Japan’s miso keeps blood pressure from climbing, study shows

TOKYO, Aug. 5 — Miso, a Japanese traditional paste, keeps blood pressure from climbing, which lowers the risk of developing health problems such as strokes, a new study has found.

Hiroshima University’s Honorary Professor Hiromitsu Watanabe led the findings, published in an American medical journal specializing in high blood pressure on July 31.

“You can benefit only by switching seasoning from salt to miso,” Professor Watanabe recommends.

It is widely known that salt increases blood pressure. Studies previously showed miso prevents lung cancer as well as gastric cancer, a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide.

This time, the findings show that miso has an effect to improve blood pressure.

Miso is a paste made from a mixture of soybeans, rice, barley or other grains that have been fermented with salt, water and a fungus. It’s typically served as Japanese miso soup, but can be used in marinades and glazes.

The Japanese university researchers carried out experiments on mice divided into three groups: one was given a bowl meal with salt content of 2.8%; another with miso with an equivalent of 2.8% salt content; and the third with salt content of 0.3%.

The result shows mice which ate with salt content of 2.8% quickly developed stroke conditions, vein thrombosis and brain hemorrhage, whereas mice with miso lived longer and healthy as did those with a salt content of 0.3%.

Professor Watanabe said: “It is highly likely some molecules from fermented soybeans reduce the impacts of salt, and aged miso has greater effects. We are now investigating what the molecules are.”

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