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The Japanese Diet

You have to wonder what sort of magical elixir the Japanese people have found. Despite the high rate of smoking and the availability of beer in street vending machines, the Japanese are one of the healthiest nations in the world enjoying one of the lowest obesity rates for an industrialized country and having some of the longest lifespans. You got to wonder what it is that they are doing that is making them so healthy.

First Off: Rice and Fish

To say that Rice is Japan’s main carbohydrate would be like saying fish need water. Rice is consumed with every meal, and speaking of fish, the Japanese consume on average almost 150 pounds of fish per person every year. Fish is one of the leanest proteins and packed with good fatty acids that promote health and longevity. Rice is packed with fiber for digestive health and it is a carbohydrate that your body can easily break down and turn into instant energy. This fish and rice staple diet as far better for the body than the traditional western fare of meat and potatoes.

Do not forget the soy..

Aside from plenty of rice and fish, the Japanese also include a lot of soy products in their daily diet. From tofu to soy sauce, the Japanese consume about 200 grams of soy in one form or another on a daily basis. One of their favourite ways to get their soy fix is to enjoy a nice bowl of miso soup. Miso is fermented soy product and the soup that is made from it is both light on your taste buds and easy on your stomach.

Say No to Sugar

The other key to the Japanese sense of health and well-being is in what they tend not to put into their bodies. Sugar fiends, the Japanese are definitely not, consuming only an average of 20 kilos (about 60 pounds) of sugar a year, which is nothing when compared to the whopping 71 kilos (we’re talking 150 pounds here) that most Americans ingest.

Anyone who has given up soda for month and has felt the results knows the effects of refined sugar on the body. It is no wonder that the Japanese people are skinnier and have far lower incidences of heart disease and cancer. Besides sugar, the Japanese also stay away from fried foods, preferring their foods to be lightly cooked and less stuffing. Dairy products are also not on your typical Japanese menu.

Smaller portions, eaten slowly

Japanese meals generally contain a lot of variety and are served in small portions that are eaten slowly with the use of chopsticks. Eating smaller portions slowly helps with digestion and also has you feeling fuller while eating less. Instead of woofing down your big greasy burger and bucket of deep fried potato sticks in two minutes flat, following it up with a mega sized soda and then feeling the caloric crush later, take your time eating a nicely prepared bento box.

Variety is the key

While they eat a lot of rice, fish and soy, the Japanese diet is far from boring. You just need to look at a sushi menu to see that. In fact, in week span, the typical Japanese eater will have eaten three times as many different varieties of vegetables, fruits, and meal than the typical American eater. Variety ensures that you are getting nature’s full spectrum of nutrition and keeps you interested in both what you are eating and how you are eating it.

The Japanese Breakfast

If you are looking for a good way to start your day try starting it off with a traditional Japanese breakfast; Steamed rice, tofu, miso soup, spring onion omelette or fish, either grilled or raw, followed up by green tea. While this is not your typical pancakes and sausage type of fare, this lightweight diet gives you the protein and carbs you need to start your day without weighing down. It will also help stimulate your metabolism and help you find your ideal weight.

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