Can you eat miso when pregnant? The Japanese say yes!

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  November 15, 2020

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For expectant mothers, it’s always important to be wary of what you eat.

One of the most debatable foods of the season has been miso, a fermented soybean paste that’s commonly used in most Asian-inspired cuisines.

As miso is known to add a lot of umami flavor to food, many expectant mothers may enjoy the taste a lot more. Like most foods, however, miso has been the subject in question on whether it’s safe to be eaten when you’re expecting.

Can you eat miso when pregnant

So can you eat miso when you’re pregnant?

In general, yes, you can, but you should only have it in controlled amounts. As miso is made of fermented soybeans and various types of grains, there are typically no health concerns when you have it while you’re pregnant. In fact, in most parts of Japan, expectant mothers still keep miso as a part of their daily diet.

This is because miso is known to contain various nutritional benefits such as folic acid, B vitamins, and vitamin E and K. Subsequently, miso is also known to be good for an expectant mother’s gut health, reducing the discomforts of pregnancy-related health worries like gas, constipation, and bloating.

Also read: is it safe to eat teppanyaki while pregnant?

However, it’s important to note that miso paste and miso soup may contain high levels of sodium. This could cause water retention and bloating in most expecting mothers, especially in their 2nd or 3rd trimesters.

If you’re looking to enjoy a bowl of miso soup, it’s always best to prepare it with white miso, as there are lower levels of sodium in white miso as opposed to yellow miso or red miso.

Subsequently, many expecting mothers may also turn to instant miso soups that can be found in most markets. However, instant miso soup packets often contain additional sodium that may be bad for your health. So it’s recommended that you avoid instant miso soups when you’re expecting.

You’ll also want to look out for any additional condiments that are in the instant miso soups, like seafood or eggs, as these dehydrated foods may not be properly cooked or stored. This can make it unsafe for expecting mothers.

Soy products often contain a compound known as phytoestrogens that may occasionally be harmful to pregnant women who have been diagnosed with prior hypothyroidism or other health problems. So if you’re still worried about whether you should eat miso when you’re pregnant, it may be a good idea to consult with your ob-gyn for professional advice.

Also read: can you eat sushi while pregnant?

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.