The Japanese diet gathers the nutrients and energy of food in a small and pleasant way. Instead of having to cook and prepare foods strictly Japanese-style, you can eat more vegetables and fish but in smaller portions, and add rice or tofu. At the same time, try to eat more slowly.
Healthy Japanese Diet Plan. Some Considerations
Japanese cuisine includes low-calorie foods that are in small portions and very varied dishes. The healthy balance is essential.
The beauty in the style of presentation of the dishes invites you to savour the food while appreciating it at the same time. As a result, you eat more slowly, which makes you feel satisfied faster. Thanks to this, you eat in less quantity, and this is also an advantage especially if you are on a diet.
The Japanese usually consume twenty-five per cent fewer calories per day than the Americans. It is one of the reasons that the Japanese have a longer lifespan. You can achieve this with the reduction of calories in the daily intake and simultaneously with the increase in the level of activity.
One of the secrets to reducing calorie intake is to replace foods that contain more calories, such as chocolate, or chips, for healthier and less energy-dense foods like fruits and vegetables. These last ones are part of the Japanese diet.
A study, where they served smaller portions of food (twenty-five per cent lower) and with fewer calories to women, showed that they consumed an average of eight hundred calories less per day.
In a Japanese Diet you will find:
The Japanese diet includes a great variety of veggies. It means many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential nutrients.
The main pillars of the Japanese diet are seaweed (used to wrap sushi, for example), shiitake mushrooms, mouli (daikon), cabbage, spinach, watercress and tomatoes.
The seasoned broth with a mixture of boiled vegetables is one of the most popular foods.
Another aspect to emphasise is that in Japan people consume only vegetables of the season (when these present the highest levels of nutrients).
The Japanese include fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, fresh tuna and sardines in their diet.
This variety of fish contains essential levels of omega-3, which, in turn, is necessary for the brain and the heart.
The Japanese eat rice, as a primary carbohydrate in their diet (unlike Westerners, who eat wheat products).
The advantage of rice is that it is low in fat and provides sustained energy for a long time and also produces satiety. On the other hand, wheat products can cause lethargy.
Buckwheat (soba) contains rutin that helps to reduce blood pressure while strengthening the capillary walls.
With the buckwheat, the Japanese prepare delicious noodles, which in turn contain protein.
In the Japanese diet, there are two types of beans, soybeans and adzuki. Soybeans contain calcium, protein and phytoestrogen (so it is convenient to eat them in moderation).
Typically, they are boiled and ingested directly from their pods. They are also used to make tofu or soup.
Adzuki beans, on the other hand, contain many nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, minerals and they are low in fat. They are red, and you need to boil them or cook them in a pressure cooker for consumption.
The Japanese prefer lean meat and consume it much less often than we do. Typical cuts are Okinawa Pork or KobeBeef.
Analogously, they also consume less milk, what prevents cholesterol problems.
Its properties are well known in the West now. It contains many flavonoids, which act as antioxidants that contribute to fighting diseases. Studies have shown that green tea helps to prevent different types of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
It is also trendy matcha tea, which is presented as ground powder and contains many antioxidants (catechins) that act against cancer, heart disease and viruses.
A Particular Breakfast
In Japan, breakfast is usually very different than in the West.
A salad, soup or onigiri (rice ball wrapped in seaweed with tuna stuffing) are typical examples.
The typical dessert is fresh fruit. The most common are:
- Watermelon (suika)
Thanks to its lycopene content is a powerful antioxidant against diseases.
- Persimmon (kaki)
Contains fibre, antioxidants and minerals.
- Strawberries (Ichigo)
These contain a lot of pectin and antioxidants. Berries help reduce cholesterol and prevent tumours.
Japanese food, traditionally, is served in small, separate dishes for each meal. The idea behind this is to eat, but at the same time enjoy what you are seeing. As a consequence, you eat more slowly, and you feel satisfied more quickly. You eat less.
On the contrary, studies have shown that when you serve more substantial portions, you can eat up to forty-five per cent more.
Traditional Japanese Diet, in what does it consist?
Due to its geographical location, Japan, a group of islands, can eat much more fish than other countries in Asia and the world. They usually eat raw fish (sushi or fugu) or prepared in different ways.
Soybeans (tofu or edamame) and aduki beans are a fundamental part of their diet.
They also consume fermented foods, such as miso and natto. This last one is usually consumed at breakfast and helps reduce IBS and in blood clotting. Fermented foods contribute to the health of the digestive system.
Also, the Japanese consume many vegetables, fruits and seaweed. These, contain a high amount of minerals. They eat fruit at breakfast or dessert.
As an infusion, green tea and matcha tea are very popular.
Which are the eating behaviours of this culture?
The Japanese eat healthily and teach this habit to children from an early age.
The way they serve food is fundamental, using several small dishes for that purpose. They usually serve food in individual plates, that is, one dish for fish, another for vegetables, another for rice, and so on. They eat the meals in the rotation.
They are flexible in their diet since sometimes they allow snacks in small portions.
Conclusion: In general terms, what are the benefits of this diet?
The Japanese diet is healthy since it includes fresh, unprocessed and unrefined foods (although these, in very little quantity).
This diet is high in grains and vegetables. Foods of animal origin and soybeans are present in a moderate amount, while it reduces dairy products to a minimum.
Due to its nature, this diet has a high content of antioxidants, flavonoids and other nutrients. But at the same time, it is low in saturated fats.
A study has shown that people who follow a Japanese diet have a lower risk of dying prematurely and of cardiovascular diseases (and this is also reduced by fish and soy).
Another important fact is that the Japanese have the lowest obesity rates in the world.
We must mention the fact of the long life expectancy. In Japan, there is the most significant number of centenarians.
The risks of diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and even cancer are also much lower than in other parts of the world.