The main concern of the Asian diet is to create wellness. This I believe is the best medicine. By practicing these diet habits you will see improvement in your overall health. We all know:
The following list serves up healthier habits, better nutrition and enhanced immune function - the list has been perfected and practiced for centuries.
It’ essential to consider when you eat and how you eat as you read these 7 Asian diet habits.
1. Limit Drinks, Especially Cold Drinks with Meals
Unfortunately Americans have a bad habit of drinking a cold glass of water or soda with meals. By changing this habit you’ll develop better digestion of food. You should also limit fluid intake with your meals and by doing so you’ll stop diluting your digestive enzymes which are so important for proper digestion. However, green tea or other hot teas before a meal support enzymatic activity and help enhance your digestive abilities. Also, it's best to add liquids 30 minutes before or after meals, not during.
2. Have Soup Often
Soup is a nutrient dense food and fills you up quickly. You don't need much, just a half cup is beneficial. Most Asian soups are made with bones and/or combinations of vegetables so you're getting lots of vitamins and minerals even with a small portion. Whether it is bone broth soup, vegetable or miso, soups are rich in vitamins and minerals and easily absorbed. Secondly, but equally important is that the warm temperature of soup (like tea) can improve the entire digestive process.
3. Eat a 3:1 Ratio Vegetables to Meat
3:1 means three times the amount of vegetables to the amount of meat. The meat and potato American diet does not make much room for vegetables on the plate. In fact, the favorite American vegetable, potatoes should be replaced with sweet potatoes if you absolutely can't live without that starch. Better still, consider vegetables with bitter flavors. Give radishes, radicchio and bitter melon a spot on your plate.
4. Small Plates and Chopsticks
Small serving bowls and small plates are a great way to eat smaller portions. Also, chopsticks are an easy way to avoid the shovel techniques of eating. For the average American inexperienced chopstick user, they are guaranteed to slow down your rate of consumption and give your stomach time to send the message to your brain that you're full and it's time to stop eating.
5. Rice Combining
Rice combinations like black, brown, red, or even purple rice are nutritionally denser than white or brown alone. Rice is eaten to supplement the meal in Asia, not a main course. Rice has always been a popular carbohydrate, cheap to grow and easy to transport and store. But as a carbohydrate it is converted into sugar during the digestive process. This means it can cause a dramatic effect in our glycemic index. This is good for fast energy, but bad if you want to avoid blood sugar fluctuations and bad for those who are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Rice combinations are less starchy therefore less sugar conversion and lower in calories.
6. Seafood - See Food Differently
No need to repeat what we already know. Research supports this common Asian diet practice of eating fish daily. We've heard all about the healthy oils from fish. Fish has always been part of man's diet nearly everywhere in the world, not just Asia. But the Asian culture has kept this part of their heritage alive better than most.
7. Asian Snacks are Healthier
Take a look at what Asians eat for snacks and compare it with the American chips and cookies and you'll understand part of the reason Americans are so overweight and Asians are not. Choose seaweed snacks, nuts, dried fruit and seeds. I love pumpkin and sunflower seeds. All are easy to find in nearly every market. These healthy snacks are packed full of micro-nutrients, vitamins and minerals and the choices are limitless.
Are you a fan of the Asian Diet? Leave a comment and share your thoughts on healthy eating.