The Secret Of The Long And Healthy Lives Of Japanese People

It is said that a lot can be told about you through your diet. If you are eating loads of trans-fats, high-sodium food, and super sugary food on a regular basis, sooner or later your body will start showing the effects in form of chronic illness or weight-gain. Similarly, if you choose a diet rich in vegetables, greens, nuts, seeds and you tend to feel more energetic and fitter in few days. Or at least, the studies say so. For the longest time, studies has suggested how healthy and beneficial the Mediterranean diet is, and there is no doubt about that. But the recent spotlight on Asian food and its long-standing health benefits has gotten us intrigued.  

Health Benefits Of Japanese Diet

The Japanese people are known to have a considerably bigger lifespan as compared to people from other nationalities, and experts are suggesting that their diet, may have something to do with it. Now not many of you would know that for the longest time, due to the prevalence of Buddhism, meat was a taboo in Japan. Meat and fish were served in forms of hot broth mostly to the sick so that they recover soon, but rarely as a delicacy. Things changed after the Meiji Era in the late seventeenth century, when Japan got a whiff of exotic meats of the west and the dishes too. But till date, among Asian cuisines, few other cuisines have as wide a variety of vegetarian food as the Japanese. Vegetarianism has been linked with improved quality of life with reduced cholesterol and heart problems.  

“Vegetarian diets are increasingly becoming popular, but what constitutes an ideal vegetarian diet?,” questions Ritika Samaddar - Chief Dietician, Max Healthcare, Saket, Delhi. “It includes grains and lentils, with a major emphasis on fruits and vegetables, besides including animal by-products like dairy, curd and cheese. Studies have shown that eating a vegetarian diet helps to lower incidence of certain cancers, besides helping to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.  

Now coming to the ‘seafood’ component of the Japanese diet. We all know how the Japanese love their sushi, nigiris, ramen, noodles and more often than not, they come packed with fat-soluble vitamins from seafood and organ meats. Minerals for fish broth alone can do wonders for your heart, weight, brain, skin and hair.  

Even lacto-fermented foods, such as tempeh and miso are great for the gut, and a good gut is key to improved immunity and digestion.  

Now coming to the average portion-size of Japanese meals. In comparison to standard American meals, the portion size of Japanese food is much small, but they are filling and nutrient dense. Besides, regulating portion sizes, is important in weight management. Using small plates does not give them an illusion of ‘eating less’. Therefore, problems like obesity and cholesterol are hard to find by in Japan.