Review of the health benefits of habitual consumption of miso soup: focus on the effects on sympathetic nerve activity, blood pressure, and heart rate

Environ Health Prev Med. 2020 Aug 31;25(1):45. doi: 10.1186/s12199-020-00883-4.


High salt intake increases blood pressure, and dietary salt intake has been clearly demonstrated to be associated with hypertension incidence. Japanese people consume higher amounts of salt than Westerners. It has been reported that miso soup was one of the major sources of daily salt intake in Japanese people. Adding salt is indispensable to make miso, and therefore, in some cases, refraining from miso soup is recommended to reduce dietary salt intake. However, recent studies using salt-sensitive hypertensive models have revealed that miso lessens the effects of salt on blood pressure. In other word, the intake of miso dose not increase the blood pressure compared to the equivalent intake of salt. In addition, many clinical observational studies have demonstrated the absence of a relationship between the frequency of miso soup intake and blood pressure levels or hypertension incidence. The mechanism of this phenomenon seen in the subjects with miso soup intake has not been fully elucidated yet. However, in basic studies, it was found that the ingredients of miso attenuate sympathetic nerve activity, resulting in lowered blood pressure and heart rate. Therefore, this review focused on the differences between the effects of miso intake and those of the equivalent salt intake on sympathetic nerve activity, blood pressure, and heart rate.

Keywords: Blood pressure; Heart rate; Hypertension; Miso; Sympathetic nerve activity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Soy Foods / adverse effects*
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / drug effects*
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiology