Living Longer: The Secrets Behind a Japanese Diet
31 Oct 2015
Reigning as having one of the highest life expectancies and one of the lowest obesity rates worldwide, Japan prove a diet so well organised and proficient that it could even add a few years to your lifespan. Here, we uncover some of the secrets behind a classic Japanese Diet and how following suit could overall improve your health for keeping you slimmer, living longer and having greater skin.
Variety Served Beautifully
Feast your eyes on delicious diversity when you eat a Japanese meal commonly divided into small lovely dishes or placed into Bento Box compartments. This variety is derived from the average dietary guidelines in Japan where each person is advised to consume 30 different foods per day. As this shows, you don’t have to cut out all the flavours and ingredients you love for eating healthier, instead you simply mix it up with smaller portion sizes.
Hara Hachi Bun Me (or ‘Hara Hachi Bu’)
Natural weight loss and health maintenance are two of the greatest perks to come from following a Japanese diet as the reason behind smaller portion sizes comes from the term “Hara Hachibun Me”, which means eight parts of ten where a person stops eating when they are 80% full. Since our minds are slower to come to terms than our stomachs, when you think you’re 80% full - you’re actually 100% full. When coupling this method with daily exercise, it’s most likely that you won’t overeat, you’ll experience less bloating, more satisfaction from food and generally, you’ll live leaner. Many Japanese people, specifically in Okinawa, which holds the utmost number of centenarians in the world, follow this rule.
A Japanese diet is mostly comprised of rice, vegetables, seafood, soy beans, noodles, clear broth, seaweed and of course, green tea. Soybeans have been linked to reducing the risk of cancer, while green tea is especially advantageous for reducing heart problems and overall increasing life expectancy.
The main carbohydrate is cooked rice otherwise known as ‘Gohan’ to mean having rice with your meal where you can have white or brown, and the main source of protein is fish, which mostly includes the varieties of salmon, tuna, shrimp and trout.
As you can see, the Japanese diet strongly incorporates a wide variety of essential ingredients each providing an excellent source of different vitamins, proteins and other nutrients with a significantly lower intake of red meat where fish replaces this source of protein. This replacement is much more beneficial for whole mind and heart health and leaves the insides feeling lighter. On average, a single Japanese meal will have a minimum of 4 or 5 vegetables that are each cooked with Japanese staples like mirin, dashi or soy without using any oil.
Thus, you’re consuming maximum taste without hurting your waist - a true win-win situation for all!
While this Japanese diet proves health benefits beyond average, the only way to attain its maximum potential is to beware of the salt. Especially when living in a Western culture, the high supply of sauce comes as no surprise. So when eating a Japanese meal, be careful as to how much soy, oyster or teriyaki sauces you add to your meal because even though these help the flavour, they can actually raise the risk of blood pressure and stomach-related problems.
And to see and taste how a real Japanese meal whether hot or cold is done, visit your local AKA Japanese restaurant for a skilfully prepared menu of authentic Japanese cuisine inducing only the best of fresh flavours and seasonal produce.