The Japanese Diet & its Benefits

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The Japanese Diet & its Benefits : A whole-foods-based diet heavy in fish, shellfish, and plant-based foods and low in animal protein, added sugars, and fat is the traditional Japanese diet. It is modeled after “washoku,” or traditional Japanese cuisine, which consists of tiny dishes made using basic, seasonal, and fresh ingredients.

This nutrient-dense eating style may help with weight loss, digestion, longevity, and general health, among many other health advantages. Everything you need to know about the traditional Japanese diet is included in this page.


The Japanese Diet & its Benefits


What is the traditional Japanese diet?

Seasonal ingredients that have undergone minimum processing are presented in a variety of tiny meals as part of the traditional Japanese diet.

Rather than overpowering food flavors with sauces or seasonings, this eating method brings out the inherent flavors of the food.

Steamed rice, noodles, seafood, tofu, natto, seaweed, and raw, cooked, or pickled fruits and vegetables are abundant in the diet, while additional sugars and fats are minimal. Additionally, it might include some dairy, meat, or eggs, but they are usually only a minor portion of the diet.

The Okinawan diet, which was traditionally followed by people who lived on the Japanese island of Okinawa, is similar to the typical Japanese diet but contains a lot more rice and seafood.

In contrast, modern Japanese food incorporates more ingredients and is heavily influenced by the West and China.




Foods to eat

Fish and seafood. All types of fish and seafood can be included. These can be steamed, baked, grilled, or raw — as is the case with sushi and sashimi.

Soy foods. The most common are edamame, tofu, miso, soy sauce, tamari, and natto.

Fruit and vegetables. Usually, fruits are eaten raw or pickled while vegetables are steamed, sautéed, pickled, simmered in broth, or added to soups.

Seaweed. Sea vegetables are a big part of the traditional Japanese diet. They’re usually eaten raw or dried.

Tempura. This light dough is made by mixing wheat flour with iced or sparkling water. It serves as a batter for deep-fried seafood and vegetables.

Rice or noodles. Steamed rice is a staple in a traditional Japanese diet. Other popular options include soba, ramen, or udon noodles served chilled or in a hot broth.

Beverages. Hot green tea and cold barley tea are the main beverages, though beer and sake may be served with dinner.

Small amounts of red meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy may also be included. However, these foods don’t comprise a large part of the traditional Japanese diet.




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Foods to restrict or stay away from


The following foods are minimized in the traditional Japanese diet:

Dairy products include ice cream, yogurt, cheese, butter, and milk.

Poultry and red meat, such as duck, chicken, hog, and beef.

Eggs can be fried, boiled, omelets, etc.

Overindulgence in fats and oils: margarine, olive oils for cooking, salad dressings, sauces high in fat, etc.

Baked items, such as pie, brownies, muffins, pita, tortillas, croissants, and bread.

Processed or sugary foods, such as soft drinks, candies, granola bars, and breakfast cereals.


Sample menu

Here’s a typical 3-day menu for the traditional Japanese diet:

Day 1

Breakfast: miso soup, steamed rice, natto, and seaweed salad

Lunch: soba noodles in a dashi-based broth, grilled tuna, kale salad, and boiled vegetables

Dinner: udon noodle soup, fish cakes, edamame, and vegetables marinated in vinegar


Day 2

Breakfast: miso soup, steamed rice, an omelet, dried trout, and pickled fruit

Lunch: clam soup, rice balls wrapped in seaweed, marinated tofu, and a cooked-vegetable salad

Dinner: miso soup, sushi, seaweed salad, edamame, and pickled ginger


Day 3

Breakfast: udon-noodle soup, a boiled egg, shrimp, and pickled vegetables

Lunch: shiitake-mushroom soup, rice cakes, seared scallops, and steamed vegetables

Dinner: miso soup, steamed rice, vegetable tempura, and salmon or tuna sashimi



The bottom line

The staples of the traditional Japanese diet include complete, minimally processed, seasonal foods that are high in nutrients.

It is low in meat, dairy, and snacks and high in fruits, vegetables, and seafood.

It may prolong your life, help you manage your weight, enhance digestion, and guard against a number of illnesses.

Numerous books are available if you’d want to learn more about the traditional Japanese diet. When perusing, seek out books that emphasize entire foods rather than Westernized cuisine.

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