This is a question that often comes around – how do Japanese people stay healthier and thinner than the rest of the world? In fact, on the island of Okinawa, people often live to be over 100 years old, and their diet is said to be the main reason for this.
Traditional Japanese diets include a lot of seafood and fresh vegetables. Fish, which is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, is a staple of their cuisine as well.
Some amazing Japanese food staples that are great for health are calcium-rich cruciferous veggies like bok choy, antioxidant-rich yams, iodine-rich seaweed (good for the thyroid), whole-soy foods, and shiitake mushrooms (a good source of iron, potassium, zinc, copper, and folate).
Another important aspect of Japanese cuisine is that they take many processed foods out of the equation and focus more on organically grown local foods.
When you next visit a Japanese restaurant, look for healthy choices like miso soup, which contains seaweed and tofu. Sashimi, fried dishes like tempura, and veggie stir-fries are also good options.
The Greek diet is regarded as one of the healthiest in the world, as it’s primarily based on dark leafy vegetables, high-fiber beans, lentils, grains, omega-3-rich fish, and yogurt. All of these foods contain plenty of immune-boosting and cancer-fighting ingredients. The Greeks also love using olive oil in their foods, which is lower in saturated fat than butter.
Interestingly, according to Harvard University research, a traditional Mediterranean-style diet is linked with a 25% lower risk of death from heart disease and cancer. Moreover, an analysis of the dietary patterns of the people of Crete, the largest and most populated Greek island, shows many protective substances, such as selenium, and glutathione, a balanced ratio of essential fatty acids, and high amounts of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins E and C.
Today, most big cities have Greek restaurants. Look for dishes like grilled fish and spinach, souvlaki (pieces of meat grilled on a skewer), or louvi (black-eyed bean salad).
When most of us think of Mexican food, we instantly imagine tacos loaded with melted cheese, calorie-dense burritos, or sodium-packed meats. But look away from these typical options, and you will find many healthy options to choose from the authentic Mexican cuisine. The traditional Mexican diet is plant-based; it consists of beans, soups, avocados, corn, and tomato-based sauces. Beans are a terrific source of micronutrients like magnesium, iron, potassium, and zinc. Meanwhile, avocados, corn, and tomatoes are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals.
Search for vegetable-heavy dishes prepared in healthy ways on the menu of an authentic Mexican restaurant instead of foods topped with lots of cheese or sour cream.
Korean food has started to become quite popular all over the world in recent years, as it’s equally delicious and healthy. One of the healthiest dishes in Korean cuisine is kimchi, a fermented vegetable dish. It consists of nutritious ingredients, such as ginger, red pepper, and garlic, while also being packed with nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and iron. It’s also supposed to benefit your cholesterol levels.
Another feature of several Korean dishes is that there are prepared condiments like gochujang, a fermented red chili paste that’s rich in protein, antioxidants, and vitamins, and low in fat and calories.
Apart from kimchi, here are many other healthy Korean dishes you can try:
* Bibimbap (a Korean rice bowl)
* Kimba/Gimbap (seaweed and rice rolls)
* Konggusku (cold soy milk noodle soup)
* Soondubu jjigae (soft tofu stew).
In the west, there is a popular perception that Indian food is too spicy and oily. You would be, perhaps, surprised to know that authentic Indian food is quite healthy and abundant in powerful herbs and spices.
Spices like turmeric, ginger, red chilies, cinnamon, coriander, and cardamom are the main feature of Indian dishes. Apart from perking up the flavor, these spices are great for health as well. For example, cinnamon has been studied for its ability to reduce inflammation and stabilize blood sugar levels, as well as its cancer-fighting effect. Turmeric, cardamom, and coriander, on the other hand, are known to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Other healthy ingredients in Indian cuisine include fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Yogurt is a popular side dish in several Indian dishes, and it is high in protein, calcium, vitamins, and probiotics. Lentils, which can lower cholesterol and protect against diabetes and colon cancer, are usually combined with spices to prepare dal, which is served with rice.
When at an Indian restaurant, order a vegetable curry with dal. You can also look for rajma chawal (kidney beans served with boiled rice).
Tom Yum Gung soup
Thai food is typically flavorful and rich in vegetables, lean proteins, and fresh herbs and spices. An example of a staple Thai dish is Tom Yum Gung, a soup made of shrimp, broth, lemongrass, galangal, chilies, and other ingredients. Research suggests that the ingredients in this soup are 100 times more effective in inhibiting cancerous tumor growth than other foods.
Healthy spices like ginger and turmeric are heavily used in Thai dishes as well. Turmeric, which contains a compound called curcumin, is known to offer anti-inflammatory benefits. Ginger, on the other hand, aids in digestion.
When ordering Thai food, look for dishes that are veggie-centric or include plenty of seafood. Spring rolls, papaya salad, chicken larb, steamed fish, and veggies are all excellent choices.
A 2015 study that looked at residents from 187 countries found that Israelis have one of the most nutritious diets in the world. This isn’t particularly surprising, as people there eat lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fish. Many popular local dishes also contain olives, healthy oils, nuts, and avocados.
The staples of the Israeli diet are quite similar to their Mediterranean counterparts: legumes, eggplants, and olive oil. And as we already mentioned above, the Mediterranean diet has been extensively studied for its potential ability to combat several health issues.
Hummus, a popular Middle-Eastern dish made of chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil, provides a nice dose of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. Falafel, which has become a signature of local cuisine, is made from chickpeas or fava beans and is a good source of fiber and protein. The tahini element found both in hummus and falafel, is also very healthy, as it's chock-a-block with minerals like copper, manganese, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, molybdenum, vitamin B1, selenium, and dietary fiber.
No, we aren’t talking about deep-dish pizzas and gooey lasagna stuffed with extra cheese. Traditional Italian cuisine is more than the foods served at our local fast food joint that tend to be loaded with fat and calories.
The typical Italian cuisine is rich in fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, oregano, parsley, and basil. Studies have shown that the lycopene in tomatoes may help protect women from breast cancer. Since many Italian dishes are loaded with fresh tomatoes, you can enjoy their benefits by eating more Italian dishes. Additionally, garlic and traditional Italian herbs provide vitamins A and C, while olive oil helps lower cholesterol and fight heart disease.
Furthermore, the traditional foods of this culture also tend to include whole grains, fruits, veggies, and legumes, as well as plenty of herbs, and spices that are all great for your health.
Try and include some nice Italian pasta, salad, or soups loaded with vegetables in your daily meals.
The Spanish diet is regarded as one of the world’s healthiest. Being another Mediterranean country, their cuisine is generally full of flavor and is based on olive oil, fresh seafood, and a range of vegetables. The hallmark of the Spanish tradition is tapas (small plates of food), which help keep your portion size in check. Furthermore, tapas allows you to enjoy a variety of dishes in a single meal.
Some super healthy Spanish food items you can order are patatas bravas (fried potatoes), calamari, gazpacho (a chilled tomato and vegetable soup full of cancer-fighting lycopene), croquettes, and paella (made with rice, saffron, vegetables, chicken, and seafood cooked).
An occasional glass of heart-healthy red wine at the end of the main course would also be great!
Vietnamese food is rich in fresh herbs, lots of vegetables, and seafood. It’s also naturally low in fat, gluten-free, and bursting with vitamins and minerals.
One of the healthiest and most delicious Vietnamese dishes is pho. This aromatic, broth-based noodle soup is full of antioxidant-packed spices and nutrients. Also, it’s low in fat and has easy-to-digest ingredients.
Vietnamese noodles are usually rice-based, which makes them easy to digest. Their salads, like the Prawn Papaya Salad, are incredibly nutritious and are known to contain plenty of vitamins and minerals, e.g. vitamin C, vitamins B1, B6, and B3, folate, biotin, zinc, copper, magnesium, and potassium.
One of the standout qualities of Vietnamese cuisine is that the foods are cooked using water or broth instead of oils, making them an amazingly healthy option.
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