9 Wonderful Benefits of Miso Soup

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

The health benefits of miso soup include a lower risk of cancer, improved immune system, bone health, and a healthy nervous system. It has anti-aging properties and helps in maintaining healthy skin as well. Furthermore, miso soup has radioprotective properties. It also helps in blood pressure management and is a good source of various vitamins and minerals that are required for the proper functioning of the human body.

What is Miso Soup?

Miso soup is a delicacy that has been in existence for centuries and it is served alongside many other forms of Japanese cuisines. Miso is one of the key ingredients of miso soup which is made by fermenting soybeans, barley, rice, and the fungus kojikin. The contents of this soup consist mainly of a variety of foods making it an ideal recipe for a quick health boost. Generally, the soup contains niboshi, which are dried sardines that have not matured yet, dried kelp, and pieces of smoked tuna, among others

It can also be prepared in a way that favors vegetarians. This preparation involves the use of vegetables, mainly carrots, potato, mushrooms, seaweed, onions, and negi, among other vegetables that are easy to get.

A soup pot of japanese miso soup of tofu, green onions, carrots, and udon noodles on a wooden mat

Miso soup is the main item in a Japanese breakfast and is usually eaten with rice, eggs, fish, and pickles. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size :
Water [g]43.02
Energy 198
Energy [kJ]828
Protein [g]12.79
Total lipid (fat) [g]6.01
Ash [g]12.81
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]25.37
Fiber, total dietary [g]5.4
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]6.2
Fructose [g]6
Maltose [g]0.2
Calcium, Ca [mg]57
Iron, Fe [mg]2.49
Magnesium, Mg [mg]48
Phosphorus, P [mg]159
Potassium, K [mg]210
Sodium, Na [mg]3728
Zinc, Zn [mg]2.56
Copper, Cu [mg]0.42
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.86
Selenium, Se [µg]7
Thiamin [mg]0.1
Riboflavin [mg]0.23
Niacin [mg]0.91
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.34
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.2
Folate, total [µg]19
Folate, food [µg]19
Folate, DFE [µg]19
Choline, total [mg]72.2
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0.08
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]4
Carotene, beta [µg]52
Vitamin A, IU [IU]87
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.01
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]29.3
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]1.03
14:0 [g]0.02
16:0 [g]0.75
17:0 [g]0.01
18:0 [g]0.2
22:0 [g]0.05
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]1.12
15:1 [g]0.02
17:1 [g]0.03
18:1 [g]1.04
20:1 [g]0.03
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]2.88
18:2 [g]2.48
18:3 [g]0.41
Tryptophan [g]0.16
Threonine [g]0.48
Isoleucine [g]0.51
Leucine [g]0.82
Lysine [g]0.48
Methionine [g]0.13
Phenylalanine [g]0.49
Tyrosine [g]0.35
Valine [g]0.55
Arginine [g]0.78
Histidine [g]0.24
Alanine [g]0.5
Aspartic acid [g]1.17
Glutamic acid [g]1.92
Glycine [g]0.45
Proline [g]0.62
Serine [g]0.6
Sources include : USDA [1]

Nutritional Value of Miso Soup

Miso soup is full of nutrients and minerals. Miso soup is made using miso, which contains water, energy, protein, carbohydrate, and fiber. It is a good source of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. In terms of vitamins, it contains folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and vitamin K. Miso soup also isoflavones such as genistein and daidzein. It also contains saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. [2]

Health Benefits of Miso Soup

Miso soup has a great range of benefits including its ability to reduce the risk of cancer, keep the immune system stronger, improve your mood, among others.

Anticancer Potential

The consumption of miso soup is beneficial for preventing breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), also known as liver cancer. A study conducted by researchers from the National Cancer Center Research Institute, in Tokyo, Japan suggests that frequent intake of miso soup helps in reducing the risk of breast cancer. A research study conducted by Sharp GB et al., Department of Epidemiology, Radiation Effects Research Foundation suggests that consumption of miso soup may reduce hepatocellular carcinoma risk. Apart from breast and liver cancer, miso soup, due to its soy content, may also reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Studies suggest that increasing soy intake decreases the risk of colorectal cancer, especially in menopausal women. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Strengthens Immune System

The immune system plays a major role in protecting the body against the flu, bacteria, germs, and viruses that exist in the surrounding environment. Miso soup offers the best solution when it comes to equipping the body with the right nutrients and vitamins. This property is contained in the alkali part of this soup that has a direct positive impact on the body. This alkalizing effect is what makes the body strong and able to repel diseases and infections. A single bowl of this soup provides a person with the right quantity of the vitamins that fight foreign elements in the body. [8]

Anti-aging Solution

A lot of emphases are normally put on the creams, skin products, and other scientific or modern forms of treatment. What most people may not be aware of is that at times, these modes of treatment have some side effects that may be harmful to the user. This is not the case with Miso soup, which is mainly prepared using naturally acquired ingredients such as soybeans that exist in their natural forms. The anti-aging property of miso soup is attributed to its high content of antioxidants, which plays a major role in reducing premature aging. It also helps in maintaining healthy, glowing skin [9] [10]

Maintains Nutritional Balance

The body requires a certain percentage of nutrients and minerals to operate at maximum capacity. It is due to this reason that people are choosing to opt for supplements that are sold in an artificial form. Although they could be of some assistance, these components are better consumed in their natural form. By eating Miso soup a person benefits from different minerals and nutrients that exist in a single serving. It also contains helpful bacteria and enzymes that assist in breaking down and facilitation of digestion and absorption of the consumed food.

Improves Mood

The health benefits of miso soup include improving your mood. Intake of miso soup containing dried bonito is effective in improving mood conditions such as depression, anxiety, tension, fatigue, and lack of vigor. Studies have reported the beneficial effect of dried bonito miso soup on people with fatigue symptoms, tension, and anxiety. [11]

Manages Blood Pressure

Hypertension is no longer associated with people of a given age bracket. This is why physicians and researchers advocate for a low-sodium diet such as miso soup, which benefits those who suffer from hypertension. Instead of using the usual table salt, this soup gives a better alternative to any person with salt-sensitivity conditions. Results of a study conducted to compare the effects of miso and sodium chloride on blood pressure suggest that miso diet does not increase the blood pressure. Besides reducing hypertension, miso soup also lowers cholesterol and may reduce blood clotting due to the presence of isoflavones in it. This, in turn, helps to prevent strokes and heart attacks. Thus, the inclusion of miso soup in your diet can help lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of various heart-related ailments. [12] [13] [14]

Promotes Digestion

Miso soup contains dietary fiber, which aids in maintaining good digestive health. The presence of Koji fungi, lactic acid bacteria, and other enzymes help in the absorption of the nutrients, as well as in regulating digestion.

Radioprotective Properties

Miso soup, made from miso (fermented soybean paste), is also effective in protecting against radiation effects. A study conducted to investigate the radioprotective effect of miso suggests that long-term fermented miso is more effective in protecting against irradiation. [15]

Improves Bone Health

Miso soup is a good source of calcium, isoflavones, and vitamin K, which all help in promoting and maintaining good bone health. It also reduces the risk of osteoporosis. [16]

Healthy Nervous System

The health benefits of miso soup also include a healthy nervous system. It contains vitamin B12, which is required by the body to maintain a healthy nervous system and to generate blood cells. [17]

Other Benefits

Relief of menopausal symptoms, improved bowel movements, and a better appetite are some of the other advantages frequently claimed from miso. There are even those who have reported an improvement in their sleeping patterns after adding this soup to their diet.

Preparation of Miso Soup

Various miso pastes are available on the market that can be used to prepare miso soups. One can use vegetables or meats, depending on availability and personal choice. One can use dashi, tofu, fish, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes as the ingredients and prepare the soup in less time.

Availability of Miso Soup

Nowadays, instant miso soup is easily available in most stores in different parts of the world. This is a better option for those who are unable to get natural ingredients. Most of these packets contain tofu, soybeans, and other ingredients that are dried up for preservation. The preparation guideline is usually given on the pack and most occasions, it only requires the addition of hot water and the soup is ready to be served. One can buy plenty of these Miso Soup packets since they have a long shelf life, making them convenient to use and reliable whenever one needs a quick healthy snack or a light meal.

Some prefer serving it together with other foods, such as rice. It can also be consumed on its own, more so when it contains several ingredients, making it a whole meal.

Not everyone has time to prepare any form of Miso Soup, which may be due to busy schedules or the unavailability of all the necessary ingredients. Luckily, some restaurants and eateries serve this soup as well. All that a person needs to do is pinpoint any of them and walk in and get all the health benefits associated with this delicious and nutritious soup.

Side Effects of Miso Soup

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) Medications: MAOI medications can dangerously interact with tyramine, a substance found in fermented food products such as miso soup. Therefore, avoid consuming miso soup if taking MAOI medications. [18]

Food Allergy: Allergic reactions may occur after the consumption of miso soup. Consult your health specialist if you come across symptoms such as rashes, itching, swelling of the throat, or tongue upon consuming miso soup.

Unlike medicine, which is usually not interesting to take, this soup is like any other food that is prepared at home. The soup is commonly eaten as a normal meal and gives the body other additional health values. Those who have been on this diet know the importance of living by it and so far, the benefits are endless.

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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