On an average, Japanese people live longer and healthier than the population of most other countries in the world. In fact, with a life expectancy of 26 additional years for people who live up to 60 years of age, Japan is famous for having one of the healthiest population of senior citizens in the world. While there are various reasons for this phenomenon, one of the most significant causes of this is the excellent Japanese diet. The Japanese focus on what they eat as well as how the food is prepared. This attention to detail is what makes them not only stay healthy longer, but also look more radiant and vibrant, even in their old age.
Here are 10 top food habits that the Japanese practice that help maintain their good health and flawless beauty :
Vegetables form an important part of Japanese diet. Traditionally fermented pickled veggies are a perfect source of natural probiotics and improve the digestive process and help our bodies absorb the nutrients in the food we eat.
Vegetables not only help our bodies fight infection, but also prevent auto-immune diseases. The Japanese try to eat at least 4 – 5 different types of vegetables at every meal, either raw as a salad or cooked in a light broth. However, remember to keep away from heavy salad dressings that contain mayonnaise and use yogurt based or vinaigrette-based dressings instead.
The Japanese prefer to eat veggies first as they are full of fibre. This coats everything else that is eaten after the veggies, which reduces insulin spikes in the body and the time taken for sugar to get absorbed into the blood stream. Also, eating proteins before anything else makes the body feel bloated as the proteins take a long time to digest. Raw vegetables release a digestive enzyme that helps break down proteins faster, which helps the body digest proteins in a better manner.
Edible seaweed is a type of algae that contains high amounts of fibre and is rich in minerals that our immune system needs to maintain our bodies in great health. According to many experts, seaweed is a type of superfood, that give our bodies the necessary crucial ingredients that our body may otherwise miss out on.
Matcha powdered green tea is made from fresh leaf tips of the tea plant and is crucial for boosting the body’s anti-oxidant defences. It also helps to keep degenerative conditions and heart diseases at bay. In addition to the benefits for our immune system, the enzymes, amino acids and phytochemicals also significantly improve skin complexion and slows ageing. The high concentration of tannins within the green tea also helps tighten the skin, and it is well known that green tea powder can reduce damage caused by UV rays and helps balance skin tone.
Shiitake mushrooms are a low calorie, high-protein food that protect against cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol.
Miso and Umami Paste
The Japanese prepare miso paste by fermenting soybeans. Miso has natural anti-carcinogenic properties to help the body fight cancer cells. It also helps keep the number of fat cells down. They are also beneficial for menopausal women, and also reduce the risk of breast cancer in women post menopause. And that’s not all. This great food improve bone mineral density, thereby reducing the chances of osteoporosis and broken bones. The isoflavones
Fish is a Japanese staple food and is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. It keeps the heart healthy and improves blood circulation throughout the body. Consuming high amount of fish keeps inflammation of the brain and eyes to a minimum, which is a main factor for diseases like Alzheimer’s and Arthritis. Fish are also naturally rich in anti-oxidants. This keeps our brain chemistry in good working condition. Nigiri, one of the most popular forms of sushi are an excellent example of healthy Japanese food. Sashimi – thin slices of raw salmon, tuna and or squid – also provide the body with tons of proteins, without too many carbs.
While not popular in many Western countries, tofu is a low-calorie food that is excellent source of proteins. It can definitely provide high nutrition to people who are not averse to consuming the tofu.
The Japanese use buckwheat to prepare their popular soba noodles. These noodles provide Vitamins B1 and B2 to the body as well as several minerals. It contains bioflavanoid Rutin, which is beneficial for people suffering from high blood pressure and weak capillaries. It also contains thiamine, which is absent in ordinary white rice, as well as all essential amino acids.
Edamame beans are a great way to start each meal, as they provide a perfect mix of proteins and fibre. The Japanese use Azuki beans as an excellent exfoliating powder to remove dead skin cells and keep the body looking vibrant. Once of the simplest ways to make an azuki-bean face scrub is to grind 1 cup of dry organic azuki beans in a blender, till they become a coarse flour, which should be sifted and stored in an air-tight container. A paste should be prepared by adding some water to the flour as required. Apply the paste to the face and massage gently into the skin. After 5 – 7 minutes, rinse the paste away for a perfectly scrubbed face.
Yuzu is a citrus fruit with high levels of Vitamin C and is crucial in replenishing dead skin cells. The Japanese regularly use yuzu-based creams, lotions and fragrances on their skin to keep it smooth and soft. The Japanese use yuzu to prepare yuzu hachimitsu – a kind of syrup used to make yuzu tea or yuzu liquor and wine. They also use yuzu rind to garnish Miso Soup and other traditional Japanese dishes.
The Japanese believe is that health and beauty comes from within. They are very conscious about what goes inside their bodies as food as it affects their health and youthfulness. They also prefer to consume more natural foods than processed foods, and this makes a difference to their health. So, add these ten super food to your diet, and work your way to a healthier you!
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