Instead of spending $2 trillion in 2004 in order to stay healthy, the Americans should have taken a boat to China or Japan to look at the Asian diet as an example of a healthy diet. Studies have shown that people in Asian countries are slimmer, have lower cholesterol and the rates of heart disease and cancer are much lower than those of the Americans. |
The general good health of older people living on the island Okinowa in Japan has attracted special interest in recent years. This island in southwest Japan is home to a much higher number of people who reached the good old age of over the hundred, than we find in America. Okinawans reach an older average age than Americans. They also have lower rates of heart disease and cancer.
Research recently found that the risk of obesity and cancer shows up in Asians who moved to America, including their offspring. And because the American eating habits are spreading around the world, other cultures are starting to show more people with the kind of health problems the Americans are coping with.
The traditional Asian diet is quite simple and satisfying. Rice, noodles, breads and some grains form the base of their diet, which is served with plenty of bok choy, mushrooms, fruits and vegetables. Their diet also includes beans, seeds, nuts, fish, eggs, poultry and a few sweets; occasionally some meat.
Originally, the term Asian diet referred to the foods that the Chinese and Japanese typically eat, but in recent years Americans have become more familiar with cuisines from Thailand, Korea, and Vietnam. In all of these countries people enjoy a rich variety of foods, but the basic Asian diet remain the same.
It's easy to substitute some ingredients found in he Asian diet into your own meal plans. The very least you can do is to include the healthy philosophy of Asian eating into your own diet, without having to explore any unfamiliar dishes.
The meat consumption of the Asian people is much lower than that of the Americans. In China, for example, people eat an average of 4 pounds of beef per year. In Japan they eat more, a yearly consumption of about 23 pounds of beef and veal. In contrast, the average American eat more than 60 pounds of beef, plus chicken, pork and other meats. Americans get about 33% of their calories from fat, but in Japan it's only about 11%.
As a result, cholesterol levels shows to be much lower in Asian countries, at least among people who eat traditional diets.The benefits can be quite significant, since lower cholesterol levels not only reduce the risk of heart disease, but also the risk of cancer. In stark contrast with America, where meat is often the centre piece of the meal, in a typical meal in Asian countries you tend to see meat as a condiment or side item.
It's not only the absence of meat that makes the Asian diet so healthy. People in Asian countries also eat a lot of soy foods - 3 to 4 ounces a day of tempeh, tofu, defatted soy flour and more. There are several reasons that soy foods are so healthy. They are rich in a group of natural compounds called phytoestrogens, which the body converts into substances that act like a weak form of estrogen. These faux estrogens block the body's estrogen receptors, lowering the amount of estrogen in the body. As a result, this may help lower the risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women, especially if they have been eating soy food since they were young, but studies are inconclusive.
Asian women are also less likely than American women to have heart disease, which may be due to the low fat- high fibre nature of soy, not the phytoestrogens.
Goodness from Nature The Asian diet, which is packed with fresh fruits, vegetables, and other fibre-rich foods, is on the cutting edge and set an enviable standard. In China, for example, many people get 33 grams of fibre every day. That's a very strong protection against heart disease.
The average Okinawan eats seven servings of vegetables, two to four servings of fruit, and seven servings of grains every day. These fruits and vegetables are also rich sources of vitamin C, carotenoids (including beta-carotene), and other antioxidant compounds to help the body to protect against disease. People who eat lots of plant-based foods tend to have lower rates of chronic diseases, like cancer and heart disease.
Fish for your Heart On the islands Japan and Okinawa, people eat a lot of fish. Many studies show that even small amounts of fish, as little as three ounces per week, can provide powerful protection. Fish contains fat that thin the blood and help prevent heart disease.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the omega-3 fatty acids in fish, especially oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, can help to lower your blood pressure and heart rate. Omega-3 also reduce your risk of heart disease, may lower your risk of stroke, and may help protect you from cognitive decline in your later years. Also fish can help to protect your heart by providing a good source of protein without the saturated fat that you can get from red meat. The American Heart Association recommends that people eat fish, especially fish high in omega-3, at least twice a week.
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Asian diet, heart disease, cancer, soy food, carotenoids, estrogens,