What is amazake?

amazake-flickr-takeshi81

Amazake is a traditional drink and cooking ingredient in Japan. I recommend you drink it warm, but only in moderation. Amazake has shown some interesting health benefits:

 

Effect on Toxins

Rice fermented with aspergillus oryzae might help your body eliminate toxins such as polyvinyl chloride, according to a Japanese study published in the October 2004 “Chemosphere.” The study compared blood levels of PVCs and other toxins in Japanese women who consumed the mixture with those who did not over a two-year period. Women who consumed the mixture eliminated more of the toxins than those who did not. This was a very small study of just nine women, but it did show a possible benefit of the mixture.

Digestion

Amazake is produced by combining cooked rice with koji, a fermented product made by mixing rice with aspergillus oryzae and incubating at a warm temperature for several hours. Fermented foods like amazake might benefit your stomach if you don’t digest food well. The enzymes in amazake help break down fats, complex carbohydrates and proteins for your body to use.

Vitamins and Minerals

Amazake produced from brown rice supplies more vitamins and minerals than amazake made from white rice. Brown rice retains the bran and germ of the rice, which contains B-complex vitamins niacin and thiamine, vitamin E and fiber. Brown rice also serves as a good source of iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, manganese and magnesium.

I’ll post a few home-made amazake recipes later.
And here’s some more information about the history and culture of amazake.
photo by flickr user Takeshi+81

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