What is Amazaki?

What is Amazaki?

Posted 11 Mar

Amazaki is considered a nutrient-rich drink and is often termed a liquid IV-boosting drink great for a health boost but currently it is barely known outside of Japan. In saying this, I am sure it will gain popularity in the coming years, just as kombucha, kefir and kimchi have.

First developed during the Kofun period (around 250 to 538AD), amazake was created by boiling rice, water and koji, a fermenting fungus, Aspergillus oryzae, that is also used in the fermentation of miso, natto and soy sauce.

Since amazaki drink is only really found in Japan, it is quite difficult to find in Perth, even in asian or Japanese supermarkets. Fortunately, amazaki is extremely easy to make at home and another fermented food to add to your diet toolbox.

What is Koji?

Koji is an important fermentation starter that is used in a variety of Asian cuisines, most notably in Japanese cooking. It is made by inoculating grains or beans with a mold called Aspergillus oryzae and then incubating the mixture under controlled conditions to create the desired fermented food.

Amazaki needs the koji grains in the recipe as it plays a crucial role in breaking down the starches and proteins in the rice, making them easier to digest and enhancing the flavour. Furthermore the fermentation process can only occur with the help of the mold on the koji grains.

What does Aspergillus oryzae Do?

When rice is inoculated with Aspergillus oryzae  spores and left to ferment, the koji (rice and spores) produces enzymes such as amylase, protease, and lipase. These enzymes work by breaking down the complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in the rice into simpler forms that are more easily digestible and accessible for our bodies to absorb nutrients.

This fermentation process not only enhances the nutritional profile of the rice but also adds depth of flavor to the amazaki. 

Why Is Amazaki A Superfood?

Rich in beneficial bacteria and enzymes, amazaki is known to support gut health by promoting the growth of good bacteria in the digestive system. This can help improve digestion and boost overall immune function. Amazaki is a great source of vitamin Bs and amino acids, which are essential for energy production and tissue repair. Its naturally sweet taste makes it a delicious alternative to sugary beverages, making it a great option for those looking to improve their overall health and well-being. Incorporating amazaki into your diet can be a simple and effective way to support your body's natural functions and promote a healthy lifestyle.

Bowel Movement Improvement

A placebo trial showed an increase in Bifidobacterium bacteria in the digestive microbiome. The koji amazake intake group showed a significant improvement in the frequency of bowl movements and constipation.

Anti-Fatigue Effect

According to Kurashashi's paper on the functionality and safety of Amazaki, Kamazaki has a measurable improvement on Fatigue with a pilot study.
In that study, it was inferred that the functional substances might be BCAAs which contribute to muscle function and synergetic ingredients in the amazaki.

More Reading

Kurahashi A. Ingredients, Functionality, and Safety of the Japanese Traditional Sweet Drink Amazake. J Fungi (Basel). 2021 Jun 10;7(6):469. doi: 10.3390/jof7060469. PMID: 34200668; PMCID: PMC8227387.

Oguro Y, Nishiwaki T, Shinada R, Kobayashi K, Kurahashi A. Metabolite profile of koji amazake and its lactic acid fermentation product by Lactobacillus sakei UONUMA. J Biosci Bioeng. 2017 Aug;124(2):178-183. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiosc.2017.03.011. Epub 2017 May 10. PMID: 28501542.


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