Terrible news for picky eaters.

In the wide world of Japanese cuisine, there are few dishes as divisive as natto, which is basically a wad of fermented soy beans. It was once notorious for its foul smell, but recently technological advances have enabled some producers to reduce its odor considerably.

Even still, Natto’s texture, which to me is comparable to old lumpy vomit, continues to make it a bane of those with sensitive palates and overactive gag reflexes. However, for those who can stomach it (it’s a breakfast staple in many homes in east Japan), natto is said to be a highly nutritious food for all ages.

Natto’s rep as a health food has just gotten another boost from the National Cancer Center, who conducted a 25-year study on the diets and mortality rates of 90,000 men and women in Japan. Based on a follow-up survey they determined that men and women who consumed about 50 grams (1.8 ounces) of fermented soy enjoyed a 10-percent lower mortality rate than those with other dietary habits.

▼ If that’s the case then competitive eater Yuka Kinoshita may achieve immortality

The good news is that “fermented soy” can also include the infinitely more delicious miso. However, because natto usually undergoes less processing and is conveniently served in 50-gram containers, even I have to begrudgingly admit it’s probably the better choice if you’re looking to stave off death for as long as you can.

▼ As long as a chunky viscous strand of natto

The National Cancer Center said that these foods retained more minerals and nutrients which are believed to help prevent cardiovascular diseases like strokes. This was all previously known, but with the empirical evidence of significantly fewer deaths among those who eat a lot of natto is very compelling.

Normally, I’d jump right on something purported to have such a positive effect on my health…but, ehhhh…

I mean, you have to ask yourself: Is a life where you have to choke down cold, slimy beans day in and day out, really living?

I’ll have to think about that, but in the meantime, those ready to adopt a natto lifestyle might want to try one of the many suggested serving methods such as: in a crepe, on ice cream, on fired chicken (to simulate girls’ feet apparently), in instant noodles, with pudding, in tacos, in a snow cone, or on toast.

None of those really make natto any more tolerable, but can help liven up the daily suffering, because it’s probably going to last a long time.

Source: Asahi Shimbun
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