Trend in Japan Web Japan
Business and Economy Lifestyle Science and Technology Fashion Arts and Entertainment Sports People
Supporting Actor in Tofu Making Moves to Center Stage (April 6, 2004)

A product made with bittern (Kameyamado)
Tofu has become well-known around the world as a healthy food processed from soybeans that is rich in vegetable protein, low-calorie, and easily digested. It is very simple to make: All you have to do is add a coagulant, bittern (nigari in Japanese), to heated soybean milk. What was less well-known until recently was that this coagulant itself can also be a healthy addition to the dining table. Now it is the turn of bittern to attract a lot of attention.

Treasure Chest of Minerals
As well as the main ingredient of magnesium chloride, bittern is said to contain about 80 types of minerals, including potassium, calcium, iron, selenium, and manganese. Previously it was only available at tofu shops and some department stores, but now bittern can be purchased in supermarkets and convenience stores, too. Various types are sold, including bittern extracted from seawater and a scientifically made product, and the price varies from a few hundred yen to a few thousand yen. The product that is selling well at the moment, however, is a 300-milliliter package that costs about ¥500 ($4.54 at ¥110 to the dollar).

There are various ways of using bittern. As a seasoning, bittern itself is rather bitter and not so tasty, so only a tiny amount needs to be used. Put a little into the rice cooker when cooking rice, and the rice comes out soft and shiny. Add a little to food that is being simmered, and the magnesium and potassium work to produce a mellow flavor.

In addition, since it was suggested at a meeting of the Japan Society for the Study of Obesity in November 2003 that bittern is effective in countering obesity, a lot of people are apparently adding a little to water or tea in the hope of trimming their waistlines. Bittern is also said to have a certain effect in relieving constipation and alleviating hay fever and atopic dermatitis.

And bittern is not limited to eating and drinking, either. It is also being used for dermatological purposes by putting it in bath water or making facial lotion. Many people claim that it softens the hard layer of the skin, eliminates dirt, and provides appropriate moisture.

 Page Top

Related Web Sites
Japan Society for the Study of Obesity
Trends Today in Nipponia

Copyright (c) 2004 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

Related articles
(July 4, 2002)

(November 28, 2002)
Drop Us a Line
Your Name

What did you think of this article?

It was interesting.
It was boring.

Send this article to a friend

Go TopTrends in Japan Home

Go BackLifestyle Home