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Superfoods get their reputation because they’re nutrient-dense foods that do for your body what it might normally take a variety of other foods (in copious amounts) to do — or because they may contain that “one amazing” ingredient or compound that can’t be found in other foods.
The latter describes the traditional Japanese superfood, natto.
It contains an enzyme known as nattokinase, which has proven to be a natural wonder for healthy head-to-toe circulation.
But have you heard it can be a panacea for your sinus problems as well?
As we enter fall allergy season, you’ll want to know all about it…
What is natto and nattokinase?
Natto is a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans. It’s been a staple for thousands of years, known not only for its unique taste, smell and cheese-like flavor — but most importantly for the health benefits attributed to it.
In fact, studies have linked higher natto consumption with a lower risk of heart problems and normal circulation. And it’s very likely one of the reasons the Japanese peoples enjoy long, healthy lifespans.
Those health benefits are due to a natural enzyme, known as nattokinase, that’s produced during natto’s fermentation…
Nattokinase for sinus relief
While natto is packed with vitamins (it’s the food highest in vitamin K2!), minerals and protein — nattokinase is the component we’re interested in when it comes to getting ready for allergy season, especially if you’re prone to sinus problems.
In fact, if you’re hit hard year after year with painful sinus problems, like chronic sinusitis, hold on to your hat…
Researchers from Fukai University in Japan were able to demonstrate that the benefits of nattokinase aren’t limited to the cardiovascular system.
Believe it or not, fibrin (the enzyme that can lead to blood clotting) is a feature of numerous other health conditions — including sinus issues. And surprisingly, nasal polyps are actually made up of fibrin.
Researchers found that when they incubated nasal polyps in nattokinase, the polyps began to dissolve!
If that weren’t enough, when the researchers tested the effects of nattokinase on the nasal discharge of patients with chronic sinus problems — that mucus that stops up your sinus passageways and causes intense pressure and pain and can lead to infection — they found that the enzyme significantly reduced its viscosity.
In other words, nattokinase works to support sinus health in two ways:
- First, the enzyme works to shrink the nasal polyps which can lock mucus in your sinus cavities, setting you up for an infection.
- And nattokinase thins mucus, allowing your sinuses to drain.
Because research on the enzyme has been so promising teams are now delving into how it could be used to improve symptoms of other respiratory problems, like bronchitis and even COPD.
How to use nattokinase for better sinus health
There are two ways you can get the nattokinase you need to enjoy better sinus health as allergy season gets underway.
First, you can eat natto itself, which can usually be found at your local Asian or Japanese market.
While the most traditional Japanese way of serving natto is simply on a bowl of rice, many also like to consume it in hot miso soup. However, you’ll want to avoid excessively high temperatures, which could destroy the nattokinase enzyme you’re looking for.
Of course, hands-down the easiest way to ensure you’re getting appropriate levels of nattokinase (especially if you’re not a fan of natto’s taste), is to take a supplement.
Since I definitely fall into the “not a fan” category of stinky, sticky foods, I get my nattokinase from Peak Blood Flow™. Just one capsule daily delivers 100 mg of the enzyme, which seems to be a nattokinase sweet spot.
Since nattokinase does a great job of promoting normal circulation, if you’re taking blood thinners you should consult with your health care practitioner first. But if you’re not and want to breathe a lot easier throughout the year — give it a go!
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Health Benefits of Nattokinase – WebMD