Nama Shoyu is a traditional soy sauce that is unpasteurized; nama means “raw” and shoyu means “soy”. This soy sauce is made by fermenting non-GMO soybeans with a probiotic fungi called Aspergillus oryzae plus the addition of water, wheat, and sea salt.
This mixture is left to ferment in cedar kegs for 6 to 8 months; sometimes as long as 4 years.
This long, careful procedure creates a mixture of phenolic compounds. Inc. a natural form of glutamic acid that adds taste and aroma. Nama Shoyu is produced with a double-brew process. This allows it to be made with less salt with a full bodied flavor.
Many years ago, I apprenticed with a Japanese elder who made namu shoyu in giant cedar kegs; my job was to check them regularly. Now that I’m a Holistic Nutritionist, I understand the nutritional benefit of namu shoyu and advocate its use. Some exceptions are if you’re correcting a bacterial, yeast, or viral related health issue such as group B strep or Candida or if you are on the Body Ecology Diet (B.E.D.).
If you are unable to process gluten I suggest you try this tamari, which is gluten-free and made with traditional methods. If you need to also avoid soy, the South River Miso Company makes a nice tamari using chickpeas or adzuki beans instead of soybeans.
Modern Soy Sauce
Nowadays, most soy sauce contains sugar, preservatives and even coloring. It’s often made with machine-assisted fermentation and if it’s not organic, it may be made with genetically modified (GMO) soybeans. The soy sauce packets at Chinese restaurants are often made from hydrolyzed soy protein instead of a traditional culture. If you’re sensitive to Chinese food this soy sauce may be a reason why.
Nama Shoyu is a type of naturally fermented soy sauce that:
- Contains vitamin B2, B3, and B6
- Contains minerals (i.e. iron, phosphorous, manganese, copper)
- Contains free amino acids
- Contains beneficial bacteria (i.e. lactobacillus, lacto-bacilli)
- Contains live enzymes (i.e. amylase)
- Contains amino acids
- Decreases triglyceride levels
- Increase HDL levels
- Has antioxidant and anti-cancer properties
- Has a similar amino acid profile as Bragg’s Liquid Aminos but more bio-available (assimilates/absorbs easily into the body)
Bottom Line: Buy the expensive soy sauce that says “naturally brewed” on its label.
Note: Nama Shoyu is made with 40-60% wheat and should be avoided by anyone with gluten sensitivity. Nama Shoyu or tamari are not recommended during the initial stage of The Body Ecology Diet (B.E.D.). I am a Holistic Nutritionist and work with individuals ready to use B.E.D to heal a yeast, bacterial, or viral related health issue. I ate this way for many years and now lead others step-by-step through this diet with individualized support.
Fallon, S. (2001). Nourishing Traditions. Washington, DC: New Trends Publishing, Inc.
Murray, M. N.D. (2005). The Healing Power of Legumes. Healing Foods. New York, NY.: Atria Books.
Sue, A. (2011). Soy Sauce/Salt Substitutions. Retrieved online at https://nouveauraw.com/special-raw-ingredients/soy-sauce-salt-substitutions/
(2010). What Fermented Food Helps Prevent Cancer and Heart Attacks? Retrieved online at https://bodyecology.com/articles/fermented-food-helps-prevent-cancer-heart-attacks.php#.USp31aXktMp
May all bellies be happy!