There are many reasons why Japanese people live longer than the rest of us. One reason might be soybean products like tofu, natto and miso. Scientists from the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Tokyo conducted a study into the health benefits of soybeans and their products. They found that people who regularly ate tofu, natto and miso were 10 per cent less likely to die from common killers than people who ate no soybean products. Researchers said eating soybean-based food lowered the risk of death from heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular problems. They said: "A higher intake of fermented soy products was associated with a lower risk of mortality."
Soybeans and fermented soybean products are superfoods. They are rich in protein, fibre and unsaturated fats. They are also a source of potassium and other minerals. Soy fibre can help to lower cholesterol and boost weight loss. Soy is an important part of the cuisine of East Asia, especially in Japan. People in Asia have eaten soy since ancient times. The most common types of soy products are tofu (soybean curd), natto (fermented soybeans), miso (a fermented soybean paste added to soups) and soy sauce. Some scientists say miso is high in salt. The researchers said salt in miso does not put people at risk of high blood pressure. Soybean products are becoming more popular around the world.