does miso have probiotics

Does Miso Have Probiotics or Live Cultures?

Miso is a classic Asian cuisine spice. It’s becoming more popular in Western society because many feel its probiotic properties can help with intestinal health.

The validity of this claim has been called into question, although Miso’s composition may reveal whether it has probiotics. Most Miso is made chiefly from soybean, fermented with Aspergillus oryzae fungi (known as koji), a healthy probiotic that improves gut health and digestion. 

Although Aspergillus Oryzae has been linked to several health benefits, including tumor decrease in cancer patients, not every Miso uses this organism.

With such wide varieties available, misos may contain or lack probiotics depending on the source of fermenting starter and how it is prepared. 

Now, let’s find out which Miso contains probiotics and whether the probiotic content is enough to support your gut health.

Which Probiotics does Miso Contain?

Miso probiotic soup

Fermentation gives Miso its rich flavor while promoting the levels of its healthy bacteria. 

Common probiotics found in Miso are

  • lactic acid bacteria (LAB)
  • Aspergillus and 
  • yeast

The probiotic strains in Miso may vary depending on the starter used for fermentation, the ingredients used for making it, and how long it has been stored. 

For instance, Some types of Miso may contain more LAB than other strains.

The common probiotic strain found in Miso is Aspergillus oryzae. It lives in the koji starter used to ferment the soybean for Miso. It is also found in wheat, barley, and rice. 

Aspergillus oryzae produces enzymes that break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats into simple sugars. The probiotic bacteria use these sugars to grow and produce acids during fermentation. They also help preserve Miso as it ages.

Other probiotics in Miso are yeasts such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which may be used to ferment soybeans for Miso. 

How Many Probiotic Strains are In Miso?

Miso contains many probiotic strains, but four strains, in particular, stand out. The most prominent fungi are Aspergillus oryzae and Zygosaccharomyces rouxii, which is not surprising as they are used as starters. 

The bacteria strains in Miso are Tetragenococcus halophilus, which has a high salt tolerance LAB and serves as a starter for commercial Miso, and Salmonella Gallinarum

Miso good gut bacteria enhance the body’s ability to absorb nutrients in the intestines. It also shields the gut lining from pathogens that try to get through and compromise the bloodstream.

Pediococcus acidilactici and Lactobacillus plantarum are probiotic species that also commonly grow in the Miso during fermentation. 

P. acidilactici produces lactic acid for digesting lactose. It further enhances nutritional absorption and guards against dangerous bacteria from infecting the intestines.

L. plantarum produces lysine, an amino acid essential for various biological functions, including calcium absorption and metabolism.

Is Miso Paste High In Probiotics?

Miso paste is the best Miso you can purchase for its probiotics. It is rich in flavor, and the best part—the probiotics are still INTACT and ACTIVE. 

Miso paste is a versatile ingredient. The paste makes traditional miso soup. But it also works as an alternative seasoning in any dish—whether noodles or salads. You dissolve the paste in water before adding it to your meal.

Miso paste is made by a fermentation method that boosts probiotic levels. These bacteria are believed to be beneficial for several gut health conditions, including indigestion and constipation.

Does Dried Miso Have Probiotics?

If you’re the type to stock up packets of dry Miso for the rainy day while hoping to get all the healthy benefits of fresh Miso, we’re sorry to break this to you. Most instant miso soup powders will not have probiotic benefits. Heartbreaking, isn’t it?

Probiotics are live cultures, and we can’t expect them to survive in a dehydrated, powdered state. So while it’s a dream come true to have your miso soup ready in under 5 minutes by the rip of a miso powder sachet, it does have its cons.

If you’re buying miso powder, there’s a high chance you’re only getting some flavor (which is subpar to the real stuff), maybe a few chemical additives, and no probiotics. 

Does Freeze-Dried Miso Have Probiotics?

The dried miso facts might have been a shock; we’re sorry. Here’s some good news. 

Freeze-dried Miso that is handled with care should still contain live probiotics, especially if the packaging boasts of live cultures. 

Unlike drying, which completely saps out water and kills probiotic microorganisms, freeze-drying keeps them alive but slowly functioning at a very low temperature. 

While we can’t say how much probiotics survive the freeze-dried state, when compared to the refrigerated paste, the freeze-dried Miso is usually the least preferred but still an OK option. 

Does White Miso Have Probiotics?

White or Kome Miso is made from soybeans and rice. It has a probiotic with a starter, and the end products contain good gut bacteria. Most white Miso contains A. oryzae probiotics alongside lactic acid bacteria. 

The difference between white Miso and red will is when the Miso is fermented. White Miso is fermented for six months, unlike red which gets its darker hue thanks to a year or more of fermentation. 

White Miso is generally preferred to the stronger and darker-colored miso varieties because it has a mild, slightly sweet flavor. It also has a lower sodium content than red Miso.

Does Red Miso Have Probiotics?

Red Miso is more nutritious and is packed with a more prosperous, somewhat overpowering flavor. It has a high probiotic content of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Aspergillus oryzae. Red Miso also has a higher protein content than lighter varieties. 

The fermentation process of red Miso gives its probiotic benefits a significant boost. Before fermentation, the longer Miso is fermented, the more it will be absorbed and digested in the gut to release its good gut probiotics.

The fermentation process for red Miso is longer than for white or yellow. Probiotic strains can grow, multiply, and produce lactic acid during this time. Lactic acid helps preserve the product, which can last up to two years when stored in a cool place. 

Red Miso also contains vitamins K2 and B12, essential to maintaining bone health.

Does Cooked Miso Still Have Probiotics?

Miso is a fermented food with live, active bacterial cultures. The probiotics in the Miso will be destroyed if it is boiled. To preserve the gut health benefits of Miso while cooing, it’s best to add Miso to your recipe once the heat is put out. The residual heat in the soup will warm your Miso just enough to keep those healthy probiotics alive.

Miso should never be made at temperatures higher than 114°F. And you don’t have to use a thermometer for that. If you can slurp the meal without burning your throat, it’s a good enough temperature to add Miso to your food.

How Do You Use Miso Without Killing Probiotics?

The first step you want to take is to buy the right kind of Miso – unpasteurized.  Pasteurization can destroy the live probiotic cultures in miso paste, cheating you of all the probiotic goodness. So always check the description to ensure you’re not getting subpar Miso.

To avoid killing the probiotic cultures while cooking, don’t add it until the end of the cooking process when the food is taken off the heat. This step is handy for Miso and other fermented probiotic-rich foods.

Aside from using unpasteurized Miso and not boiling it, you also want to store the Miso in the best way. Refrigeration and freezing work well to slow down the fermentation of your Miso, keeping the taste fresh and wholesome. 

Does Miso Help Gut Bacteria?

Miso probitics help gut health

The probiotic content of Miso makes it beneficial to the body, starting from the gut. A healthy gut promotes better immunity, digestion, and mood. Reduced gas, bloating, stomach pain, and constipation are benefits of a healthy digestive system.

3 Miso Health Benefits for Gut Health

1. Improves digestion 

Due to Miso’s probiotic qualities, its natural enzymes can aid digestion.

Additionally, Miso aids with some nutrient absorption. By including different types of Miso in your diet, you may support levels of good bacteria and digestive enzymes. What results is an enhanced balance of your gut microbes. Your digestive machines will also work efficiently.

In addition, a healthy gut flora balance encourages proper digestion and guards against gastrointestinal discomfort. Miso is also a potent prebiotic due to its high dietary fiber content, which helps to feed the bacteria in our stomachs.

2. Boosts immunity

The abundance of probiotic bacteria in Miso may improve immune system health and support the prevention of illnesses. Frequent consumption of fermented foods, such as Miso, may help you fight infections without needing a lot of antibiotic supplements. 

Since your gut houses a large portion of your immune system, Miso’s probiotics work to maintain a healthy immune system. However, additional research is required to evaluate the advantages of various bacterial strains, particularly those most frequently found in Miso. 

3. Increase Vitamin Intake 

Healthy bacteria in the stomach produce vitamins, especially vitamins K and B12, as a byproduct of their metabolism. Vitamin B12 is mainly responsible for keeping the digestive tract healthy. Consuming fermented foods may indirectly improve your nutritional status by balancing the composition of your gut microbes. 

Additionally, fermentation lowers toxins and anti-nutrients, such as phytic acid in the soybeans used to make Miso. 

3 Miso Side Effects

1. Gastric Cancer Risks

A higher risk of gastric cancer is linked to a high intake of fermented soy foods like Miso. However, unfermented soy products have been linked with a reduced incidence of stomach cancer.

Although the study was carried out on people that took a wide range of soy foods, not just Miso, it showed that moderate consumption of fermented soy should reduce gastric cancer risks. 

2. Allergy

If you have a soy allergy, it’s best to steer clear of Miso. Miso is made from fermented soybean and, thus, contains trace amounts of intact soybean allergens. Consequently, eating miso soup may cause allergic reactions. 

Miso is also sodium-rich, so it’s a good idea to be aware of your overall salt intake. A tablespoon of miso paste contains 634 milligrams of sodium, which is about 26% of your daily recommended maximum intake.

3. High Blood Pressure 

Miso contains a lot of sodium, and Japanese individuals consume roughly 10% of their daily sodium requirements from miso soup alone. It is commonly known that drinking too much sodium can cause high blood pressure. 

The isoflavones in fermented Miso lower blood pressure, indicating that miso consumption is likely not linked to high blood pressure levels. 

Still, it is better to take Miso sparingly if you have a hypertensive history. The good news is even if you are on a low-sodium diet, Miso has enough health advantages to be part of your healthy, balanced diet.

Miso Probiotics Alternative

Miso has certain probiotics that can improve gut health, but other fermented products may be preferable for those seeking a more comprehensive range of bacterial strains.

Here are some alternatives to consider:

1. Probiotic Pills

One advantage of probiotic pills is that they are a concentrated source of probiotics. A single pill typically contains up to 20 billion CFUs (colony-forming units). 

Probiotic pills make it easier to get a wide variety of bacteria in one serving than by eating Miso. However, some people have adverse reactions to probiotics pills, so it’s best to talk with your doctor first if you think this might be an option for you.

The following probiotic brand has fewer side effects and is suitable for people with sensitive stomachs:

Bauer Nutrition Biotics 8

Common strains you can find in Biotics 8 are Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium. Lactobacillus Acidophilus is a strain of bacteria that has been used for centuries to help with digestive issues, particularly lactose intolerance. It’s also good for overall gut health. Bifidobacterium help inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria in your gut, leading to better digestion and overall health.

In addition to beneficial probiotic strains, YourBiology has prebiotics. Prebiotics are non-digestible ingredients that provide nutrients and food for probiotic bacteria to grow in your gut.

Yourbiology Gut+ bottle

They’re also known as Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS). YourBiology contains both a high-strength probiotic formula and a prebiotic blend. This combination allows their products to support digestive health, immune function, and overall well-being.

2. Kemfi

Kefir is a fermented milk product that contains several probiotics, including Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens and Streptococcus thermophilus. 

These bacteria can help improve your immune system and digestion, provide antioxidant protection and help decrease inflammation in the body. 

Kefir drink can be enjoyed on its own or blended with fruits or vegetables to create a smoothie. Kefir can be found at most health food stores and supermarkets. 

3. Kimchi

Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean side dish made from cabbage and other vegetables, along with red pepper flakes, garlic, and ginger. 

It contains Lactobacillus plantarum, which helps improve digestion by producing short-chain fatty acids that fight against harmful bacteria in your gut. 

The best way to consume kimchi is by making it at home. You can also find it in the refrigerated section at most supermarkets. Kimchi is usually served as a side dish but can also be added to soups or stews for extra flavor and nutrients.

4. Tempeh

Tempeh is a fermented soy product that is high in fiber and protein. It contains beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus, which contribute to healthy digestion. 

Tempeh also contains high levels of protein, fiber and B vitamins. You can find tempeh in the refrigerator section of your local grocery store, or you can make it at home using a starter culture.

5. Natto

Natto is a fermented soybean dish that has been part of traditional Japanese cuisine for centuries. It is made by allowing live Bacillus subtilis bacteria to ferment soybeans for several hours. 

Natto is known for its pleasant smell, sticky texture, and slightly bitter flavor. Natto contains probiotic strains that can help promote gut health, including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum.

You can get the same probiotic benefits from natto as from Miso. However, natto may be an acquired taste and requires a longer fermentation process than most other foods.

6. Sauerkaraut

This probiotic beverage uses the same fermentation process as Miso, but it’s made with Sauerkraut instead of soybeans. 

Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage dish with many of the same probiotics found in Miso, such as lactobacillus plantarum. It contains live bacteria strains of lactobacillus and other probiotics, antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.

You can eat Sauerkraut or add it to your favorite dishes such as salads, stews or sandwiches. It’s also suitable for vegans.

7. Probiotic Yogurt

Probiotic yogurt is made with live cultures, which are beneficial bacteria that help keep your digestive tract healthy. 

Yogurt is one of the best probiotic foods. It contains lactobacillus and streptococcus thermophilus strains, which aid digestion. 

Probiotic yogurt contains many other ingredients, such as protein and calcium, so it’s essential to check the label before purchasing some brands if you have specific dietary needs.

8. Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that contains various probiotics, including Saccharomyces boulardii and Lactobacillus plantarum. 

Kombucha may help improve digestion and reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It’s also chock-full of healthy antioxidants and amino acids.


Is it OK to drink Miso Soup every day?

It’s OK to drink miso soup every day. Miso contains probiotics that help promote digestive health and protein and fiber. However, the high amount of sodium in the soup can be problematic for people with high blood pressure or heart disease, so consult your doctor before incorporating it into your diet. 

Which Miso has the most probiotics?

Miso is a fermented food, so it contains probiotics. However, the exact amount of probiotics in different types of Miso depends on how long they’ve been aged and what ingredients are used to make them. Some companies add more probiotic cultures during production, while others rely on naturally occurring bacteria in fermented soybeans.

What temp kills probiotics in Miso?

Probiotic bacteria are killed when miso soup is boiled. Don’t boil the soup if you want to keep the probiotics alive. Instead, heat it gently on the stovetop until it’s warm enough to eat without burning your mouth.

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