Schedule your free consultation today.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

All fields are required



(833) 330-3663

Is Soy Sauce a Super Food? Functional Effects Say Yes!

Posted in Our Blog on March 17, 2024

Is Soy Sauce a Super Food? Functional Effects Say Yes!

Image by ally j from Pixabay

Could soy sauce be the next super food? A review of several studies published in Science Direct discusses the health benefits of this functional food. More than just a seasoning, this flavor additive packs a punch. Both to your taste buds and potentially other parts of your body.

What is Soy Sauce?

You have likely used soy sauce, but have you ever considered what it actually is?

Soy sauce is a commonly used seasoning with a historical story. Once used as a food preservative due to the high salt content, this fermented product has a place on tables across the world today. Including the United States.

Common dishes featuring soy sauce include:

  • Salad dressings
  • Chinese soups (like hot and sour soup)
  • Stir-fry
  • Fried rice
  • A wide array of vegetarian dishes

Soy sauce can be made by two different methods. The first being the traditional fermentation method, and the second being a chemical reaction process called acid hydrolysis.

The bulk of the reviewed health benefits are derived from the traditional fermentation method, so this is what we are focusing on here.

How is Soy Sauce Made?

While recipes for this salty potential super food vary from region to region, most soy sauce fermentation follows these basic steps.

  1. Soybeans or soybean flakes are combined with wheat and starter cultures. These starter cultures are made up of specific microorganisms proven to ferment this concoction into soy sauce.
  2. Then you let it set. Over time, the microbes in the culture produce enzymes that break down the component proteins, fats, and starches and transform them into a wide range of molecules.
  3. In some recipes, heat is added to increase browning. This adds not only color, but complexity to the flavor.
  4. And then you wait. Depending on the recipe, fermentation can last anywhere from a month to four years. Then it is ready to be bottled and consumed.

A lot of work to make one product. But totally worth it!

Back to the topic.

Is soy sauce a super food? If so. How?

Soy Sauce is a Super Food Because of Functional Benefits

Why exactly is soy a super food? According to a compilation of studies, it helps promote gastric juice secretion, assisting in digestion. Some studies show an impact on blood pressure, antimicrobial activity, eye health and more.

Let’s explore.

Digestive Benefits Make Soy Sauce a Super Food

Soy sauce promotes gastric juice secretions in human studies.

One study measured an average 46.8 mL secreted gastric juice in study participants given 25mL of soy sauce in 300 ml of hot water.

Gastric juices allow the body to break down food in the stomach more efficiently and can have a positive impact on human digestion.

Antimicrobial Activities Makes Soy Sauce a Super Food

Not only does soy sauce help preserve food, but studies have also shown it can fight foodborne pathogens. Certain types of soy sauce have been shown to kill Escherichia coli, Shigella flexneri, Salmonella typhi, Salmonella paratyphi A, Salmonella enteritidis, and Vibrio cholera within 6 hours.

Anticataract Effect Makes Soy Sauce a Super Food

Studies show that soy sauce can have a positive effect on cataracts. Cataracts are a common, age-related change in the eye crystalline lens tissue. The most common cause of cataracts is oxidative stress. Antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E have been shown useful in preventing or slowing cataract development. The antioxidative compounds 4-hydroxy-3(2H)-furanones showed positive results in two cataract modes – in vitro and in vivo.

Mixed Data on Effects on Blood Pressure

According to the source, soy sauce has a “hypotensive effect,” meaning that it helps to lower blood pressure.

This data is backed by a study where dogs weighing 6 to 10 kg were fed 25 to 30 ml of soy sauce. According to the study, blood pressures of these canines decreased 1 minute after soy sauce was given. Blood pressure returned to baseline levels within the hour, so no long-term effects were observed.

The reason for this hypotensive effect, researchers posit, lies in a substance found in soy sauce that promotes histamine absorption. It is believed that this histamine absorption is responsible for the decrease in blood pressure.

This seems counterintuitive, as soy sauce (even lower sodium varieties) are notoriously high in sodium. A single tablespoon of soy sauce contains nearly 40% of the daily recommended 2,300 milligrams of sodium.

While salt is a necessary nutrient, excess has been shown to increase blood pressure. High blood pressure is the precursor to many other health complications such as heart problems (e.g., heart failure and increased risk of heart attack), increased risk of stroke, kidney disease, and blindness to name a few.

High levels of sodium draw water out of your cells and into your blood vessels. This dehydrates the body and increases the amount of fluid in your blood vessel. Neither of these consequences are beneficial in the long run.

Do Benefits Outweigh the Risk in the Potential Super Food?

With conflicting information between the benefits of the product as a whole and the negative effect excessive salt has on the body, you have to decide. Do the benefits of soy sauce outweigh the risk in this potential super food?

As the saying goes, everything in moderation. Excessive amounts of soy sauce, or regular use of the seasoning may have an adverse effect on blood pressure. Which in turn, has an adverse effect on the body.

Soy sauce isn’t, however, without benefit. While more studies may be necessary to confirm these benefits, antioxidants, antimicrobials, and histamine absorption are all good things.

Including soy sauce in your normal meal rotation can provide some health benefits. Does this make soy sauce a super food? If not a super food, is sure is super in my book.

Want to Know More About Food Safety?

If you’d like to know more about food safety in the news, like Is Soy Sauce a Super Food?, check out the Make Food Safe Blog. We regularly update trending topics, foodborne infections in the news, recalls, and more! Stay tuned for quality information to help keep your family safe, while The Lange Law Firm, PLLC strives to Make Food Safe!

By: Heather Van Tassell (contributing writer, non-lawyer)