Studies have shown that Asians have lesser problems with weight gain and chronic diseases. Find out what their secret is.

In Asia, especially in Japan and China, obesity isn't as prevalent as it is in the Western world. Diabetes and heart disease are also very rare. Studies have linked this to the fact that Asian diets consist mostly of plant-based foods and are low in saturated fats.

As Asia is a big continent with so many existing cultures, some countries do not follow the same diet as Japan and China and tend to eat more meat and vegetables. Some people tend to have more meat and sweets in their diet causing them to have a higher chance of acquiring chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. This is true for some regions. At the same time, due to the rise in the number of Western fast foods in Asian countries, drastic changes have occurred in the traditional, healthy Asian diet.

Elements of the Traditional Asian Diet

Although industrialization has changed the dietary preference of some Asians, the rural regions still maintain their healthy diet. The population that follows this diet tend to live longer, look younger and maintain a healthy weight. Here are the common elements which bring about these results:

  • Fruits. The traditional Asian diet is rich in fruits which consist of pineapple, pomelo, guava and other citrus fruits that contain antioxidants, vitamin C and other micronutrients. Watermelon, grapes, apples and pears are also very popular. Temperate Asian regions tend to eat a lot of peaches, strawberries and cherries. Banana is also another fruit that is commonly eaten. In fact, a new diet trend in Japan is the banana diet wherein people eat only bananas for breakfast and eat moderate amounts of their normal fare for lunch and dinner.
  • Vegetables. This is a viand that is always present in most Asian meals. Whether it is stir-fried, mixed with coconut cream or eaten raw, vegetables are a great part of Asian meals. Cabbage, broccoli, eggplant, squash, bamboo shoot, bean sprouts and several types of mushrooms are commonly included in their dishes.
  • Seafood. Since there are a lot of archipelagos and islands in Asia, seafood is quite common in this country. Whether they are eaten raw, cooked in batter, grilled or cooked in vinegar, seafood dishes are rarely absent.
  • Rice, Noodles and Millet. Although the various cultures in Asia have different dishes, rice is something all Asian countries have. Rice, noodles, millet and other carbohydrate sources are found in the base of the traditional Asian Diet pyramid.
  • Legumes. Soybeans are quite common in Asia. They are included in the diet in the form of soy milk, tofu or even soybean paste (miso). For vegetarians, soybean is a common to ingredient in their vegan meats. Other legumes that are included in the Asian diet are peanuts, dried beans and Edamame beans.
  • Tea. Drinking tea is quite common in East Asian cultures. The most well known tea in Asia is green tea which contains a lot of antioxidants and has properties that promote weight loss. In fact, green tea extract is often found in weight loss supplements. Oolong tea also has the ability to stimulate metabolic functions. Ginseng tea which enhances mental and physical performance and increases immune function is commonly taken in Korea and China.

Following the Asian Diet can be a great way to lose weight as it has most of the nutrients required by the body. You should, however, watch the salt. Some Asian dishes tend to contain a lot of salt like miso soup, salted fish and pickled vegetables. Also, in order to enhance the diet, you should add some dairy as most Asian diets do not contain a lot of dairy. Another thing that you should remember that any diet needs to be combined with exercise in order to be effective. The Asian Diet is no different. As you can see in the pyramid, physical activity is also a great part of their daily life.

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Asian Diet in Diet Trends is owned by Maryrose Roque.