Traditional Asian Diet Review
The Traditional Asian Diet has a number of names, but it is essentially a plant-dense diet with rice and generous portions of fish and other seafood.
How Does The Traditional Asian Diet Work?
Since the idea of a “traditional” Asian diet actually utilizes the cultural habits and customs of several countries, you shouldn’t be surprised to know that there are no hard or fast rules about what you can and cannot eat. There is no calorie counting or need for portion control either.
The components of the Asian diets shouldn’t surprise you either. Rice is the main component, and it is eaten at every single meal. Sometimes it is the only available dish in poorer households. In fact, 90% of the 350 million tons of rice eaten annually is eaten in Asia.
The other component is a generous portion of vegetables, which are consumed at least in two meals per day.
However, most Traditional Asian diets are not vegetarian – animal protein is commonly consumed in the form of fish and seafood. Just a decade ago, the average consumption of fish was measured at 154 pounds per person, per year. Beef on the other hand is rarely eaten, but chicken and eggs are included on a more frequent basis.
The Power of Plants
Asian cultures have always been known for relying heavily on plant foods. This is why they eat less saturated fat, and consume more fiber in their diet. Fiber is known to help protect the body from various digestive issues, as well as chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease.
Plant foods also are consumed to satisfy protein requirements. Soy foods such as tempeh and tofu are key components in many Asian cultures, along with beans and legumes, which may be added to dishes like stir-fried vegetables.
Root vegetables are extremely popular in Asia because they are easy to grow and distribute. They are also filling and nutritious and a true traditional Asian diet would not be complete without them.
These foods include vegetables like turnips, yams, carrots, beets, winter squash, and potatoes. Root vegetables are high in fiber and essential nutrients, and they may protect against various diseases. Foods like carrot and beets contain powerful antioxidants that may protect and heal the body.
Vegetables are normally severed lightly cooked, which preserves the nutrient portfolio as well as the fiber content in the vegetables. This also enables yout body to absorb more nutrients from many vegetables like carrots, mushrooms, peppers, and cabbage.
Fruits are not eaten quite as much, but they are still consumed. Traditional fruits like bananas are eaten, as well as pineapples, oranges, plums, and lemons. However, the Asian diet is known for eating stranger looking fruits like durian, which is known as the “King of Fruits.”
Traditional Asian Diet Health Benefits
The traditional Asian diet offers many health benefits that many other diets cannot offer.
In a recent clinical trial conducted at the Joslin Diabetes Center, adults considered at a high risk for developing type 2 diabetes significantly improved insulin resistance by strictly following a traditional Asian diet.
The high fiber consumption in the traditional Asian diet is known to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. This is why fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are emphasized. After a study at the National Institutes of Health examined group of 50,000 Japanese men over a 14 year period, researchers clearly connected high fiber intake with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
The World Cancer Center recommends a plant based diet for decreasing the risk of developing certain types of cancer as well, noting that high fiber intake is especially important to prevent bowel cancer.
Turmeric, an Asian Indian herb containing the powerful extract curcumin, is part of the spice blend used to make curries and a number of other dishes. Curcumin has been shown to treat a number of neurological disorders and it has been shown to improve overall memory capacity of Alzheimer patients.
Green tea is also widely consumed in many Asian cultures, and the antioxidant and weight loss properties of green tea are well known. In addition, the catechin in tea is widely thought to be the key ingredient in green tea to protect against heart disease, cancer, and liver disease. Current studies suggest green tea may be able to prevent metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and obesity.
Traditional Asian Diet Conclusion
The traditional Asian diet offers a plant-first approach to cultivating long-lasting health. There’s a reason many Asian cultures live longer than people living in the U.S. and in Western Europe.
The additional Asian diet creates a plant-hearty diet that is neither boring nor tasteless. A variety of spices are used to create exotic, unique dishes that provide both excellent test and essential nutrients.
For people who enjoy a variety of vegetables and seafood, and aren’t big red-meat eaters, the traditional Asian diet is the perfect fit.
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