Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Healthy Eating - Japanese Style

When you think of Japanese food, the first thing that comes to mind is probably sushi, or maybe even sashimi. With Japanese cuisine becoming more and more popular around the world, more people come to Japan to try the local delicacies, or at least to explore the wonders of Japanese food.

It is widely known that the Japanese diet is one of the healthiest in the world. Rates of heart disease and obesity are among the lowest in the world while life expectancy is the highest. A lot of this is attributed to the properties of the food. For example, miso soup is a common staple of Japanese food. Fermented foods such as miso have been shown to contain essential properties that, among other functions, aid digestion and slow down the visible traits of aging. Other popular fermented Japanese foods include: tofu, natto (fermented soy beans) and tsukemono (pickles).

One other possible benefit of the Japanese diet is in regard to mental health. A recent study undertaken at the National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Tokyo concluded that eating a traditional diet of fish, rice, seaweed and a variety of fermented dishes may decrease the likelihood of depression. While other diets tested in the study weren’t considered to be depressive, they did find the diet of Japanese dishes to be somewhat less depressive.

Next time you take a bite of some sashimi or a bowl of natto, you’re not just doing your body a favor but you’re possibly doing your mind a world of good as well.

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