By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
A Japanese diet staple, miso soup is a fantastic immune system booster. The soup is traditionally made with miso paste (mashed up soybeans, sea salt, and sometimes barley or rice), seaweed, tofu, and water. Miso comes in several colors ranging from white to dark brown, depending on what it is made with; generally, the lighter the color, the milder and sweeter the flavor.
As a fermented food, miso helps promote growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract, which supports immune system function. Seaweed in miso soup contains all 56 minerals as well as alginates, which can help us rid our bodies of radiation. Tofu contributes even more protein and heart-healthy isoflavones. Be sure to use organic tofu and miso, though, as most commercial soybean products in the U.S. contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
I like to add fresh ginger and garlic – not just for flavor – because these herbs are powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents. I also use shitake mushrooms to help make this soup an incredible immune system strengthener!
*Choose organic produce whenever possible*
- 1 to 3 Tbsp ginger root, chopped
- 2 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 to 3 Tbsp miso paste
- Shitake mushrooms, ½ to 1 cup thinly sliced
- Organic extra firm tofu, 1 to 2 cups diced into cubes
- 2 to 3 ounces of Hijiki seaweed
- Scallions, ½ cup chopped
- 4 to 6 cups filtered water
If using dried seaweed and mushrooms, reconstitute them in warm water, then slice into bitesized pieces.
Bring a pot or saucepan of water to a boil. Remove pot from heat and add tofu, ginger, garlic, mushrooms and seaweed, and let sit for several minutes. In a separate bowl, mix ½ cup of this broth with the miso paste until the miso dissolves, then add the miso mixture to the soup (if you reheat the soup, do not let it boil). Ladle into 4 bowls and garnish with chopped scallions.
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