• Fermented soy products such as miso, natto, and tempeh can reduce all-cause mortality risk
  • Most western countries prefer unfermented soy products to its fermented counterparts
  • Since diet plays a vital role in non-communicable diseases, making dietary changes can help reduce the risk

Most western countries do not consume fermented soy but have it in the unfermented form including soymilk, tofu, and soy infant formula. A new study reported that fermented soybean products, including Miso, Natto, and Tempeh, are associated with a reduced risk of death.

It has been unclear whether soy products, particularly the fermented ones, contain any health benefits or ill effects. Thus, a team of Japanese researchers sought to investigate the link between different types of soy products and death from any cause, from cancer, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory disease, and injury.

The study included 42,750 men and 50,165 women in the age group 45-74. They were asked to answer a detailed questionnaire regarding their dietary habits, lifestyle, and health status. The research team identified death from residential registries as well as death certificates over a follow-up of about 15 years.

The findings of the study suggested that increased consumption of fermented soy products natto and miso was linked to a significantly lower risk of all-cause death cardiovascular mortality and cancer-related deaths.

These findings persisted even after further adjusting for the intake of vegetables which was higher among those consuming larger amounts of fermented soy products.

The study highlighted the fact that fermented soy products are enriched with fiber, potassium and bioactive components compared to their non-fermented counterparts. But, since this is just an observational study, the authors are unable to establish the cause or rule out the possibility that some of the observed risks might be attributed to other factors.

"In this large prospective study conducted in Japan with a high rate of soy consumption, no significant association was found between the intake of total soy products and all-cause mortality. In contrast, a higher intake of fermented soy products (natto and miso) was associated with a lower risk of mortality," the authors concluded.

Diet can be a determinant of non-communicable diseases such as heart diseases and cancer which are responsible for more than 70% of deaths worldwide. One risk factor for such diseases is the shift from traditional ways od consuming plant-based food to energy-dense high-fat diets. Consuming soy products could improve the nutrient intake levels among those consuming a plant-based diet.

Consuming miso and other fermented soy products can reduce death risk jyleen21, Pixabay