Statistics show that about one-third of all adult Americans are obese, about 8% of the American population suffers from diabetes, and heart disease causes about a third of all deaths in the United States. Also, dietary choices in the U.S have a direct impact on the prevalence of these diseases. But, as it turns out several aspects of Asian diets are actually linked to lower prevalence of life-threatening disease. Let’s see why Asian food may be better for your health:
A higher vegetable consumption
Even though there’s a great diversity of vegetables available in the U.S, they play a secondary role in the American’s food choices. They are often served as side dishes, if at all, and certain vegetables, like potatoes, are generally deep fried. On the opposite side though, vegetables play a major role in the Asian cuisine. They are often served in entrees and sometimes are even used as main dishes without meats. Vegetables provide dietary fiber, which may help lower blood glucose levels that lead to obesity and diabetes. They also provide antioxidant vitamins and minerals, like vitamin A, zinc and vitamin C, which are known to prevent cellular damage and may also inhibit the formation of cancerous tumors.
Less fried foods
Just a few genuine Asian foods - like Japanese tempura - are deep fried, however Asian cooking techniques generally favor steaming or stir frying. These techniques reduce or eliminate oils that add calories and fats to dishes. Unfortunately, deep fried food is common in the U.S and Americans commonly consume French fries, jalapeno poppers, fried chicken and doughnuts, all of which are loaded with fats that can clog arteries and contribute to heart disease.
Less red meat
The common diet in the United States generally consists of hamburgers, pork chops, steaks, meatballs, bacon or sausage. These foods are high in saturated fats that can trigger "bad" cholesterol and lead to arteriosclerosis, stroke and even heart attack. And, unfortunately these fats are linked to obesity, too. Asian diets on the other hand use red meats sparingly, focusing instead on lean proteins, like fish and tofu. Fish are lower in saturated fats than red meats, and provide essential fatty acids that help support brain and the nerve function. Tofu is a good meat replacement that contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, and provides calcium for strong bones.
Less simple carbohydrates
As we already know, most of the time, Americans depend on simple carbohydrates that are most frequently found in white flour products, like snack crackers, white breads, bagels, tortillas, pastries and obviously cakes. The downside of this is that simple carbohydrates dangerously raise blood sugar levels that can unfortunately contribute to diabetes and weight gain. Asian cuisine generally doesn’t contain white flour products. And, even though white rice - a staple of Asian cuisine - is believed to be high in carbohydrates, these carbs are actually in the form of resistant starch that your body doesn’t readily digest.
What are your thoughts on this? What do you prefer – Asian food or western food? Share your thoughts in the comments below.