How Many Calories Are in Miso Soup?

Miso soup is a traditional start to a Japanese meal. Drinking the soup may help you to lose weight because it is filling and low-calorie.

Miso soup is a staple of Japanese cuisine. It is served before meals and consists of a stock called dashi and miso paste. Miso is a fermented soybean paste. People sometimes add other ingredients to the soup.

One cup of miso soup has 36 calories. A cup contains 1 g of fat, 632 mg of sodium, 4.9 g of carbohydrate and 2 g of protein.

Eating soup before a meal can help you lose weight because it may cause you to consume fewer calories overall. Frequent miso soup consumption is also associated with reduced risk of breast cancer.

What Are the Benefits of Miso Soup?

If you're looking for a nutritious snack that may also improve your health, consider miso soup as an alternative for canned soups. Miso soup tastes salty because it is made from fermented soybeans. The soybeans start the fermentation process when yeast mold, or koji, ferment the beans. Miso soup originated in Asia, but is becoming a popular soup in the United States and is available in grocery stores.

Recover From Diarrhea

The University of Maryland recommends drinking miso soup as a home remedy to help restore nutrients and electrolytes and to prevent dehydration while having diarrhea. Miso soup is a nutritious alternative to solid foods that cannot be digested properly while having diarrhea. If diarrhea lasts longer than four weeks, it is considered chronic diarrhea, and may be caused by a serious condition. Otherwise, you can use miso soup to restore nutrients that may be lost while having diarrhea, if your doctor approves.

Prevent Breast Cancer

Eating miso soup on a regular basis may help to reduce the risk of breast cancer in Japanese women, particularly those who are postmenopausal. Miso soup contains isoflavones, which may have anti-carcinogenic properties. Other fermented soy foods, like natto and soy sauce, may also help to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women.

A Good Source Of Electrolytes

Much like chicken soup, miso soup is a traditional remedy for the common cold. Its curative powers may be due to the presence of sodium and potassium. Both are electrolytes, substances that carry electrical charges throughout the body. The sports drinks that are widely advertised to athletes derive their benefits from added electrolytes. Electrolytes can become unbalanced during times of illness or exertion, or with the use of certain medications.

Macrobiotic Diet Food

Miso soup is a staple of a macrobiotic diet, which may help eliminate a variety of health problems, according to traditional Chinese medicine. A macrobiotic diet focuses on eating specific foods depending on the temperature and season to achieve balance in the body. Miso soup is considered a well-balanced food item that is eaten for breakfast while following a macrobiotic diet.

Macrobiotic Miso Soup

Miso soup is a staple food in the dietary system known as macrobiotics. The macrobiotic philosophy maintains that sickness is a manifestation of the body's struggle to rebalance itself and return to a more natural state. Diet is seen as key to promoting that physical and emotional health. Michio Kushi, a native of Japan, introduced the macrobiotic lifestyle to the United States and the rest of the world in the 1950s. Whether you are a macrobiotics adherent or not, you may enjoy miso soup, a salty broth made with fermented soybeans.

Miso is a fermented food. Fermented foods such as miso, unpasteurized sauerkraut, kefir and kimchee are healthy staples in many cultures. Fermented foods help to support the immune system by helping to maintain intestinal microflora. If you want to reap the benefits of miso as a fermented food, make your soup with miso that comes from the refrigerated section of the store. The freeze-dried kind that you may find on the shelves does not contain live cultures.

Miso is a nutritional powerhouse. Miso soup a good source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, B vitamins and protein. The soybeans that constitute miso are among the few vegetable sources of complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids needed by the body. That makes miso a valuable food for non-meat eaters, who must otherwise combine plant proteins in order to get the amino acids they need. Newly minted vegetarians also value miso for its "umami," a flavor reminiscent of meat.

A study published in the "Journal of the National Cancer Institute" presented intriguing evidence that the consumption of miso may be protective against breast cancer. A research team led by S. Yamamoto of Japan's National Cancer Centre analyzed the diets of 21,852 Japanese women and found that those who consumed three servings or more of miso soup daily were 40 percent less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than those who consumed one bowl daily. Soy products such as miso contain isoflavones, organic compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen. More research is needed before miso can be widely recommended as a breast cancer preventative.

How to Cook Miso Soup?

Miso soup is a staple of Japanese cooking, and often served as a starter or side dish at sushi restaurants. Miso is a fermented soybean paste that is added to a Japanese broth known as "dashi" to create the soup. Extra ingredients such as tofu, vegetables or seaweed are usually added to suit personal tastes. Miso soup does not take long to prepare, but certain guidelines should be followed to ensure a quality end result.

Step 1
Bring 3 cups of dashi to a boil, and add any extra ingredients you want in your soup. Add harder vegetables such as carrots first, so everything is ready around the same time.

Step 2
Simmer the dashi until all of the ingredients are softened and ready to eat.

Step 3
Remove the dashi from the heat and stir in 3 tbsp. of miso paste until it is dissolved in the broth.

Step 4
Garnish with diced green onion and serve the miso soup immediately after the paste is dissolved to retain the true flavor of the miso.

Tips and Warnings
Don't boil the soup at all after adding the miso to the broth. Aim for no more than one-third extra ingredients, and two-thirds broth when your soup is finished. Ask for dashi packets at an Asian specialty store to make broth preparation less challenging.

How Many Calories in Cabbage Miso Soup?

Cabbage miso soup is a popular Japanese and Korean dish. It's based on the fermented soy paste, miso. Both the key ingredients, miso and cabbage, are low calorie foods. The highest calorie ingredient is a small amount of cooking oil.

A recipe lists the basic ingredients for a cabbage miso soup as: 2 cups of cabbage, a quart of vegetable stock, 1/4 cup of miso paste and oil to saute the cabbage. This recipe serves four people.

Two cups of cabbage contains 66 calories. Miso paste contains 137 calories per 1/4 cup. A quart of vegetable stock or broth equals 67 calories. A tablespoon of cooking oil contains 120 calories. That means that a single portion of cabbage miso soup equals approximately 97.5 calories.

Miso cabbage soup is often served with pieces of tofu or dumplings added to the broth. Four small cubes of tofu contain 44 calories. A serving of plain rice flour dumplings adds 144 calories per portion.

A List of Macrobiotic Foods

The macrobiotic diet is an eating plan that encompasses a primarily vegetarian diet and some tenets of Japanese Zen Buddhism. More a way of life than a diet plan, macrobiotics require you to balance your foods based on their "yin" and "yang" qualities, and combine them based on flavor traits. While macrobiotics was once very restrictive, the modern Americanized version is much more flexible. There is no list of macrobiotic foods per se, but more foods you should eat more or less of, and specific amounts of your food intake that should be devoted to different types of food.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are one of the main ingredients in a macrobiotic diet. It is recommended by author and macrobiotics expert Michio Kushi that between 50 and 60 percent of your diet be whole grains, with an emphasis on brown rice. Other whole grains you are encouraged to eat often include barley, millet, spelt, whole oats, buckwheat, rye and corn on the cob.

Whole grains you should eat occasionally include bulgar, couscous, rolled oats, grits, cornmeal, quinoa, flaked barley or rye and amaranth. Grain products you can eat occasionally but should not consume daily include wheat noodles like udon and soba, unyeasted sourdough bread, seitan, and homemade pancakes.


The macrobiotic diet includes fresh vegetables rich in phytochemicals -- the antioxidants and polyphenols found in plant foods that have been linked to the treatment and prevention of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. In the macrobiotic diet, about 20 to 25 percent of your diet should come from phytochemical-rich vegetables, and some vegetables should be included in every meal you eat.

Eat green leafy vegetables such as bok choy, spinach, chard, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, collards, leeks, watercress and various tuber greens; and round vegetables such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, winter squash, turnips, pumpkin, onions, carrots, parsnips and daikon radishes. Eat peas, mushrooms, cucumber, chives, celery, lettuce, green beans and snow peas only occasionally.

Legumes, Nuts, And Seeds

Beans and legumes should only be eaten about once a day, and should form about five to 10 percent of your overall diet. Beans to eat more often include green and brown lentils, chickpeas, azuki beans and black soybeans. You should eat black-eyed peas, lima beans, kidney beans, navy beans, pinto beans, dried peas, soybeans and mung beans only occasionally.

Add nuts and seeds for their healthy oils. You should aim to eat 1 to 2 cups per week of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds or tahini, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, coconut and nut butters.

Fruits, Fish, and Fermented Products

While you do not need to eliminate fruit entirely, you should focus on eating only locally grown fruits while they are in season. Fruit should make up about 5 percent of your diet, and fruits you are encouraged to eat include berries, honeydew melon, and locally-grown tree fruits like apples and pears.

Eat fish only two or three times per week, and avoid fatty fish. Fish like red snapper, trout, carp, haddock, halibut and flounder is encouraged.

Fermented soybean products like miso are an important component of the macrobiotic diet and should be eaten regularly. Miso can be used to flavor other foods, or can be made into a broth. Drinking 1 to 2 cups of miso soup a day is recommended for the macrobiotic diet.

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