The Asian Diet: A General Overview
A majority of food items classified by a lot of experts as superfoods have their roots in the Asian Diets’ traditional plethora of cuisines. These include mushrooms, kimchi, seaweed, and green tea. This traditional cluster of cuisines are varied in terms of their culinary sense and their geographical proximity and draws from countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Philippines, South Korea, North Korea, Nepal, China, and Japan, among others.
In this article, we will provide a Beginner’s Guide to what the Asian Diet is. Read on to find out more!
The Definition and the Origins of the Asian Diet
The said diet is a form of eating that is time-honored and ancient. Individuals from the Asian region for thousand of years have consumed plant-based food items, which include items such as fresh fruits, veggies, and rice. Compared to other diets from the West, meat is not commonly the main dish on the Asian diet and is mostly used to complement and accent the flavor. In the main courses, fish is often eaten instead of meat.
These diets from the Asian region are deeply rooted in tradition and religious practices. Generally speaking, the Asian diet is an extremely healthy way of eating. People from Asia who have within their disposal an adequate variety of traditional Asian Diet ingredients are mostly the longest-lived and healthiest individuals across the globe. Western cultures are plagued by various chronic diseases due mainly to their diets. These health conditions, such as obesity, cancer, and heart disease which rarely happen to Asian cultures.
Around forty-three nations observe the Asian diet and in fact, 50% of the population of Earth may be considered Asian. For people of the Asian regions, food is an integral part of tradition and religion, with most food items being determined by certain religious practices and based on the relationships within the family and the community. The Asian diet is based mostly on fresh ingredients that are either deep-fried, stir-fried, steamed, and raw.
How Does it Work?
The diet from these Asian regions is generally considered adhering to a balanced diet with its sufficient intake of fat, carbs, and proteins. Some of the advantages of Asian diets include the fact that they are filling (satiety) and it can offer flavors and foods that are diverse. However, some of the cons or disadvantages of the Asian Diet is that it may not be ideal for people who do not like noodles and rice and it can be quite pricey.
Since there are many different Asian Diets, there is a lot of leeway in terms of crafting one’s eating routine. There are several food types, however, that people should be consuming more of. Below are some eating tips to jump-start your foray into the Asian diet:
- Practice mindful eating to appreciate and savor the food’s unique texture and flavor. This can also help individuals in terms of letting them know that they are full.
- Take at least 6 glasses of tea or water daily and drink beer, wine, and sake in moderation.
- Consume more shellfish, fish, and soy and consider meat, not as a main dish but more of a garnish. Individuals should also consume legumes and nuts.
- Increase one’s intake of veggies and fruits. Veggies should be the plate’s centerpiece. Whole-grain consumption would also be increased in an Asian Diet such as whole-wheat bread, buckwheat noodles, millet, black rice, and brown rice.
What Food Items to Eat
Before we look at the different food items to eat, we first need to look at the major groups of Asian Food and these are East Asian and Southeast Asian Food. Under the East Asian categories are Korean, Japanese, and Chinese Food. China has staple foods mostly made up of rice and noodle dishes. Japanese food, on the other hand, focuses more on consuming seafood items owing to it being an island nation. Similar to Chinese cuisine, Japanese cuisine also considers rice as a staple food along with some tempura and other items that are deep-fried with batter. Korean food is a combination of both Japanese and Chinese Food and one of its most prominent food items is known as Kimchi or fermented cabbage.
On the other hand, SouthEaast Asian Food includes food items coming from Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Vietnamese food focuses more on veggies and less on fish and meat. The Philippines has a cuisine that is a combination of American, Islamic, Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish while both Singaporean and Malaysian Cuisine has a combination of Indian, Muslim, and Chinese.
Some of the food items covered by the Asian Diet include the following:
- Noodles: For the Asian diet, people should be ready to take in a lot of noodles and noodle dishes. That being said, individuals who are not into noodles may not consider this kind of diet.
- Fish, Oyster, and Shellfish: As stated earlier, seafood is an integral part of the Asian diet.
- Peas: Adding peas into the diet can be a great way to include legumes into your eating plan. It can be served as a side dish, added into soup, or mixed into noodles.
- Herbs and Spices: Herbs and spices can seriously up the flavor of Asian dishes. Some examples of these spices and herbs include turmeric, mint, ginger, chilies, and Amchoor.
- Scrambled Eggs: This can be added to the menu once weekly and combine with some veggies and tofu to make this breakfast staple
- Veggies: As stated earlier, most Asian recipes focus on veggies as a staple and these include veggies such as bean sprouts, carrots, bok choy, and bamboo shoots.
The Asian diet is generally balanced is also considered a healthier diet compared to other Western Diet due to its emphasis on veggies and other food items such as seafood or fish. This makes the Asian diet ideal for those who want to improve their health and combat certain health conditions.