The use of delicious and nutrient rich beans. It's ironic, since my Japanese friends tell me how unhealthy "western" food is, while they fill up on kara-age curry, and other such fried foods. Another question, why is it that you can only find white bread here? And why is it that Japanese versions of Western food use less healthy ingredients? I'll pass.
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I don't really think Japanese people truly understand healthy living, at least not anymore anyways. My twin brother eats a typical American diet and is 50 pounds heavier than me. As some state Tokyo is very European with food. I would say the Japanese body actual muscle which they lack and blood pressure differs from westerners. I believe the young Japanese live off conbini and McDs To me personally the food here is overrated, like everything else here.
The Japanese are similar to Europeans So freshness gets an A, however. Thats partly why people shop most days. I wouldnt say the supermarket food is all that fresh to be honest Our two big local supermarkets each have a 'local produce' corner where farmers can bring their produce direct - no middle man. I like the wide variety of leafy greens available here, and the way that they are cooked in hotpot dishes seems very healthy to me. Recently a super-healthy form of brown rice, called "hatsuga-genmai" has started to become widely available. It's not cheap at the moment, but just wait for the price wars to heat up.
Too much salt, too much carb, saved by lack of gluttony. Insofar as Japanese eat better, it's because they eat less overall and avoid sugary drinks. It depends on whether you want to insert the word "comparatively" before the word "healthy" in the question. White rice may not be an ideal staple but compared to french fries, which seem to be the de facto staple in America, Britain, and to a lesser extent Australia, I'd suggest that it's pretty good.
That's more an issue of diet than cuisine though. And in general I'd suspect that the average Japanese eats a healthier diet than the average westerner. For example, I was in a cheap chain izakaya last night and we ate bamboo shoots, edamame, a seafood salad, fried chicken sorry Cleo and onigiri. I think that probably compares pretty favourably to what I would probably have eaten in a similar price range British pub - fish and chips, lasagane and chips, pie and chips, sausage and mash, or American bar - buffalo wings, french fries, ribs.
This is more a comparison between western fast food, and Japanese food. Western diets minus the fast food are very healthy. Organic vegetables, and organic breads, cereals, rice. The problem is, fast food has become an acceptable form of nourishment in, well, English speaking countries.
The truth is, Japan is plagued with the same problems. I think American's get a worst-case scenario everytime this comparison is brought up. Truth is, American food goes beyond just hamburgers and fries. Meat has only recently become the large portions you see now. As well, America offers more variety in food available, than Japan. I'd much rather buy my produce shopping in an American grocery store, than a Japanese one.
All you English teachers out there, ask your students what a typical Japanese breakfast constitutes, and I guarantee that there'll be a triumphant chorus of "rice, fish, miso, pickles! Then, ask them what they actually had for breakfast this morning or any morning. Go ahead, just try it. You'll be surprised, and so will they. Modern cuisine, IMHO, is Not heatlhy at all, not saying old cuisine was healthier as many food sources were not commonly available. But than the medical proffession gets paid now by interest groups to scare us in to NOT eating X or Y or even worse to increase our uptake of W or Z.
One reason why Humans became the dominant species is that like Pigs very intelligent we are omnivores, thus designed to survive on a variety on foods. Which gave us the edge when shortage of other food-stuff drove other species into extinction. As many have said, the Japanese diet today has far too much salt, and everything in the shops are laden with MSG and sugar my folks back home wonder how Japanese diabetics survive, and trust me, there are diabetics in Japan.
Of course it is. Just don't eat too much of anything - variety is the spice of life - whether you're a meat-eater or vegetarian. I know there is a minority who say that tofu is bad, but I'd take that with a pinch of salt, just like I do with the crowd that says milk is necessary. Traditionally, the East Asians have eaten a lot of tofu and practically no dairy products and yet they have low rates of osteoporosis - I don't see them dropping dead.
Of course, today it's a different matter with the Japanese eating all sorts of junk food. And be very careful of cookies made in Japan - trans-fat shortening is in practically all the products. I do think that the Japanese know far less about nutrition than others - in the US and UK, you get a lot of obese people, but you also have access to a wide variety of healthy food. White bread, white sticky rice, white pasta are the staples here.
Japanese white rice is so over-rated.
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Good luck finding wholemeal bread. Do you have proof that osteoporosis is just as prevalent or more in East Asia, compared to western countries? Because I don't. And I am also talking about those people who haven't been brainwashed yet into believing that dairy products are essential for a healthy diet. One thing I can't fault the Japanese for is their wonderful habit of drinking green tea all day, every day. If you haven't acquired the habit yet, then start! You're certainly in the right place for it, after all.
Certainly can not disagree with that. Almost all restaurant foods place a priority on taste over health. And pre-made foods in the supermarkets place a priority on shelf life over health.
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Just about anything you can make at home from fresh ingredients with yourself in control is healthier for you. Fried meat in everything? The only "fried meat" I can think of in Japanese cuisine is the ubiquitous Tonkatsu and the Chicken Kara age. Other than that I can't think of any "agemono" involving meats. Junk food.
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Never seen Karaage on Curry but sure some fast food place like go-go curry might do something like that. If this is an example of your appreciation of Japanese cuisine, I don't think you should be making blanket statements. Because that's what they like in Japan. But you can find alot of other breads in Japanese bakeries and depachikas.
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White rice was the highest form of rice that Japanese could eat prior to the Meiji era. It was eaten by the nobles and wealthy. The average peasant ate mixed rice and in many cases not even rice; millet.
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The average lifespan in Japan was due to their mostly vegetarian diset supplemented by oily fish in certain regions. Until recently Soy Sauce was not so widely used, this is one of the downsides of Japanese foods with its high salt content.
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Luckily i hate it, unless aonly a small amount used. As for the main topic, traditional homemade Japanese food is very healthy compared to other nations and the fact that probably half or more Japanese still eat homemade food of this type means obestity,diabeties and other mainly Western problems are still low.
Looking at what is happening with "modern" Jpaanese food, we see too may additices, fried foods , MSG and other nasty things. The amount eating this junk is growing and Japans health problems will increase if there is not an effort to promote healthy eating in the young and "busy" housewives. The biggest change in the Japanese diet occurred under the Meiji government late s which literally "forced" people to eat meat and dairy products. What you describe is the Japanese diet up to and including the Edo period.
If a Japanese person is years old that means they were born in ,well past the major change in the Japanese diet. In fact by the meat dishes well known today, like sukiyaki and shabu-shabu were already well established. As far as I am aware the wide use of soy sauce in Japanese cooking goes back to the Kamakura period Most of the major brands of soy sauce known today were in existence as soy sauce makers during the Edo period.
Yes, agree this is happening in Japan. It has already happened in the United States and basically is happening all over the world. What's with this "mediterranean" diet? What are we talking here?