Written and illustrated by Misa Ono
Enzyme foods seem to be popular overseas nowadays, too. It helps metabolism, digestion and anti-aging. Of course, since I am a woman, I try to take enzyme as much as possible to keep myself young and healthy. There are various kinds of enzymes, and koji has more than 100 kinds of enzymes. Its main enzymes turn protein to amino acids and starch to sugar. There are actually so many other enzymes; even specialists don’t know some of them yet. What an amazing microbiota! Koji enzymes work until 60℃.
Since the higher temperature kills the enzyme, it is better not to heat it before consuming. Hmmm, however, we want to have something warm in a cold winter, don’t we? Don’t worry, koji turns protein and the starch in rice into various vitamins with its enzymes before it is damaged. As such koji makes the enzymes before it is heated, so even with damaged enzymes, it still has nutrition, which means you can heat it up and still get some of the benefits. In addition, absorption efficiency of nutrition is enhanced and dead enzymes still can be fed to beneficial bacterium inside your body. Therefore, I eat both raw and cooked foods. Though koji is not a medicine, it is known to have the following health benefits: Prevention of diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and amnesia, clean blood, fatigue recovery, stress reduction, weight loss, enhances skin tone, lustrous hair, skin-beautifying, improving symptoms of allergies, eczema ,constipation, detox, anti-aging, etc.
If I would say I was 80% healthy before eating koji regularly, I became 90% healthier since I started. I was not especially sick before, so there was no tremendous effect I could see; however, I felt my skin condition improved, and I don’t have as much of a hangover having alcohol. Careful, though, since koji dishes are so tasty, you may eat too much, which doesn’t make them a good option for people on a diet!