The incidence of obesity in the United States and Japan are on two ends of the spectrum. Americans are some of the most obese in the world (32%), while the Japanese are some of the most fit (3%). It’s no wonder Japanese centenarians grace the news often.
The Japanese are the longest living people in the world for the past two decades because of their diet.
Adopting healthy eating habits from Japan
Due to cultural and lifestyle differences, it would be difficult for Americans to eat as the Japanese do. Yet, it is possible to adopt daily eating habits that could make a difference in the long-term. Americans have access to healthy food franchising opportunities and can make a conscious decision to include a couple of ingredients that are staples in the Japanese diet.
Soya and seaweed are part of almost every meal in Japan. Americans must find ways to incorporate these ingredients in the meals they prepare.
Soybean and soy derivatives
Miso soup is a popular item on the menu of Japanese restaurants in America. Many Americans have taken to its unique flavor. It is one of the most essential dishes in Japan and for good reason. Miso is a derivative of soybean. It is a form of fermented bean paste, which is highly nutritious.
It is high in protein as well. Some of the known benefits of miso are boosting immune response and lowering levels of cholesterol. Like miso, tofu is another product derived from soya. It is a popular item in vegetarian restaurants, and figures centrally in Asian cuisine.
Tofu is the end product of a process that involves coagulation of soy milk. The main benefit of tofu is its high protein content. It’s the ideal nutritional substitute for animal protein. If Americans would endeavor to substitute beef, chicken, and pork with tofu, perhaps the burden of obesity would be lessened.
For people who are adventurous in their eating habits and keen on the authentic Japanese experience, there is a snack that can be used as a substitute for chips and other junk food. High protein edamame or fresh soya beans are also rich in fiber content, vitamin C and essential minerals.
Seaweed or nori
It’s quite common to find seasoned seaweed snacks in supermarkets in America and elsewhere around the world. Apart from sushi, seaweed or nori is perhaps one of the most important food exports from the Land of the Rising Sun.
Nori is one of the secrets of Japanese health and endurance against diseases. It’s an epitome of the Japanese edict of using ingredients that are low in caloric content while high in nutrition. In Japan, seaweed is available in both dry and fresh form. Fresh seaweed is a key ingredient in soup and salad preparations.
Seaweed is particularly jam-packed in essential minerals from the sea – minerals that cannot be sourced from other ingredients. Most people are unaware the paper-thin dry seaweed preparations are high in protein as well.
Soy products and nori are two of the most popular Japanese staples that are widely available in the United States. The next time you plan your meals, how about incorporating the two ingredients?