What is an Asian Diet?

L. Hepfer

Research has proven that people in Asian countries have lower cholesterol, lower rates of heart disease and cancers than Americans. They tend to stay smaller in size, are more slender and live longer lives. Regular exercise and close family relationships play a part in this, but the traditional Asian diet plays the biggest role and has been considered the healthiest diet in the world.

Oyster and other mushrooms are often a big part of an Asian diet.
Oyster and other mushrooms are often a big part of an Asian diet.

The Asian diet represents not only China and Japan, but also includes North and South Korea, India, Thailand and Vietnam. The meals throughout these countries are different but the fundamentals remain the same. Meat often times is not included in the meals, leaving out much saturated fat and cholesterol. This results in low cholesterol levels in the body which lessens the risk for heart disease and cancer.

Broccoli provides calcium to the typically non-dairy Asian diet.
Broccoli provides calcium to the typically non-dairy Asian diet.

The Asian diet is a very simple combination of foods. The foundation of the diet consists of noodles, rice, breads and other grains. Large portions of mushrooms, bok choy and other fruits and vegetables are placed on top. The diet may also include eggs, poultry, fish, beans, seeds, nuts, and occasionally some sweets.

Soy-based foods like tofu are a great source of protein.
Soy-based foods like tofu are a great source of protein.

Soy provides the main source of protein in Asian countries. Asians consume a lot of soy foods like tofu, tempeh, defatted soy flour and more. Soy foods are rich in phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are a group of compounds that are converted into hormone-like substances that act like a weak form of estrogen.

Eating too much fish can cause an increased risk of stroke.
Eating too much fish can cause an increased risk of stroke.

They block the estrogen receptors inside the body and lessen the overall amount of estrogen, lowering the risk of breast cancer. Phytoestrogens can ease hot flashes during menopause by replacing estrogen that is being lost. Women who live on an Asian diet often times have an easier time going through the transition of menopause.

Asian cuisine is very popular in the United States, especially as takeout.
Asian cuisine is very popular in the United States, especially as takeout.

The Asian diet does not normally include dairy foods. Dairy foods are eaten sparingly, which may result in weaker bones. Calcium must be supplemented through other foods such as broccoli and bok choy to keep the bones healthy and strong.

The Asian diet consists of eating fruit and vegetables.
The Asian diet consists of eating fruit and vegetables.

Since it contains so many fruits and vegetables, the Asian diet is very high in fiber. Diets high in fiber help fight heart disease. The fruits and vegetables also provide tons of Vitamin C, beta-carotene and other antioxidant compounds.

Healthy stir-fry and noodle dishes are a culinary staple throughout Asia.
Healthy stir-fry and noodle dishes are a culinary staple throughout Asia.

Tea is an important component of the Asian diet. Drinking tea helps lower the risk of heart disease and stroke because tea includes an antioxidant compound called phenol. Phenol is what helps protect the body from disease. There are more antioxidants found in green tea than black tea.

According to research, people who live in Asian countries have lower cholesterol and lower rates of heart disease and cancers than people in the Americas.
According to research, people who live in Asian countries have lower cholesterol and lower rates of heart disease and cancers than people in the Americas.

Fish contains specific fats that help prevent heart disease. Asians eat fish in moderation. Too much fish can cause the risk of stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases. As with most diets and eating habits, moderation is key to gaining the most nutritional benefits.

Phytoestrogens in Asian foods like tofu or tempeh may ease hot flashes experienced during menopause.
Phytoestrogens in Asian foods like tofu or tempeh may ease hot flashes experienced during menopause.
The Asian diet may sometimes include nuts.
The Asian diet may sometimes include nuts.
Asians tend to eat fish in moderation to help prevent heart disease.
Asians tend to eat fish in moderation to help prevent heart disease.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments

anon50786

This is a nice and accurate synopsis. I wrote a book on this topic called "The Asian Diet: simple secrets for eating right, losing weight, and being well" in which I stress the ideas of moderation and balance. People in the Western world could prevent a whole lot of disease and discomfort by adopting these principles.

Jason Bussell MSOM, L.Ac

President Emeritus: Illinois Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: