concoction is what makes natto something of a peculiar health craze. People across the nation are familiar with healthy bacteria present in many yogurts, and the same can be said for natto, only it’s supposed to be much better for the body. In fact, this nasty creation that has many people shaking their heads and holding their guts is quite the popular delicacy in Japan and is quickly gaining popularity in other parts of the world as well.

Known for its key ingredient, the Nattokinase, a natural enzyme found in the fermented bean, natto carries a strong tie to digestive health and overall well-being, giving it positive praise in Japan. As people become more familiar with the odd taste, smell, and preparation of this bean (it doesn’t have to be prepared with the goo), natto will surely soon be found in large numbers at natural markets and food stands across the nation.