Natto Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 11/11/22 •  12 min read

What are natto benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are natto pros and cons and how buying them will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

natto benefits and side effects

Food is something we consume every day. If you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on natto benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about natto benefits and side effects. This will include natto benefits for your health and potential risks, natto water footprint and carbon footprint, sustainability, if natto is vegan or impacts animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if natto is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about natto benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Top Natto Benefits And Side Effects

HEALTH

Energy: natto is good for / helps aid digestion, brain health reduce gas, constipation, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

Longevity: natto is good for / helps bone strengthening, boost immunity, control blood pressure, detoxification, dissolve blood clots, gut health, heart health, lower the risk of heart disease, nutrient absorption, reduce blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, reduce the risk of certain cancers

Appearance: natto is good for / helps reduce bloating, weight loss

Additionally, natto is…

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08/20/2022 01:30 am GMT

ENVIRONMENT

Water footprint: likely low, 2,145 liters of water used to produce 1 kilogram of soybeans / 257 gallons of water used to produce 1 pound of soybeans

Carbon footprint: likely moderate, 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: moderate, natto production is moderately sustainable, 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

Natto is…

ANIMALS

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

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

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from natto 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

Natto 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

Natto…

Is natto good for you? Is natto nutritious?

Yes! Natto is high in Vitamin K, Vitamins C and B, as well as B6 and B12, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Iron and probiotics.

natto is alkaline.

acidic foods and alkaline diet to improve ph levels

Is natto alkaline or acidic? Natto is alkaline. What is the pH of natto? Natto has a 7.5 pH level once digested. Soybeans dried and cooked are alkaline foods.

When you eat food, it is broken 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

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08/15/2022 12:14 pm GMT

natto is gluten free.

gluten free foods and what to eat on a gluten free diet

Is natto gluten free? Yes, natto is gluten free. Natto does not contain gluten. Natto is 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

natto is a common food allergen: soy.

the most common food allergens include milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

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

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

natto is a fermented food.

fermented foods are excellent for gut health and good bacteria

Is natto fermented? Yes, natto 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 digest food, fight off bad bacteria, make certain vitamins, maintain a healthy balance, and restore gut health after taking antibiotics. 

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: kefir, tempeh, natto, kombucha, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut and yogurt.

Check out this Fermented Foods List to see them all.

natto likely has a low water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Does natto have a high or low water footprint? Natto likely has a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of natto? It takes 2,145 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of soybeans / 257 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of soybeans.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

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?

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

natto likely has a moderate carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does natto have a high or low carbon footprint? Natto likely has a moderate carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of natto? 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 we can take 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

natto is sustainable (unless soy comes from Brazil).

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

Overall, is natto eco friendly? Is natto sustainable?

Natto production is relatively sustainable unless soy is from Brazil. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

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.

Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’

natto is vegan.

vegan food to eat on a vegan diet

Is natto vegan? Yes, natto is vegan. Natto is fermented soybeans, a type of legume and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. Be sure no fish products have been added to ensure natto is vegan.

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 farms and the livestock industry 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. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.

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

natto may or may not have labor issues.

labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is natto a product with labor concerns?

At this time there are no major concerns with natto 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 be associated 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. 

Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade

This post was all about natto benefits and side effects.

Sources:

Harvard Medical School: Fermented foods can add depth to your diet

Natto – FoodData Central

Soybean (Small Type) | Agricultural Marketing Service

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.