Miso is a fermented paste made from soy beans and other grains.  It is a staple of the Japanese diet and different varieties exist throughout Asia.  One of the unique aspects of miso is that it contains healthy microorganisms (yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut also contain these probiotic qualities).  Healthy bacteria are required to keep bad bacteria from growing wildly, and studies suggest that taking probiotics may prevent infection and combat allergies and some chronic illnesses.    The healthy microorganisms found in these foods and some supplements are similar to the healthy bacteria naturally found in the gut.

It makes sense.

Why do women commonly get yeast infections after taking a course of antibiotics?  Because the antibiotics kill bacteria – both the good and the bad, and the bad proliferate greatly without healthy bacteria to keep them in check.  This scenario is a common example of illness that occurs when the good and bad bacteria are out of balance, but improper diet, chronic illness, and strong medicinals can all alter the balance of bacteria in the gut, resulting in a range of gastrointestinal symptoms (gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation…).

Yogurt is the food that most people reach for first when wanting healthy microorganisms:  It is convenient and readily available.  However, according to Chinese medical theory, yogurt is very cold and damp in nature.   Read the rest of this entry »

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