Cheonggukjang, a pungent fermented soybean paste, is effective in preventing diabetes, according to the Korea Food Research Institute. The paste is made by fermenting boiled soybeans in a warm place. The fermented beans are then usually incorporated into stews or soups.
The institute said that through joint studies with professors at Hoseo University, scientists discovered that cheonggukjang produces elements that are essential in preventing diabetes. The team, led by scientist Kwon Dae-young, said that as cheonggukjang ferments, it produces polyphenol ― an element that has cancer preventing and anti-oxidant characteristics ― as well as various functional peptides. In particular, the fermentation increases the levels of several types of bean proteins.
The researchers fed cheonggukjang to lab mice with diabetes for eight weeks, and noted that insulin output was stimulated and that the pancreas induced the multiplication of beta cells, which are important in secreting insulin. The cheonggukjang also boosted the increase of a protein called PPAR, which improves insulin’s ability to absorb sugar.
The results were reported in the U.S. journal “Process Biochemistry.”
“We have scientifically proven the excellence of traditional fermented foods and laid down a scientific evidence for marketing the food worldwide,” Kwon said.
By Wohn Dong-hee for JoongAng Daily