Japanese diet and food is known all over the world for being healthy and nutritious. But what is it about Japanese food that’s healthy? Find out here why Japanese food is healthy and what exactly goes into a traditional Japanese diet!
Japanese food is one of the most popular cuisines all over the world. The Japanese diet traditionally consisted of whole foods, such as fish, seafood, and plant-based foods.
The traditional food had minimal amounts of animal protein, added sugars, and fat. It is probably because of the balance in their meals that the Japanese have been respected and researched for their long life expectancy.
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So Why Japanese food is healthy? Today, I am here to debunk that mystery and help you find the most perfect balance to ensure you are eating healthy and nutritious food.
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Why Japanese Food is Healthy?
Traditional Japanese diet is rich in seaweed, fish, green tea, veggies, and fruits. The Japanese diet contains low amounts of sugar, animal protein, and fat. This combination of balanced diet safeguards against heart diseases and type 2 diabetes. This is what makes Japanese food healthy
The Japanese always prefer eating vegetables and fruits that are in season so they are always eating fresh fruits. Even when it comes to the meat, they always eat fresh fish to gain the maximum benefits of the food they eat!
What is Traditional Japanese Food?
Japanese traditional meals mainly consist of food that has gone through minimal processing. It also consists of a lot of seasonal foods that are served in a variety of small dishes. This is an extremely popular way of eating in Japan and it focuses on bringing out the natural flavors of the food, rather than masking it with the help of sauces and seasonings.
You will also find that the Japanese diet does not consist of a lot of refined foods or sugar.
This traditional diet mainly consists of steamed rice, noodles, fish, tofu, natto, seaweed, and fruits and vegetables that are fresh, cooked, or pickled. These are low in added sugars and fats. You may also see that there are eggs, dairy, or meat, but these food items do not make a big part of the diet.
The traditional Japanese diet is the complete opposite of the modern-day diet that is followed in Japan. Today, Japanese cuisine is highly influenced by Western and Chinese cuisine. You will see a lot of animal protein and processed food today.
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You will see that Soya beans, which are usually seen in the form of tofu or fresh edamame, make a huge part of the traditional Japanese diet. There are also other beans, such as aduki, that are used in the diet.
Also, eating fermented food is good for your digestive system, as shown by research. You need to include a lot of fermented foods such as miso and natto in your diet if you want to follow the traditional Japanese diet. In Japan, Natto is normally eaten as a probiotic for breakfast. It is shown that consuming Natto can help treat IBD and may help blood clotting.
A lot of land and sea vegetables are also included in the diet, such as seaweed. These vegetables contain a lot of health-boosting minerals that are known to help with blood pressure. Fruits are also a big part of the breakfast. Fruits such as Fuji apples, tangerines, and persimmons are the most common.
Green tea is also highly popular in Japan. Matcha tea is the most common beverage that is enjoyed by all. It also contains a lot of health benefits, and so is increasingly gaining popularity all across the planet.
Health Benefits of Traditional Japanese Diet
The traditional Japanese diet is known to have tons of health benefits. Here are some that may motivate you to include this diet in your life –
Japanese Diet is Rich in Nutrients and Beneficial Compounds
There are several nutrients that are found in the traditional Japanese diet, which include fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and E.
One of the major food items that lend us all these nutrients are the vegetables that are most often cooked in a dried fish and sea vegetable-based stock, which is known as dashi. This method of preparation enhances the flavor and allows you to eat large portions.
The diet also includes seaweed and green tea. Both of these are known to be excellent sources of antioxidants. These help to protect the body against cellular damage and disease.
The diet also consists of fish and seaweed-based dishes. These are known to contain omega-3 fats, which are good for the health of our brain, eye, and heart.
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Japanese Food may Improve Digestion
Most of the food items that are a part of the Japanese diet are rich in fiber, which is known to improve digestion. These food items include seaweed, soybeans, fruits, and vegetables.
The insoluble fiber is known to reduce the risk of constipation by moving the food through the gut and by adding bulk to stool.
These fiber-rich food items also contain soluble bacteria, which is needed for the good health of our digestive system. These food items feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut and prevent the multiplication of harmful bacteria.
Also, the traditional Japanese diet consists of pickled fruits and vegetables that are a great source of probiotics. As a rich source of probiotics, these food items help to promote gut health and reduce digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
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Traditional Japanese Diet may Promote a Healthy Weight
Yet another reason why you may get motivated to switch to the traditional Japanese diet is that it may promote a healthy weight. The diet is mainly comprised of vegetables. The portions are small in size and everything that is a part of the diet is low in added sugar and fat.
Also, as per the Japanese culture, you only eat until 80 percent full. This helps prevent you from overeating and so, it leads to a calorie deficit that is needed for you to shed those pounds.
You should also try the Japanese way of alternating between dishes. This helps to reduce the total amount of food eaten per meal.
Traditional Japanese Food may Protect Against Chronic Diseases
It is also believed and said that the traditional Japanese diet may help protect you against chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes and heart disease. All the food items that are a part of the Japanese diet, such as fish, seaweed, green tea, and soy, are known to help protect against heart problems.
It is also recommended that you intake green tea as it can help with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and also certain types of cancer.
And not only that but consuming the traditional Japanese diet may also help you live longer. Those who consume this diet are known to be at a lower risk of premature death as compared to those who follow the western diet.
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How to Follow a Healthy Traditional Japanese Diet?
Here’s how you can try to follow the traditional Japanese diet for your good health. Try to include the following in your meals and you will soon by climbing the stairs to good health and improved digestion –
The staple food item in the Japanese diet is steamed rice or soba, ramen, or udon noodles
The Japanese typically consume miso soup that contains seaweed, shellfish, or tofu and vegetables. The stock for this soup is usually fermented soybean. Other popular options that are consumes include vegetable or noodle soups.
The main dish contains fish, seafood, tofu, or natto. Meat, poultry, and eggs are also a small part of the main dish.
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The side dishes are very important in the Japanese diet. This consists of vegetables that could be served raw, steamed, boiled, sauteed, grilled, or pickled. There are also wild plants, seaweed, and raw or pickled fruit.
When talking about Japanese food, one talks about the umami flavor that dominated the diet. This is quite a unique taste that is distinct from sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Japanese cuisine contains food items that have a naturally occurring umami flavor that enhances the taste and makes you want more of it.
And as they say, you take in the food with your eyes before devouring and enjoying it with your taste buds. Japanese food tops the list with its visual appeal. The dishes in the Japanese diet are eaten in small portions with the help of chopsticks. It is believed that by using this method of eating, you can create perfect harmony and balance of flavors.
The beverages that are loved by the Japanese include hot green tea or cold barley tea. Sake and alcoholic drinks are preferred as a part of dinner. You will also see that the traditional Japanese diet does not contain snacks.
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Traditional Healthy Japanese Foods To Eat
Here’s what you should include in your diet –
Fish and seafood
You can steam, bake, grill, or have your seafood raw by consuming it in sushi and sashimi.
The most common soyfoods that you can include in your diet include edamame, tofu, miso, soy sauce, tamari, and natto.
Fruits and vegetables
Always try to include seasonal fruits and vegetables in your diet. You can have the fruits raw or pickled. Vegetables, on the other hand, can be steamed, sauteed, pickled, simmered in broth, or added to soups.
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You can have your seaweed raw or dried.
You make tempura by mixing wheat flour with iced or sparkling water. This results in a very light dough that serves as a batter for deep-fried seafood and vegetables.
Rice or noodles
These are the staple food items in Japan. You can also include soba, ramen, or udon noodles. These can be served cold or in a hot broth.
The beverages in a traditional Japanese diet include hot tea and cold barley tea. You can consume sake and alcohol, but these are reserved only for dinners.
Eat the Japanese way!
So now that you know all the amazing health benefits of a traditional Japanese diet, are you ready to try it out? I am sure I am going to switch to this right this second. Let me know what you think!
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Hiya! I’m the main author of Japan Truly. I love everything Japan and love testing out Japanese products, be it skincare and makeup or gadgets! You’ll find reviews of some of the best selling Japanese products (tried and tested) right here!