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The Magic of Miso

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The Magic of Miso

At first glance, those new to miso may find the idea of a fermented soybean paste less than appetizing. But if you give it a try, the flavor, versatility and health benefits of miso are bound to change your mind.

Soybeans are usually the main ingredient in miso, but barley, wheat or rice can also be added. Regardless of the variety of grain or soybean used the most important ingredient is the “koji”. Koji consists of yeast inoculated with a specific type of beneficial bacteria called Aspergillus Oryzae.

After the koji is added to the soybeans and grain, the mixture is allowed to ferment for anywhere from a week to a number of years, depending on the flavor and quality of miso being made. While this may sound a bit strange to newcomers, fermenting food to increase its nutritional value and flavor is nothing new. This ancient process has been used for thousands of years and koji is also incorporated in the making of soy sauce and sake.

As the miso ferments, the healthy micro-organisms in the koji produce enzymes that help break down the proteins, carbohydrates and oils in the grain and soybeans. This process makes the nutrients they contain easier for our bodies to digest and absorb (the benefit of all fermented foods.) After the fermenting process is complete the miso is ground into a smooth tangy paste that is filled with vitamins, protein and beneficial bacteria (the good guys found in our guts.)

Next: Different types of miso and miso’s health benefits

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Read more: Basics, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Health, Healthy Aging, Vegan, Vegetarian, Whole Soy Benefits, ,

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Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati

Gentle World is a vegan intentional community and non-profit organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. For more information about vegan food and other aspects of a vegan lifestyle, visit the Gentle World website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.


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9:01AM PDT on May 23, 2015

Excellent article. Never tried miso, but I guess I will have to now :-).

5:04AM PST on Feb 4, 2015

love the miso I have had before but am wanting to try the different varieties :)

5:14AM PST on Feb 3, 2015

Thank you

3:34AM PST on Dec 17, 2014

Hm! Sounds like an interesting ingredient. Will have to learn more and try it. Thank you for the information it was very useful.

♥(✿◠‿◠✿)♥*♥˚☻Love & Peace☻go with☻you all.☻˚♥*♥(✿◠‿◠✿)♥

4:48AM PDT on Oct 29, 2014

interesting thanks

4:01PM PDT on Oct 28, 2014

I don't like plain miso foods, but adding it to something else can make it very tasty indeed, unless it includes MSG and other fillers, which tend to give me royal headache.

8:10AM PDT on Oct 28, 2014

Thanks for the article.

4:54AM PDT on Oct 20, 2014

Thank you :)

4:05PM PDT on Jun 9, 2014

I really like that idea of using it to replace your morning coffee or tea. I can remember my mother drinking Bovril in the evening because the caffeine in coffee bothered her. This will be the new Bovril!

1:58PM PDT on Jun 9, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

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