The Health Benefits of Amazake
by Cynthia Kline
Amazake is, arguably, Japan’s original energy drink. It’s a warm, comforting, and nutritious fermented beverage made with rice and a starter called koji. The process of making this traditional drink is so simple that anyone can do this at home. If you’re a fan of kombucha, you will enjoy the flavor and the health benefits of amazake, as well.
In a previous post, we talked about one of the healthiest drinks you can make, kombucha, and how you can further improve its taste by getting creative and adding various flavors during the second fermentation. By offering tons of health benefits, including being a good source of probiotics and antioxidants, reducing the risk of heart disease, protecting against cancer, and helping in the management of Type II Diabetes, it’s easy to see why lots of people are growing fond of kombucha. If you are one of those people, then you are in luck, because amazake will surely tickle your taste buds (and make you healthy too).
How to Make Amazake
To make koji, the starter for your amazake beverage, follow these simple steps:
- Boil a cup of dried rice in a large pot of water and cook it until soft.
- Drain the excess water and let it cool.
- Mix in koji rice and pack into a glass jar for fermentation.
- Add some water then secure the lid to keep in the moisture.
- Incubate the jar at 130°F for up to 16 hours then, finally, puree it into a smooth paste and store it in the refrigerator.
To turn the amazake into a hot or cold beverage:
- Mix one part of the paste with an equal part of water.
- Serve hot or cold. Traditionally, warm amazake is served with a pinch of freshly grated ginger.
Shortcuts to Making Amazake
If you don’t have the luxury of time to cook rice the old-fashioned way, you can always use a rice cooker. If you don’t have one yet, reading reviews of the best rice cooker on this website can help you make a more informed purchasing decision.
Health Benefits of Amazake
Aside from being easy to make, amazake is also free of gluten, dairy or any sweetener, making it perfect even for those who have Celiac disease or diabetes. And just like kombucha, there are tons of health benefits of amazake. Here are some of them:
Helps weight loss
Whether your amazake is made from white or brown rice, it will have a high fiber content. Drinks and food that are rich in fiber usually take long hours to be fully digested and absorbed by the body, hence aiding weight loss by making you feel full for prolonged periods of time. In addition to this, amazake is also rich in vitamin B5 and active enzymes that break down fats, protein, and carbohydrates into amino acids, fatty acids and sugars.
Reduce stress and alleviate symptoms of depression
Amazake is packed with all sorts of vitamins and amino acids that help alleviate stress, as well as depression. For instance, amazake has the vitamin B6 which promotes the health of the nervous system and relieves depressive symptoms. This rice drink also contains vitamin B5 and GABA amino acids, which both help reduce stress and enhance relaxation by promoting the functions of the parasympathetic nerves.
Promote brain health and improve brain function
Made primarily from rice, amazake is rich in glucose, a type of sugar which the brain depends on for energy. In fact, the brain uses up to 400 calories of glucose every day. If you want to improve different brain functions, such as thinking, memory and learning, and want to avoid lack of concentration, irritability, slurred speech and anxiety due to hypoglycemia, it would be a good idea to always have some amazake in stock.
Maintain healthy skin and hair
Although amazake only contains small amounts of koji, it can help you in achieving and maintaining healthy skin and hair. Amazake has the vitamin B2 which can help protect the mucous membrane and maintain healthy skin and hair, and ferulic acid which promotes cell metabolism, making the skin smoother, softer and younger-looking. Cysteine, an amino acid that nourishes clear skin and healthy hair, as well as biotin, a type of vitamin B group that aids the formation of collagen, can also be found in Amazake.
For more fermented drink experiences, try the following recipes:
If you are just beginning your fermentation journey, and are unsure if it’s for you, try the Fermentools Starter Kit. Less expensive than a fermentation crock, the kit will turn your Mason jar into a fermentation vessel for a fraction of the cost.