Doenjang, a traditional Korean fermented soy bean paste, has been one of the main ingredients in Korean dishes for centuries. The taste and smell of doenjang may be too strong for non-Koreans who try it first time because it’s fermented for weeks or months, but for that reason, its nutritional value is very high. Here are some benefits of doenjang that are being acknowledged by many nutritional experts recently.
Doenjang is good for preventing and treating cancer (anticancer, anti-carcinogenic).
The main ingredient of doenjang, soybean is rich in isoflavones, and many scientists and nutritionists agree that the isoflavones of soybeans are very effective in preventing cancer. Studies have shown that the anticancer properties are even stronger in fermented soybean food such as doenjang.
The Korean Cancer Prevention Association recommends to have doenjang jjigae (a soup made from doenjang) every day because of its benefits in treating and preventing cancer. The nutrients of doenjang remain the same after boiling, so doenjang jjigae would be a perfect way to have doenjang - it is actually one of the most popular dishes in Korea.
There is one thing to be careful about, though. Doenjang contains much salt, so doenjang jjigae or seasoned doenjang sauce for bulgogi can be pretty salty. To balance the saltiness, add lots of vegetables, such as Korean leek (buchu) or zucchini, when you make doenjang jjigae.
Doenjang helps lower blood pressure (doenjang helps prevent high blood pressure).
The linoleic and linolenic acid in doenjang is effective in preventing many blood-vessel-related diseases: it helps lower blood pressure, reduces cholesterol and makes blood vessels more elastic and healthy.
Doenjang helps digestion and constipation.
Prebiotics in doenjang helps grow beneficial digestive bacteria in the large intestine and stimulates bowel movements. Having thin doenjang soups is one of common traditional Korean remedies for indigestion.
Doenjang helps strengthen the liver.
Studies have shown that doenjang is effective in reducing the activation of aminotransferase that is resulted from liver or heart damage.
Doenjang is an anti-oxidant and anti-aging food.
Polyphenol contained in doenjang, such as isojlavin or melanoidin, is a good anti-oxidant. The anti-oxidant properties of doenjang get even stronger through fermentation process.
Doenjang helps prevent senile dementia.
The lecithin and saponin in soybeans help reduce the development of senile dementia by stimulating brain activities and slowing down aging.
Doenjang helps prevent osteoporosis.
There have been studies showing a compound called isoflavone, rich in soybeans, helps prevent or slow bone loss.
Doenjang is a great source of protein.
Soybeans are abundant in good quality protein and fat. Doenjang has about 20 different kinds of amino acids developed through fermentation.