September 20, 2021

The very old drink that is a new health sensation

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Every week a new superfood or drink is found that promises a longer and better life. Many of the ones that actually do something have traces throughout history and are merely returning to popularity. While of course there will always be some that make many promises and keep none, we think we have found one that truly delivers. Make way for the ancient Japanese drink of amazake.

Whether it is acai, kombucha, brussels sprouts, or something else entirely there are too many strange healthy items already on the market to contend with. Despite that, new cures continue to make it to the market and while many fall by the wayside, some stick around. One healthy drink that is starting to grow in popularity is amazake. The drink is a lightly-fermented rice drink that can be served hot or cold.

When served, amazake most closely resembles porridge in appearance although far more liquid than solid. The drink although increasing in popularity now has been around for many years. It was first created around 250AD by boiling rice, water and koji (a fungus) for ten hours. The drink was incredibly popular at the time for its healing benefits and was even mentioned in one of the oldest known texts still in existence from Japan. 

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Since that time its popularity has increased and fallen depending on society’s preferences at the time. In Japan, it has always been a regular drink in cafes to have with your morning breakfast or as an energy boost in the evenings. Recently a Japanese boy band has become the face of a marketing campaign for a popular brand of amazake so it is becoming even more well known. 

A number of companies have started to introduce it to foreign markets and there are numerous dispensers, cafes, and bars that now sell the drink in Asia, America, Australia and elsewhere. In Japan, it is usually served warm and for this reason, is popular in wintertime. As there are numerous festivals at this time of year in Japan many people have a strong association between the drink and ancient Japanese culture. As it has been around so long, they are probably right.

The drink is supposed to be beneficial for your hair, skin, weight loss, sleep, toilet needs, and even for hangovers. It appears this drink can do it all. It is rich in many nutrients including folic acid and B6 so the claims may be true. According to one Japenese dispenser, it is a fantastic drink to take when you are feeling sick and have lost your appetite, it is easy to drink and full of healing properties. So if you can’t stomach solid foods, it is a great alternative. 

While it is great to have such a powerful drink increasingly available in international countries, the real question is does it work? According to leading dieticians the nutrients it contains would definitely be good for your hair and skin if consumed in large quantities, as for everything else, they are unsure. There is certainly no evidence that it is a miracle cure but there is no evidence against it either. As the drink is based on a long fermentation process it does make sense that it is full of good bacteria. Increasingly we are learning more and more about how good bacteria in our guts can impact a wide array of health benefits in our lives. We have seen a sharp increase in kombucha in the last decade for this exact reason and it would be no surprise if amazake followed suit.

Whether amazake is the miracle cure some claim it to be is not clear. The base ingredients and process it follows do suggest that is good for you. If you can find a cup we strongly recommend giving it a go. Let us know what you think when you do.

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