You may have heard that natto is an outstanding food for building and maintaining bone mineral density, especially as it relates to that very important micronutrient, vitamin K2. But what exactly is natto? It is cooked soybeans that are inoculated with a special “starter” and then fermented. Unlike other fermented foods, natto does not develop a “sour” taste, but rather a strong, distinctive smell and flavor. They also develop a “slimy” texture.
What does it taste like? Some liken it to salty cottage cheese, foie gras, or old Brie. Anthony Bourdain once proclaimed natto to be “the Vegemite of Japan,” and had a colorful description of his reaction to it. That said, natto is a popular breakfast food in many parts of Japan and it has some pretty extraordinary health benefits.
How is natto served up? Usually with rice, soy sauce, karashi mustard and thin sliced onions. Where can natto be purchased? At many health food stores and online retailers. I’ve even seen it at mainstream grocers like Safeway or Fred Meyer.
Want to know more about natto? Check out this PubMed study and if you have tried natto, or do try it, let us know your thoughts and experience!
Natto Intake is Inversely Associated with Osteoporotic Fracture Risk in Postmenopausal Japanese Women
I am allergic to soy …it would be nice to know of another fermented food that would provide K2
Hi Elizabeth, great question! Although natto is ranked highest in amount of vitamin K2, sauerkraut is another great option! Make it yourself or purchase from the refrigerated section in your market – it needs to be fermented cabbage, only cabbage and salt are used. Sauerkraut has the added benefit of improving your gut microbiome, thus potentially improving digestion, which can enhance the absorption of all vitamins and minerals! Be well! -Susan