Live Longer With Healthy Japanese Food - HowToBei

Live Longer With Healthy Japanese Food

Healthy Japanese Food

Sushi, sashimi, tofu, shiitake mushroom, miso soup, edamame are Japanese foods that many, if not most, Westerners have become familiar with and associate with a healthy diet. And they are healthy, that is, but I would like to introduce a few other health food items and ingredients in the Japanese diet that may not be too familiar to the regular person but are just as healthy if not healthier and nutritious.
Next time you venture forth to an Asian or international food store or you can always easily order them online and/or yearn for an adventurous culinary experience at home, consider these:Bitter gourds also called balsam pears or bittermelons, called "Goya" in Japanese, are a fruit technically used mainly in traditional Okinawan dishes. Bitter gourds have a deep green color and bumpy texture and as the name suggests, taste bitter. They are excellent sources of dietary fiber and vitamin A, B1, B2, C and K.

They also contain minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, manganese and potassium. The most famous Japanese Okinawan dish that uses bitter gourds is called "Goya champuru", which is a stir fried dish with pork, sliced bitter gourds scraped of inside pulp and seeds and soaked in salt prior to cooking in order to reduce bitterness, tofu, and eggs. Yeah, yeah, we all know seaweed. It's that green sheet that's wrapped around sushi, right? Yes, but that's just one kind of seaweed called "nori". There are other kinds as well such as wakameusually used in miso soup, kombu usually used to make soup stock for stewed dishes.

The kind I really would like to introduce is called "mozuku". Slimy in appearance and texture, mozuku is brown seaweed usually served in rice vinegar sauce as a side dish. Like most seaweed, mozuku is rich in minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, but perhaps the most beneficial nutrient is fucoidan. Numerous studies have shown that fucoidan helps enhance the immunity system and cellular health and can maybe even help fight cancer. Okara, sometimes known as "soy pulp" or "tofulees", has basically the same nutrients as tofu since it's just whatever is leftover from the tofu making process. Aside from the usual vitamins and minerals, which okara has an abundance of, three nutrients are worthy of note: lecithin, which some studies have shown to help decrease the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol, saponin, which is believed to be beneficial to bone health and the digestive system, and isoflavone, which functions similarly to the female hormone,estrogen, and therefore, is believed to help prevent certain types of breast cancer and bone loss or osteoporosis.

As a matter of fact, okara is so famously healthy that it is recently used as an ingredient in many cookies and snacks in health food stores everywhere! Fu is gluten extracted from rye or wheat flour. Fu also comes in a variety of shapes, colors and size depending on where and how it's made. Some are shaped into tiny traditional Japanese balls; some look like fall maple leaves; some are disc shaped and still, others are simple round or rectangular blocks. Though they may all look different, they all are a rich source of protein, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and phosphorus. Fu is most commonly used in simmered or stewed dishes or in miso soup because they can absorb the flavors very easily like a sponge and make for a delicious and flavorful ingredient. If it isn't obvious by now, you will notice that all the food items listed above are also extremely low in calories, which is definitely a big plus to the health and weight conscious.

One other common attribute is that all of the food items listed above are eaten in Okinawa the southern group of islands where the people are famously renowned for having the longest and healthiest life expectancies in all of Japan. Though many factors contribute to a long life, diet is obviously a major factor. As opposed to, say, exercise, choosing to eat healthy food is relatively easy to do. You can still stuff your face with pizza and wash it down with beer if you are so inclined, but you can always start slow by maybe substituting just one meal per week with something healthy and go on from there.

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