From Sushi, Sashimi, Ramen and Kare-Raisu to Okonomiyaki and Shabu shabu, Japanese cuisines are very popular. The popularity is not only as a result of the delicious taste of the food but also because of the health benefits they provide. Unlike the majority of the modern dishes that other people eat, the Japanese traditional comprises high quantities of grains and veggies, unprocessed foods and very minimal sugar. Refined foods are very little in the diet. As such, Japanese food has several health benefits including:
- Minimizes risks of some cancers
Research by Okinawa Centenarian shows that people who live in Okinawa (in Japan) are at a very low risk of hormone-sensitive cancers like breast and prostate cancers. This reduced cancer vulnerability is mainly because these people high-fiber foods, vegetables, fruits as well as healthy fats in large quantities. These foods are rich sources of antioxidants which protects the body from free radicals which are closely linked to cancers. Generally, their calorie intake is significantly lower as compared the modern western diet and this plays a significant role in cancer prevention.
- Improved cardiovascular health
Japan is among the countries with the least cases of heart disease in the world. This is majorly because the Japanese diet is rich in foods that contribute to the improvement of cardiovascular health.
Fish is in plenty in Japan and this is attributed to the many islands that the country has. As a result, fish is a staple food among the Japanese people. Sushi, a common Japanese cuisine includes raw fish and rice and most people in Japan take this delicious dish at least twice per week.
Scientifically, fish has been proved to have the capability of lowering high blood pressure and offering numerous essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids magnesium and zinc to the body. As a result, fish cuts down the risk of cardiovascular illness. Besides, due to the abundance of fish and love for the same, people who are used to eating Japanese foods don’t crave for red meats which are associated with heart disease.
In addition to fish, Japanese foods also have plenty of soy products like tofu. The products are healthier sources of protein as compared to red meat and dairy as they have minimal saturated fat or none at all. As such, soy products contribute to the reduction of heart disease as well as high blood pressure risks. On the other hand, dairy products and red meats that are signature components of most modern dishes have high saturated fat content and this fat isn’t good for cardiovascular health since the fat can block the arteries, leading to heart problems.
Another thing that makes Japanese food friendly to the heart is because of the high quantities of rice in almost every meal. Even breakfast comprise some rice portion. Rice is a low-fat carbohydrate and so, its inclusion in a meal leaves minimal space for high-fat carbohydrates which are major causes of the obstruction of the arteries.
Additionally, the Japanese diet doesn’t have ingredients which lead to poor cardiac health. It is uncommon to find a Japanese meal with high saturated-fat foods (like dairy products and red meat), processed foods and/or sugary items. Instead, it mostly, if not entirely, has foods that promote the health of the heart.
- Boosts thyroid health
A typical Japanese diet normally contains various land and sea vegetables. These veggies are rich in essential minerals which promote overall nutrition of a person. Seaweed is among these veggies and it’s extremely good for thyroid health as it has high iodine content.
- Promote regular bowel movement
Besides rice and fish, soba noodles are also a staple Japanese diet. Unlike other noodles which contain white flour which might disrupt smooth digestion in some people, Japanese soba noodles are products of wheat and buckwheat flour. Therefore, they support smooth digestive process because they are rich in fiber. They play a significant role in cholesterol reduction in the body and also promote regular bowel movement.
Besides, the Japanese diet is usually rich in cruciferous vegetables like watercress, Chinese cabbage broccoli and Brussels sprouts. These veggies also have high fiber content which promotes healthy digestion, hence regular bowel movement. The vegetables are either steamed or fried, and so, they retain lots of nutrients which support healthy body functioning.
- Slows down the aging process
As we’ve already seen, fish is very common in a Japanese diet, especially Sushi, a very prominent cuisine in Japan. Fish and fish oils offer incredible moisture content and replenishment to the body, making someone remain young inside and outside. The fatty acids supplied by the fish strengthen the cell regeneration system, averting the effects of free radicals.
- Reduced obesity risk
If you are watching out your body weight or would like to shed off a few pounds, you have nothing to worry about eating Japanese food. One thing that you’ll notice with the Japanese people is that they serve food in small portions served in small bowls. If you are a Western visitor in Japan, you’ll realize that you eat almost half of what you usually eat should you go for a Japanese meal. This helps you to check on the amount of food that you eat.
When it comes to breakfast, the Japanese people normally eat fruits instead of calorie-dense muffins or cakes. Considering that fruits are carb and fat-free, they don’t make you gain excess weight as muffins and the cakes do. Besides, due to their high fiber and water content, fruits make you feel full, reducing the appetite that’s likely to make you eat you excessively, hence increasing your obesity risk.
In addition, fruit is often consumed for breakfast or dessert. In comparison to calorie-dense breakfast muffins or cakes, fruit’s high fiber and water content can help you feel full. Also, the Japanese take treats and snacks in small portions and from time to time and this also reduces the possibility of overeating and makes the body to digest and use the generated energy optimally. Another reason that makes Japanese diet good for your body weight management is because it is free from saturated-fat foods which mostly contribute to overweight issues.
If you want to extend your lifespan, look younger and lead a healthier life, Japanese food is the way to go.