It is unfortunate that vitamin K has become the “forgotten vitamin” – nearly everyone is deficient in it, much like most people do not get enough vitamin D, according to top vitamin K researcher Dr. Cees Vermeer.
While most people do get adequate vitamin K from the food they eat to maintain sufficient blood clotting, their levels are not enough for protective effects against a number of health concerns.
You should know that vitamin K comes in two forms: K1, which is found in green vegetables and goes to your liver directly and assists in healthy blood clotting, and K2, which is in high amounts in your gut but is merely passed out in your stool. Vitamin K2 goes not only to your liver, but also your vessel walls, bones, and tissues.
Vitamin K2 particularly has different other forms, including MK7, which is considered the most significant form for its more practical application and longer-acting quality.
Natto, a Japanese fermented soy product, offers vitamin K2 in abundance.
Here is some important information on this food.
- Natto is a fermented soybean dish from Japan known for its strong flavor, pungent aroma, and stringy characteristic.
- This dish is made through adding Bacillus natto, a kind of beneficial bacteria, to steamed or boiled soybeans.
- Natto offers not only abundant amounts of vitamin K2, but also between 1 million to 1 billion active good bacteria strains per gram.
- It is more palatable when eaten with traditional soy sauce or hot mustard.
- Natto can be bought from Japanese or Korean specialty stores and health food outlets.
If you decide to buy natto, you can keep it inside the refrigerator for up to seven days. Freezing, however, will make it last for two months. Remember, too, that store-bought natto should come with a no- or low-odor label.
But did you know that you can make your own natto at home? You will simply need one pound of organic soybeans and 0.1 gram of Bacillus natto bacterial powder, which you may substitute with a package of store-bought natto. The latter is available at Japanese and Korean groceries.
Here are simple, easy-to-do steps in making natto:
- Wash the soybeans. Soak them for 24 hours.
- For 3 to 6 hours, steam the soybeans until they can be crushed. Drain afterwards.
- Using boiling water, sterilize all utensils and the container. Wash your hands as well.
- Pour the soybeans into the sterilized container.
- Cool the boiled water, and mix 2 tablespoons with the bacteria powder. Pour it over the soybeans and stir.
- For store-bought natto, add to a small amount of pre-boiled, then cooled, water. Stir until paste is formed. Pour the paste over the soybeans, and then stir. (Make sure the ratio is 5 to 10 percent natto to 90 to 95 percent cooked soybeans.)
- Transfer beans to the sterilized containers. Place in thin layer, no more than an inch high.
- Place a sterilized linen cloth or cheesecloth over the dishes. Secure cloths with clips or rubber bands.
- Place the dishes inside the oven (turned off) with the light on for around 22 to 24 hours. The light should keep the temperature of the oven at around 99°F to 108°F.
- Monitor the temperature. If too cool, add another source of light, such as a working lamp (40W to 60W).
- After 22-24 hours, remove the clips/rubber bands. Place the container in the fridge with the cloth still on. Refrigerate overnight before consuming.
Natto can be an acquired taste because of its strong and even overpowering flavor and smell. You may also lack the time to make it for yourself. If this is the case, you may explore vitamin K2 supplementation to satisfy your body’s requirement fo
Shiela Liu is a food blogger who is into fermented dishes like kimchi, sauerkraut, and natto. She eats them not only because she has “an adventurous palate,” but because of their stores of nutrients, such as natto’s vitamin K2.