What Is Natto & How Do I Eat It?

What Is Natto?

Natto, photo from wikipedia.orgNatto is a traditional Japanese food. It’s fermented soybeans rich in vegetable protein.

Typically eaten with rice, Natto has a specific flavor and many people often find it unfavorable. It has a sort of sticky paste on its surface and once it is stirred, the paste increases its volume becoming even stickier. You will find that the paste pulls apart in such a way that resembles a web. This is another characteristic that turns people off.

Natto is said to resemble blue cheese. Others describe it as having a more mild taste. If you’re the adventurous type or enjoy uncommon textures in your food, definitely try Natto!

Natto’s Health Benefits

“Natto is the only form of fermented soy that utilizes the bacillus natto species. The byproduct of this fermentation is the powerful proteolytic enzyme, nattokinase. This enzyme is known to be a very strong fibrinolytic (anti-clotting), anti-inflammatory and blood thinner. It is comparative to aspirin without the dangerous side effects. Additionally, nattokinase has been shown effective in destroying the toxic amyloid fibrils associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Japanese researcher Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi tested many traditional Japanese foods looking for a natural thrombolytic agent that could break down blood clots and arterial plaque. After testing more than 173 natural foods, Sumi found what he was looking for in 1980 with nattokinase. He dropped natto into an artificial thrombus in a petri dish and allowed it to sit at body temperature. Over the next 18 hours, the plaque completely dissolved. Dr. Sumi isolated the active enzyme and named it nattokinase. Researchers have acknowledged that nattokinase has a potency matched by no other enzyme. Nattokinase works so effectively because it dissolves existing blood clots & fibrin while enhancing the body’s production of plasmin and other fibrinolytic agents like urokinase. Researchers agree that nattokinase is 4 times as potent as plasmin and is significantly better than any prescription medication. It works for longer periods of time without any of the dangerous side effects associated with pharmaceuticals. Organic natto is also one of the best forms of vitamin K2, which is very important for binding calcium in proteins. K2 is especially important for both bone and cardiovascular health. Vitamin K1 is easier to come by as it can be found in seaweed & dark green leafy veggies. Vitamin K2 is found in fermented foods such as raw cheese, miso, & Natto. Vitamin K2 activates a key hormone called osteocalcin that is produced by osteoblasts. This hormone is needed to bind calcium into the bone matrix. Osteocalcin also prevents calcium from being deposited into the arteries. Without adequate vitamin K2 an individual cannot effectively get calcium into the bone matrix and will instead deposit it into arterial endothelium creating plaque deposits.” [1] Dr. David Jockers

How Do I Eat It?

Natto is commonly found in small plastic packages with soy sauce and mustard.

The most popular way to prepare natto is as follows:

Place natto into a sturdy bowl. Stir the natto. Do not mash. Stir fast and well ( for approx. 60 seconds). Add soy sauce and mustard. Finely chop spring onions and mix in. To serve: put a spoonful of natto on steamed rice.

Miso soup matches well with natto.

Natto open sandwich:

1. Mix natto with mayonnaise (and mustard if you like)

2. Toast bread

3. Put mayo-natto on the toasted bread

4. Add several thin slices of onion

5. Top with mozzarella cheese

6. Heat in the oven.

Other ways to prepare Natto are:

Natto spaghetti Natto omelet Natto fried rice Natto curry, etc.

How To Make Natto Yourself:


soybean dried rice straw (usually natto bacillus is living on it)


Photo by Eugene Kim - http://www.flickr.com/people/eekim/ or http://eekim.com/Soybeans should be soaked in water, until the beans stop swelling. It takes one night in summer. It may take one full day in winter. Steam or boil the soybeans until the beans become soft. (Steaming is recommended, if boiled, the taste of the soybean flows out into the water and causes the thin skin of the bean to peel off. Also recommended is a pressure cooker, otherwise it takes several hours to cook.) Put the dried straw into boiling water several minuts to sterilize (Natto bacillus can survive in 212 degree water for more than 10 minutes) Prepare the straw as a package. Probably one package for 1.75 oz of beans (use enough straw) Put the cooked beans on the straw and cover with the straw and tie Photo by Eugene Kim - http://www.flickr.com/people/eekim/ or http://eekim.com/Keep the package at about 108 degrees. You can put it in a cooler chest with hot water bottles. When the temperature changes from 113 degrees to 95 degrees, replace the hot water in the bottle (plastic transparent bottle) Please be careful that natto fermentation receives enough oxygen. Fermentation will take one or two days. Then keep it in refrigerator.

If you have cultured natto bacillus, straw is not required. Add hot water to the bacillus powder and add onto the cooked soybeans and keep in a suitable package (beans shall be open for enough air) Another method is to buy Japanese natto once, save some and use several pieces as mother bacillus.

Helpful links:


Soy Crafters Section


Where to find NATTO in US:

Natto Powder by Jeff Primack’s store


1. Dr. David Jockers owns and operates Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Ga. He is a Maximized Living doctor. His expertise is in weight loss, customized nutrition & exercise, & structural corrective chiropractic care. For more information go to www.exodushc.com. To find a Maximized Living doctor near you go to www.maximizedliving.com. Dr. Jockers is also available for long distance phone consultations to help you beat disease and reach your health goals. Click here to learn more.

by Reviewer
"Soybeans are a rich source of essential amino acids, which are vital in maintaining a health body. Boiling and fermenting soybeans with bacillus natto significantly increases their nutritional value, and among the many traditional fermented foods of Japan, natto tops the list in health benefits. The unique enzyme in Natto, Nattokinase, is reported to be beneficial. This is supported by researches conducted not only in Japan but all over the world. Natto is a natural energy food that is High in Protein,Good Source of Dietary Fiber,Rich in Vitamin K2 & B2, Contains Calcium & Iron, Gluten Free, Contains No Preservatives. Natto contains Vitamin K2, which promotes blood coagulation, and therefore heart disease patients should consult their physicians before consuming natto." http://meguminatto.com/health.html