Miso Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 03/03/22 •  12 min read
miso benefits and side effects

HEALTH

Energy: miso is good for / helps aid digestion, promote brain health, reduces gas, constipation and antibiotic-related diarrhea, reduce symptoms linked to digestive problems including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) 

Longevity: miso is good for / helps boost immunity, combat free radicals, detoxification, gut health, heart heath, lower blood pressure, protect against type 2 diabetes, reduce cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of  lung, colon, stomach and breast cancers, ward off infections

Appearance: miso is good for / helps lessen or reduce eczema symptoms, reduce bloating

Miso is…

a kids book about plant based eating
Teach Kids Where Our Food Comes From. Look Inside!

ENVIRONMENT

Water footprint: low, it takes 572 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of soya paste / 69 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of soya paste

Carbon footprint: low, 2.0 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of soybeans, a car driving equivalent of 5 miles or 8 kilometers

Destruction: low, the two top producing soya producing countries are the US and Brazil, together they produce about 64% of the world’s supply, soya is Brazil’s biggest export by value, there are serious concerns about how much of it is behind deforestation in the Amazon and surrounding regions, however most of the world’s soya is fed to livestock, only 6% of it is eaten directly by humans, eating soy is much better for the environment than eating animal products, soya may also be planted on Amazon land previously deforested for cattle, be sure to buy organic, as pesticides contaminate soil, water, air, etc., for soy it is best to buy products sustainably grown and not products of Brazil

Miso is…

ANIMALS

Kills: none, miso production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, miso production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from miso production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Miso is…

LABORERS

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Miso…

Where does most miso come from?

Japan is the world’s leading producer of miso.

Is miso nutritious?

Miso is complete source of protein and rich in a variety of nutrients and beneficial plant compounds but high in sodium.

miso is alkaline.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Is miso alkaline or acidic? Miso is alkaline. What is the pH level of miso? Miso and miso soup has an 8.0 pH level once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are found in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

miso is gluten free.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Is miso gluten free? Yes, miso is gluten free. Miso does not contain gluten. Miso is a fermented soybean paste, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

miso is a common food allergen: soy.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is miso a common food allergen? Yes, miso contains a common food allergen: soy. Many people experience allergic reactions to miso.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

miso is a fermented food.

fermented foods benefit gut health and good bacteria

Is miso a fermented food? Yes, miso is a fermented food.

Foods that are fermented use an old process that can extend shelf life, provide healthy probiotics and add nutritional value. One notable nutrient that can be acquired is vitamin B12 -especially desirable for vegans and vegetarians, as it typically cannot be found in plant foods.

Fermented foods help the body:

When too many bad gut microbes exist it can create an imbalance between beneficial and harmful gut bacteria, which leads to health problems. In some cases intestinal walls can weaken and their contents may leak into the bloodstream, commonly referred to as leaky gut syndrome. Fermented foods are known to strengthen intestinal walls. For optimal gut health and overall wellbeing fermented foods are a great daily addition to your diet.

Common fermented foods include:

Check out this Fermented Foods List to see them all.

Here’s an amazing cookbook filled with delicious fermented recipes: Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables & Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes & Pastes by Christopher Shockey and Kirsten K. Shockey

miso has a low water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Does miso have a high or low water footprint? Miso has a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of miso? It takes 572 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of soya paste / 69 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of soya paste.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource? Once it’s gone, it’s gone!

We must do what we can to conserve fresh water and a major way to reduce needless water consumption is to change the way we eat. That’s not to say we need to reduce our water intake….quite the opposite. It’s important for our health to drink lots of water and eat foods that hydrate. The kind of water conservation we’re talking about here is behind the scenes.

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

miso has a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does miso have a high or low carbon footprint? Miso has a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of miso? It takes around 2.0 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of soybeans, a car driving equivalent of 5 miles or 8 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

There are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce energy output. According to Oxford Martin School researchers, if the world went vegan, eliminating animal-derived products, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

miso is sustainable (unless soy is sourced from Brazil).

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, is miso eco friendly? Is miso sustainable?

Miso production is relatively sustainable (unless soy is sourced from Brazil).

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

miso is vegan.

benefits of vegan food to eat on a vegan diet which helps save animals

Is miso vegan? Yes, miso is vegan. Miso is fermented soybeans and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. However, it should be noted in some but rare cases miso may contain added fish products. Be sure to check the product label for specification.

According to Sentient Media, “more than 200 million land animals are killed for food around the world every day. Including wild-caught and farmed fishes, we get a total closer to 3 billion animals killed daily.”

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List

miso may or may not have labor issues.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is miso a product with laborer concerns?

At this time there have been no major concerns with miso or soybean production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!

It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Sources:

Miso – FoodData Central

Adriane Marie

As an educator, author and conscious consumer advocate, I study and organize ethical info for you to quickly see how our purchases impact animals, people and the planet. I hope you find this HEALabel knowledge useful and can apply it to your life for personal and societal improvement and empowerment.

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