Learning From The Asian Diet

The Asian diet may decrease your chances of developing a chronic disease.

Traditionally, the core intake of typical Asian diets is plant foods. These consist of food such as fruits, vegetables, rice, noodles, flatbreads, grains, nuts, beans, and many other similar items. Even most drinks are plant-based, including tea, beer, and wine. The Asian diet provides all of the essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other health-promoting plant food resources when consumed in adequate amounts, despite a minimal focus on animal-based foods. Because these substances are so complex and not entirely understood, modern dietary guidelines all over the globe suggest that one should eat a substantial amount of a wide variety of plant-based foods. Typically, a healthy Asian diet is very low in saturated and total fats.

Fish is usually consumed in moderate amounts in Asian countries, except in areas where seafood is not readily available. Consumption of fish in an Asian diet is generally considered optional, and there is a large variety of other options in traditional diets. People inhabiting interior regions such as China or India consume much less fish than those living in Japan, where it is a staple due to the coastal and island land areas.

The Asian diet vastly limits the amount of food intake from land animals. Chronic diseases such as certain types of cancer and several heart conditions have been associated with these meat products. This is especially true of red meats and pork. These foods contain little or no dietary fiber and actually displace the energy and nutrients gained from plant-based foods. When meat is served, it is only in very small amounts, and some areas have even eliminated meat from meals entirely. Such diets are shown to be adequate in daily energy intake and are still considered to be extraordinarily healthy.

Over time, Asians have developed a variety of ways to flavor their plant foods, using a wide variety of spices. Dairy products are also mostly absent in Eastern and Southern Asian diets. With the exception of India, milk, cheese and other dairy foods aren't generally found in these cultures. The absence of these foods tends to cause concern in Europe and the United States, as dairy products are high in calcium content, and there are many who believe that dairy products prevent osteoporosis and other ailments. Despite this, occurrences of osteoporosis in Asia are not very common, whereas in many western countries (where large amounts of calcium are consumed) the rates are still very high. For these reasons, dairy foods are considered purely optional in the Asian diet and are consumed in low quantities.

Black and green teas are typical drinks for Asians. Recently, the antioxidants in these teas have revealed that they may decrease the likelihood of contracting some chronic diseases. Wine and beer are also consumed in moderate to low amounts. As with other items, alcoholic beverages are considered to be optional in the Asian diet but are believed to promote good health in moderation.

Combined with adequate physical activity, all of these factors contribute to the high life expectancies and lower rates of chronic disease in the Asian region. Their diet provides them with both proper nutrition and general good health.

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