Why do Japanese people live longer lives than people from other countries? For the past 20 years, Japan has been ranked as the No. 1 long-living nation by the World Health Organization. The main reason is due to their diet. In general, Japanese food is known for being healthy and low in fat, which contributes to their long lives. Let’s find out which Japanese foods are especially beneficial to our health!
I’m going to introduce you to ten healthy foods that are popular in Japan.
Some interesting facts about Japan
- The average Japanese life expectancy is 83.7 years (female 86.8 and male 80.5).
- Japan has the lowest obesity rate in the world, at 3%, compared to 11% in France and 32% in the United States.
- Japanese people consume 25% fewer calories than Americans.
The Top 10 Healthiest Foods in Japan
Soya bean paste that has been fermented. Miso is commonly consumed as a soup. Miso soup is served with almost all Japanese dishes and is one of the country’s most important dishes. Miso is high in protein and contains a variety of nutrients that can help lower cholesterol, prevent cancer, and boost the immune system.
Sashimi is raw fish that has been sliced. The Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean surround Japan. Because of them, the Japanese eat a lot of seafood, especially fresh seafood. Most fish are high in protein and contain omega–3 fats and other beneficial nutrients. What’s more, Sashimi is served with Wasabi, another super healthy ingredient that lowers the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Another fantastic benefit of the great ocean. Seaweed is widely consumed in Japan, either fresh or dried. Fresh ones are mostly used in miso soups, salads, or vinegared dishes, while dry ones are used to making rice balls or sushi. Seaweed contains minerals that are difficult to obtain from other products and is extremely beneficial to your hair.
Probably the most hated Japanese dish to most foreigners and even to many Japanese. Natto is fermented soya beans that have a very strong smell and slimy texture. Let’s put its negativity aside, Natto is a true superfood. Rich in protein, low in fat, Vitamin B and D, fiber, iron… Do you still hate it??
5. Shiitake Mushroom
The healthiest mushroom, Shiitake is commonly eaten in Japan and is also used as stock as it has very rich flavors. High in protein and low in fat, what’s more, it protects against cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol.
Soya products are very common in Japan. Tofu is the perfect dish for those who are on a diet or vegetarians. It’s high in protein which can be substituted with meat or fish, low in fat, and contains isoflavones which help to treat female hormones.
7. Green Tea “Matcha”
Green tea is probably the healthiest drink in Japan. Matcha contains lots of antioxidants and catechin which help to prevent cancer, arthritis, high cholesterol, and heart disease, also good for relaxations.
Japanese eat lots of noodles like Ramen, Udon, etc but if you wanna go healthy, eat Soba! Soba noodles are made with buckwheat flour which consists of higher protein, more minerals, and Vitamin B1&B2 comparing to other kinds of noodles. Also, Soba contains “Rutin” which is very effective for anti-aging and lowering blood pressure.
Another Soya bean product! Edamame is fresh soya beans commonly eaten during summer in Japan. Edamame is high in protein and contains fiber, omega-3 fats, iron, zinc, vitamin C, etc. It’s a perfect healthy beer snack!
Konyaku might look a bit odd at first glance. It’s grey jelly stuff made from Konyaku potatoes. It doesn’t really have taste..but it is full of goodness! Very high in minerals and fibers and as 95% of Konyaku is water, the calorie is super low as 6 cal/100 g.
So these are some of the secrets why Japanese people eat healthily and live long. If you are into health consciousness, must try these!!
To find delicious and healthy restaurants in Japan such as Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, and Organic, I’d highly recommend you to use Vegewel! It’s the website introducing over 1,300 restaurants serving vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free dishes all over Japan from Hokkaido to Okinawa! You can search and find the best Vegan and Vegetarian restaurants nearby or depending on what you want to eat!