Due to their relatively healthier Japanese diet and lifestyle, Japanese women and men live longer and healthier than everyone else on Earth. They expect to live 86 and 79 years respectively (compared to 80 and 75 years for Americans),and according to the World Health Organization, they can anticipate an average of 75 years lived healthy and disability-free. On top of that, Japanese people enjoy the No. 1 lowest obesity rate in the developed world at just 3% (in America, it’s 33%).
Their ways of preparing foods are extremely healthy: raw, boiled, steamed, and using a wok. Just make sure not to drown the food in sodium filled soy sauce, and remember that portion size is important.
Here are Samir Becic’s and Health Fitness Revolution‘s 10 favorite healthy Japanese foods:
- Miso Soup: Miso is made from fermented soybeans, which means that every bowl brings a wholesome serving of isoflavones. These powerful compounds have anticarcinogenic properties protect you from cancer), and several studies show that they prevent your body from overproducing fat cells.
- Edamame: Are fresh soybeans, and they make a great start to your meal. Working them free from their pods keeps you from eating too quickly, and each bean provides a nourishing mix of protein, fiber, and omega-3 fats. Starting your meal with a vegetable will make you feel more full by the time the main course comes and will keep you from overeating.
- Soba Noodles in Soups: Soba noodles are native Japanese noodles made of buckwheat flour. Nutritionally buckwheat provides vitamins B1 and B2, several minerals, and nearly twice the amount of proteins found in rice. The bioflavanoid Rutin found in buckwheat strengthens capillaries and so helps people suffering from arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure.
- Nigiri: Are slabs of raw fish fastened to ice cube-size blocks of rice with pieces of seaweed. Most people find raw fish easier to handle when it’s mixed with rice, and some sushi restaurants can even do it over brown rice.
- Sashimi: Seafood in its purest form, this dish consists of nothing but thin slices of raw salmon, tuna, squid, or whatever else is fresh. No matter which fish you choose, you’re guaranteed to get a massive load of protein and nutrients with very little fat.
- Shiitake Mushrooms: High in protein and low in calories, this is most certainly a healthy food you don’t want to miss out on. Used in asian medicine for centuries, studies have shown that shiitake mushrooms protect again cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol.
- Seaweed: This food is a nutritional powerhouse when it comes to consuming the right amount of minerals. Seaweed contains several things our bodies need, including zinc, selenium, iodine, and vitamin B12. Seaweed also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Wasabi: This unique-tasting food contains the same anti-cancer chemicals that are found in broccoli and cabbage. Wasabi is also thought to reduce the risk of heart attack.
- Tofu: This food is extremely versatile and a stable in asian cuisine. Just as with the shiitake mushroom, tofu is high in protein and low on the calories. It can be served with almost anything and it provides a very efficient way of getting your protein. (Disclaimer: The scientific community is split on whether soy products are good or bad for health, with half of studies praising soy products and the other half disagreeing- we will let you decide for yourself how you feel about them.)
- Green Tea: A powerful antioxidant, green tea assists your body with relaxation and weight loss. This yummy Japanese favorite also contributes to maintaining normal cholesterol levels. For all the health benefits associated with green tea, read our article here.
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