Is Natto Paleo?
Natto is a common Japanese side dish and is made from fermented soybeans.
Offering the benefits of fermentation, natto also provides the rare vitamin K2; vital for healthy teeth.
Made from soybeans, you may be asking if it’s Paleo? let’s begin.
What is natto?
As previously said, natto is made from fermented soybeans and is often eaten at breakfast in Japan.
Natto has a sticky texture and pungent smell which typically puts people off.
Soybeans being a legume is certainly not paleo, however, natto does offer certain benefits…
Benefits of natto
Being fermented, natto loses many of the harmful effects of regular soybeans and could potentially be good for you.
The main benefit of natto is its high vitamin K2 content which directs the calcium in our bodies to our bones and teeth; preventing calcification of the heart and kidneys.
Natto also brings with it all the goodness of fermentation, breaking down many of the toxins and helping our gut flora.
Sadly, natto has several downsides that need discussing.
Despite fermentation, natto and other fermented soybeans still contain isoflavones, often at an increased rate; stops the thyroid from using Iodine properly and can lead to thyroid issues.
In addition, isoflavones bind to estrogen receptors, causing an increase in estrogen production and lowering testosterone.
This imbalance has a large effect on both men and women; men can develop a lower libido and put on more fat while women can have their periods disrupted.
Quality of natto
The quality of natto can vary quite drastically from supplier to supplier, with some containing additives like MSG.
Be sure to read the food labels and use your own condiments instead of the ones supplied. You can even try fermenting your own!
Should I eat natto?
On one hand, natto is a great source of vitamin K2 and the other it can cause thyroid issues and hormonal imbalances.
Having a diet rich in iodine from seafood and dairy elevates the thyroid issue, however, the hormonal impact still remains.
This impact seems cause for concern and I would recommend other sources for getting vitamin K2 as discussed here.
Is it paleo? Possibly.