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Did you know that the Japanese live the
longest in the entire world. A Japanese woman
on average lives for 86 years and a man 79. Not
only that they also enjoy a lot more disease
free years when aging than Westerners. This has
baffled scientist for years considering that
approxiamately 75% of Japanese men smoke!!
A large reason for this is Japanese Food. The Japanese have
a very different approach to food than western countries
To start with the Japanese serve communal dishes with a
variety of foods to choose from. This encourages people to
sample smaller portions of each food and inadvertently
causes you to eat much slower, giving your brain time to
register when your stomach has had enough. Thus leading to
lower obesity rates.
Not only is portion and serving methods a benefit the
Japanese also tend to eat a lot more healthy foods as well.
For example a typical Japanese Diet contains a large amount
of vegetables, fish, fruit, tofu, and broth based soups.
In fact you could even say that the Japanese are obsessed
with eating fish. This is a good obsession though as it is well
known that there are big health benefits from the Omega 3 fatty
acids found in fish.
In addition to this the Japanese also eat a lot of Soy based
products like Tofu and certain beans which have very
little saturated fats. Where as western diets tend to eat more
red meat and run the risk of taking in too much saturated fat
leading to heart problems.
One of the leading problems with health in America is that
the people eat too much high saturated fatty foods such as
cakes, fried foods and chocolates. The Japanese on the other
hand have rice as the cornerstone of the diets and it is
usually served with every meal, yes even breakfast. The great
thing about rice, especially brown rice, is that it fills you
up and is low in saturated fat.
Green Tea is another popular feature in the
Japanese diet. One can happily enjoy Green tea
with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Scientists have now recognised the health
benefits of Green Tea being attributed to the
high levels of anti-oxidants it contains.
These anti-oxidants have been linked to drastic reductions
in Cancer rates, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Cholesterol levels and
Some studies have even stated that Green Tea has a positive
dental effect by killing bacteria that cause decay in the
It is becoming more evident these days that the large
consumption of Green Tea in Japanese diets must be reducing the
negatives effects that smoking cigarettes has on the body,
because as mentioned earlier approximately 75% of Japanese men
smoke yet Japan has the lowest rates of smoking related
diseases in the world.
Green Tea is such a large part of the Japanese culture that
the Japanese have special Green Tea drinking ceremonies called
Below is a list of some of the most popular foods that are
common in Japan and unlike western diets breakfast includes
such foods as rice, fish and even pickles!!
Rice - served hot or
cold with any meal in a variety of different
there are many types including Gunken and
|Miso Soup -
tofu, Seaweed and Noodles
Raisu - curried rice
- bowl of rice with chicken, beef
etc... on top
thinly sliced meat with vegetables
come in many varieties including, soba, udon
Make sure that you check if you are required to remove your
shoes before entering the place for eating. Many westerners can
end up embarrassing themselves in Japan by neglecting to do so.
It is also important to note that if you are going to use
chopsticks please do not keep them in your hands when making
hand signals in conversation as this can be seen as
Before you eat a meal it is polite to say "Itadakimasu"
which means "I gratefully receive". Upon finishing the meal you
say "Gochisosama (deshita)" which means "Thank you for this
As mentioned earlier the Japanese serve food to be shared,
and it is polite to serve others first. Also when you are
taking your portion be sure not to stick you chopsticks
into the food, as this is seen as rude and actually only
ever done at funerals.
If you can try your best to finish all of the food on your
plate as this is also polite.
Also take care not to burp at the table
It's no secret that the Japanese like to have a drink, and
it is not seen as rude to have a few too many, as long as you
are not offensive to people. The most common alcoholic drinks
in Japan are Beers and Saki (rice wine).
If you live in Japan and find yourself in a hurry and don't
have time to make breakfast or lunch one day, then rest assured
that the chances of finding quick relief from one of the
millions of food vending machines scattered across the nation
is pretty good.
You can find vending machines that sell soft drinks, rice,
vitamins, tea and even noodles. The amazing thing is that Japan
has roughly 1 vending machine for every 23 people.
I hope this helps you understand some of the aspects of the
All the best!
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