Japanese cuisine has long been praised for its healthy ingredients and high nutrition, both of which have been proven to help the country’s population enjoy a longer life.
A 2016 study revealed that Japan’s high life-expectancy is due to the country’s healthy eating, after analyzing the dietary habits of more than 36,000 men and nearly 43,000 women. The participants were asked to follow the official food guide created by the National Center for Global Health and Medicine in 2005.
Those men and women who ate as directed by the food guide were shown to have a 15 percent lower mortality rate. As quoted in an article at The Independent, from 2016, the study was finished with the following conclusion:
“Our findings suggest that balanced consumption of energy, grains, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, eggs, soy products, dairy products, confectioneries, and alcoholic beverages can contribute to longevity by decreasing the risk of death, from cardiovascular disease, in the Japanese population.”
Taking inspiration from the Japanese diet and integrating their healthy ingredients may help you to enjoy a longer, healthier life. Without doubt, some Japanese foods are especially good for you, and eaten regularly can give your body a nutritious boost.
To help you get started, we’ve picked a few of the tastiest …
The first thing you’ll notice when someone puts a bowl of natto in front of you?
This dish is known for its overwhelming aroma, but it’s incredibly good for you. Natto consists of fermented soy beans, with bacillus subtilis; while they have an undeniably slimy feel, they’re believed to combat heart disease, lower cholesterol, and fight cancer and thrombosis.
They’re also a great alternative source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. Japanese diners typically eat natto with rice, though you can experiment with various ingredients and additions.
Edamame beans are a common fixture on Japanese menus, at sushi bars and restaurants. Not only do they look delicious, they taste it – and they’re a fantastic source of protein. They’re also rich in antioxidants, and work beautifully in a variety of dishes, including stir fries.
Edamame beans are low in calories too, with just 120 calories in a half-cup serving.
Miso soup might be incredibly popular across Japan, but it’s also gainted countless fans further afield, especially in the West.
Miso is made from fermented soy beans and rice, mixed into a paste used for seasoning hot dishes. Usually, this is added to water and a stock (dashi, or a vegetarian alternative) to make a delicious soup, which is a powerful source of protein and vitamins.
As the following video shows, making your own miso soup is a little easier than you may think:
Shirataki noodles are about as healthy as noodles get. They have almost zero fat and zero carbohydrates, making them a solid base for a variety of toppings and sauces. With almost no calories either, these noodles can reduce the overall calorie-count of a meal significantly.
All of these superfoods make a great addition to your diet, whether you already eat a balanced range of foods or need to overhaul your habits. While they’re widely available at Japanese restaurants, you can also experiment with them at home, replacing your own less-healthy dishes with a delicious superfood that does your body good.