Did a diet of fish, veg and fermented food gave Japanese an impressive health and longevity stats? Discover the benefits of traditional Japanese food.
Benefits of having Japanese diet
The traditional Japanese diet mainly consists of fresh and unprocessed, with hardly any refined foods or sugar.
Latest studies by a Medical Association found that those who closely followed the Japanese diet and lifestyle – a diet which is high on grains and vegetables, with little intake of animal products and soy and minimal dairy products and fruit – can lead a better and healthy life. Japanse diet helps to avoid heart disease and increase life expectancy. The Japanese diet is rich in soy and seafood, this reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases. The Japanese also have the lowest rates of obesity amongst both men and women as well as a longer lifespan.
Southern Japan, has a high number of centenarians living, probably the highest in the world. They are also the people with the lowest risk of age-related diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity, arthritis and Alzheimer’s.Japanese food is low in calaories and has very less saturated fat They have high nutriention value, mainly due to good intake of antioxidants and flavonoids.Colored vegetables are rich in antioxidants and minerals. They also have phytoestrogens, or plant-based oestrogens, that helps to protect against hormone-dependent cancers, such as breast cancer.
What traditional Japanese diet really is?
The Japanese diet is very similar to a trypical Chinese diet, with rice, vegetables, fish and meat being stapled choices. However, because Japan is actually a group of islands (there are 6,582 of them), its residents consume a lot more fish compared to other Asian countries. They also eat raw fish in sushi and sashimi, plus a lot of pickled, fermented and smoked foods.
Soybeans, usually in the form of tofu or fresh edamame, are another key part of the Japanese diet, along with other beans such as aduki. Increasingly, fermented foods are being shown to support a healthy digestive system. Fermented soy bean products such as miso and natto are staples of the Japanese diet. Natto is traditionally consumed at breakfast and has a probiotic action that has been shown to help reduce IBS and may help blood clotting.
The Japanese also consume a wide variety of vegetables, both land and sea vegetables such as seaweed, which is packed full of health-boosting minerals, and may help to reduce blood pressure. Fruit is often consumed with breakfast or as a dessert, especially Fuji apples, tangerines and persimmons.
Alongside their diet, the Japanese are big fans of green tea and in particular matcha tea, which is fast gaining popularity in the UK. Matcha, a stone-ground powdered green tea, is most valued for its high antioxidant compounds known as catechins, which have been linked to fighting cancer, viruses and heart disease.
Healthy eating habits
The Japanese have a healthy attitude to food and eating. There is a traditional saying, “hara hachi bu”, which means to eat until you are 80% full. They teach this habit to their kids from a young age.
The way the Japanese serve their food is also key. Rather than having one large plate, they eat from a small bowl and several smaller dishes, usually a bowl of rice or a bowl of miso, some fish or meat and then two or three vegetables dishes.They are often served communally and eaten in rotation.When it comes to treats and snacks, the Japanese believes in ‘flexible restraint’. They eat snacks at a regular interval, but in smaller portions.