What is miso, you ask? If you've ever been to a Japanese restaurant, you've probably seen miso soup listed as an appetizer on the menu. In fact, you've probably ordered it before, but if you're like me, you don't actually know what it's made of (it just tastes good). The miso found in these restaurants is a thick paste made from fermented soybeans (#appetizing). Miso alone has a strong, tangy flavor, so most people don't eat it on its own. Instead, they use it as a flavoring agent for meat, fish and even salad dressings. However, the coolest thing about miso is its killer health benefits. So, grab a bowl and see what the world of miso has to offer.

1. Packed with Protein

lentil, mung bean, soy, cereal, pasture, pea, vegetable, legume
Emanuel Storch

Move over protein powder, miso's taking over. One cup of miso has about 32 grams of protein, (that's like, really great), and it contains all of the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein (thank the soybeans for that). So, you'll be feeling fuller longer, and a lot more energetic

2. Loaded with Antioxidants

soup, ramen, tofu, miso soup
Robert Wehrli

Ever heard of those crazy things called free radicals? They're pretty much just chemicals that attack your cells, and, well, antioxidants that are found in miso fight those bad boys. My advice? If you want to protect your body, say "bye" to those radicals and "hello" to miso. 

3. A Party of Probiotics

tea, jam, milk, juice, honey, sweet
Helena Lin

Because miso comes from fermented soybeans, it is well-known for its probiotic powers. For those of you who are curious, probiotics are bacteria that are actually good for you. These fellas help boost immunity and regulate your digestive system to keep you both happy and healthy (sounds pretty great to me). 

4. Nutrient-Rich

vegetable, broth, miso soup, soup
Judy Holtz

If you're feeling sick, or just hungry, this is the food for you (preferably in soup version). It's packed with vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B2, iron, calcium, potassium, choline and lecithin. That means that you're getting protected from toxins, loaded with energy, and blessed with an improved metabolism (among other things). 

5. Healthy Fatty Acids

ice, cream, chocolate, barbecue sauce, milk, sweet
Alex Vu

That's right, healthy fats exist. Since miso is made from soybeans, it's filled with polyunsaturated fats which are super beneficial when it comes to lowering "bad" cholesterol. So, similar to Cheerios, miso can also lower your risk of heart disease. 

Basically, if you weren't on the miso grind before, I highly suggest you check it out. I mean, health wise, it's on par with avocado and quinoa, so why not give it a try? Plus, when your friends ask you, "what is miso?" you can surprise them with your expert, miso knowledge. #blessup