The Health Benefits of Miso: A Gastroenterologist’s Perspective

by Ella

Move aside, apple-cider vinegar—there’s a new gut health hero making waves. Dr. Bulsiewicz, MD, MSCI, a renowned gastroenterologist and advocate for gut health, recently took to Instagram to highlight the virtues of a delicious and versatile condiment that deserves more attention.

Maintaining a happy gut involves various factors, and incorporating a range of gut-friendly foods into your diet is a key aspect. Fermented foods have long been in vogue in the health and wellness world, and this time, Dr. B focused on the often underrated fermented powerhouse: miso.


Miso, an ancient Japanese seasoning made by fermenting soybeans with koji, offers a unique flavor and an array of health benefits due to its longer fermentation process. Dr. B breaks down why miso deserves a place in your diet:


1. Supporting Gut Health

“People who consume more miso are less likely to have stomach issues,” states Dr. B. The probiotics formed during the fermentation process are believed to contribute to a healthier gut microbiome, promoting better digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune function.


2. Protecting Your Heart

Despite its higher sodium content, miso appears to have a positive impact on heart health. Populations with higher miso consumption tend to have lower rates of cardiovascular disease. A 2017 study suggested that regular miso soup consumption might help protect blood vessels and lower heart disease risk factors.


3. Lowering the Risk of Certain Cancers

Miso, particularly soy-based varieties, contains isoflavones known for their potential in combating breast and prostate cancers. The study Dr. B references indicates a potential protective effect against lung, colon, liver, and stomach cancers. While more research is needed, incorporating miso into your diet seems to have promising outcomes.

4. Protection Against Radiation Exposure

Historical accounts from World War II and the Chernobyl disaster inspired the belief that miso protects against radiation exposure. A study conducted on mice in 2013 found that those fed miso showed less organ damage from radiation, particularly with longer fermentation periods.

According to Dr. B, the longer the fermentation time, the greater the benefits. Seeking out unpasteurized red miso is recommended for maximum gut health perks.

The Bottom Line

If you’re ready to embrace the gut-friendly benefits of miso, there are numerous ways to incorporate it into your meals. Beyond the classic miso soup, you can blend it into butter, sauces, marinades, nut butter, or even desserts. Dr. B advises adding miso to lukewarm dishes to preserve the probiotic bacteria.

In conclusion, miso stands out not just for its savory flavor but as a valuable addition to a health-conscious diet. Dr. B’s insights shed light on the potential of this fermented gem, urging individuals to explore its culinary versatility while reaping its numerous health benefits.



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