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Why the Japanese Diet is so Healthy

Why the Japanese Diet is so Healthy

Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world. One of the biggest factors contributing to the longevity of the Japanese people is believed to be the diet. So what secrets to long life can we learn from the Japanese?

Healthy Ingredients

Unsurprisingly, the core ingredients in Japanese cuisine all carry significant health benefits. The main ingredients which are eaten daily in Japan are: fish, vegetables (especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and kale), soy, rice and fruit. The most popular beverage to drink alongside meals is green tea, which is renowned for its numerous health benefits.

Home Cooking

Cooking at home frequently rather than eating out, means that there is total control over the ingredients used. A traditional Japanese home cooked meal consists of fish, rice, vegetables, miso soup and green tea. 

Fresh Seasonal Ingredients

In Japanese cuisine, the emphasis is on extremely fresh food. Usually the ingredients used in dinner would have been packaged and sold earlier that day rather than weeks ago, as is common in western supermarkets. Eating fresh seasonal produce ensures that foods retain the maximum nutrient content.

Small Portions

Japanese dining culture involves eating in small, slow bites, chewing the food fully before swallowing. Portion sizes are roughly a third of that which is commonly served in America. The combination of small portions and slow eating means that the Japanese rarely over eat.

Rice

The main carbohydrate source in Japan is rice, as opposed to bread which is more commonly eaten in the west. Bread is often over processed and refined and excess consumption often leads to weight gain. 

Big Breakfast

Breakfast is usually the biggest meal of the day, meaning that the metabolism is kick started in the morning and the body has all day to digest the food. Eating the biggest meal of the day at night time can lead to a sluggish digestion, as the body must struggle to digest the food while you are sleeping. 

No Dessert

Dessert is not commonly eaten after meals in Japan, except for some fresh fruit. While pastries and cakes are available, they are eaten mainly on special occasions.


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