“Sticky foods” are generally rich in nutrients and good for your skin. They are great ingredients for busy people who have no time to cook healthy meals.
1. Variations in Sticky Foods
- Processed food… Natto (fermented beans)
- Seaweed… Mekabu and Mozuku
- Mushrooms… Nameko
- Leafy vegetables… Okra and Nalta jute
- Root vegetables… Yam and Taro
2. Health Benefits of Sticky Foods
All of these sticky foods have a common nutrient called mucin. This sticky substance is made of a combination of protein and sugar, which helps clean the blood and stop blood sugar from going up. As a result, it prevents stroke, heart attack and hardening of the arteries. Mucin also protects the mucous membranes of digestive organs, which lowers the risk of gastritis and gastric ulcers. It also protects the mucous membranes in your nose and prevents you from getting a cold. Moreover, the nutrient has an anti-aging effect that stimulates the cells.
Other than mucin, these foods contain more nutrients like water-soluble dietary fiber, alginic acid, fucoidan and pectin. They reduce cholesterol in the blood and prevent constipation by increasing intestinal lactobacillus bifidus. Especially, fucodain subdues Helicobacter pylori which are believed to cause stomach cancer.
Natto: It is rich in dietary fiber that regulates intestinal function. Soy isoflavone controls female hormones. It is also high in vitamin B2 which makes higher energy metabolism.
Mekabu: It is rich in alginic acid which absorbs and removes cholesterol.
Mozuku: It contains a lot of fucodain which subdues Helicobacter pylori.
Okra: It has a great amount of pectin, which is great to help you lose weight as it activates intestinal movement and regulates fat absorption.
Nalta jute: It is a great source of carotene as well as calcium and vitamins. Carotene has an anti-aging effect and Nalta jute contains more of it than other leafy vegetables.
Yam and Taro: Their potassium helps edema (swelling) go down and also gets rid of unnecessary salt from your body. They are lower in calories among root vegetables and rich in dietary fiber.
3. How to Eat These Superfoods
There are many ways to cook these foods in Japan. However, as mucin is weak to heat, it is recommended to be eaten raw. Here are some way of eating.
Sticky Don (Neba Neba Don)
An easy donburi dish with sticky ingredients on top of rice with soy sauce. The ingredients can be a combination of natto, okra, mekabu, and grated yam, and topped with a raw egg or a soft poached egg. Aavocados, kimchi , fresh tuna, and mushed fatty tuna also go well .
Sticky is called “Neba Neba” (the mimetic word which describes “sticky”) in Japanese. ”Don” is an abbreviation of “Donburi”, meaning rice bowl dish. We use various “neba neba” food in our fridge, and put them on the rice as donburi. It is very easy, quick and healthy dish! It is good as vegan food and also gluten free.
Natto has various variations!
Natto is a useful food that goes well with many different ingredients. It can go with pasta, somen (Japanese thin noodle) and udon (you can also add okra or grated yam). Also it can be an ingredient for an omelette with cheese. Natto toast is another amazing way to enjoy natto.
Nalta jute can be boiled and seasoned with sesame, or deep fried with shrimp as a mixed tempura.
Nameko is a good ingredient to add in with other kinds of mushrooms in sticky sauce for tofu. It is also a popular ingredient for miso soup.
Okra can be added into salad after boiled, eaten grated with soy sauce or on top of soba.
Taro is used for Japanese stewed dishes, miso soup or other types of soup.
In Japan, many people love these sticky foods for their high nutrition, taste and texture. They are super foods for weight loss, anti-aging, health and beauty for women. Why don’t you add them to your regular diet from now on?