A traditional Asian diet plan is high on the list when we talk about some of the healthiest diets. It is the perfect example of a well-balanced diet delivering all the essential nutrients the body needs. High in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber and low in saturated fat. It incorporates mostly vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes, and is low in meat and dairy. That diet follows the dietary principles of rural China, Japan, and other Asian country’s historical diets. It is suitable for an average healthy adult whereas others such as pregnant women, children and those with medical problems should consult their physician before resorting to this diet.
Indeed, research has shown that Asians who follow this diet mostly are slimmer and healthier compared to their American counterparts who suffer most from obesity.
This diet’s main aim is to minimize the risk of many chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease also cancers.
How Does Traditional Asian Diet Plan Work?
As we all know, Asia is a large continent and so a single traditional Asian diet cannot exist. A traditional Asian diet pyramid has been prepared that recommends daily consumption along with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and vegetable oils of rice, noodles, corn, millets, bread, and other whole grains. Fish and shellfish, meat, poultry, and dairy are optional foods that can be taken once a week. Red meat consumption is restricted to one per month. This diet also recommends you have at least 6 glasses of water per day. One can take beer and wine in moderation. The traditional Asian diet is based on the premises which follow.
1.Restriction on Fluid Intake with Meals:
Intake of water or any other drink should be avoided, especially cold drinks with meals. This will prevent your digestive enzymes from diluting and thus allow proper digestion. Before a meal, it is advisable to have green tea or other hot teas, as they support enzymatic activities that further improve your digestive abilities. You can have beverages in the course of a meal 30 minutes before or after meals but not.
2. The ratio of Vegetables to Meat:
The traditional Asian diet chart maintains a ratio of 3:1 between vegetables and meat. This especially limits meat and potato consumption. If you can’t do without starchy vegetables, you might consider taking sweet potatoes. Include more in your diet of bitter-tasting vegetables. You should find a place on your plate for radish, radicchio, and bitter melon.
3. Avoid Desserts at Night:
Night-time desserts such as sugary cakes, ice cream, and cookies should be avoided. You can replace these with nutritious and delicious fruits. You can also prepare homemade fruit desserts.
4. Consumption of Rice Combinations:
Combinations of rice such as white, brown, black, red or even purple rice are nutritionally denser than just one rice. Rice is taken as a supplement to meals in Asia, not as a principal plant.
In fact, the traditional Asian diet, unlike other diets, gives more priority to white rice rather than brown rice. While brown rice is considered more nutritious because its shell is rich in nutrients, the digestion of those shells is comparatively difficult for your body.
Therefore, your body needs a lot of energy to digest brown rice and the process is relatively longer as it slows down your metabolism. Therefore, both brown and white rice should be consumed in moderation. It should also be borne in mind that rice is converted to sugar as a carbohydrate during the digestive process, which can have a dramatic effect on your Glycemic index.
Diabetics and prediabetics should minimize their use to avoid spikes in blood sugar. Rice varieties require less sugar extraction, being less starchy, and are lower in calories.
5. Consumption of Cooked Vegetables:
This diet suggests eating cooked vegetables instead of raw vegetables. It is true that cooking in vegetables spoils many nutrients but not cooking them adversely affects metabolism.
6. Consumption of Calories through Natural Foods:
Research has shown that Asians consume 25 to 40 percent more calories than Americans but are relatively healthier and slimmer than Americans. The main reason behind this is that natural foods eat such calories and don’t do any damage to the body. It is also comparatively easier to digest than unhealthy processed snacks and junk foods.
7. Elimination of Cow’s Milk and Milk Combinations
Traditional Asian diet does away with cow’s milk intake. However, milk can be mixed with almost anything and therefore supply excess calcium and not enough magnesium. Combining the dairy foods drastically slows down the motility of your gut that adversely affects your digestion. You can go in for coconut, almond, rice or organic soymilk instead.
8. Consumption of Soup:
The traditional Asian diet emphasizes soup intake, as it is a rich nutrient meal that easily fills you up. Many Asian soups are prepared with bone broths or veggie combinations that give your body a rich boost of vitamins and minerals. Besides, soup warm temperatures will boost your digestion significantly. Therefore, it is best to daily have only a half cup of soup.
9. Optimization of Food Temperatures with Seasons:
An important feature of the Asian diet is that it optimizes the seasonal energetic temperature of foods. In other words, it stresses the intake of hot foods in cold weather, and hot weather cooling foods.
In winter you should not eat cold drinks and cold foods like melons, celery, and cold salads. Instead, it is best to prefer hot soups and stews with meat. On the other hand, on a hot summer day, cooling foods such as watermelon and cucumber should be eaten.
The energy temperature of a food responds accordingly with body temperature. Therefore, it is important to eat the right temperature food during the different seasons of the year
10. Smaller Portions:
The traditional Asian diet, like most diets, puts great focus on portion control. In other words, it encourages smaller, frequent meals. A great way to exercise portion control is by using smaller vessels or bowls.
A Sample Diet Chart for The Traditional Asian Diet Plan:
As previously stated, the traditional Asian diet depends heavily on whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. The traditional Asian diet food pyramid shows whole grains going down towards beans, legumes and plant-based proteins at the bottom level. Next are the fruits and vegetable oils followed in the end by fish and milk and eggs and sweets. The diet is low in calories, sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. The sample menu for the traditional Asian diet is given below.
Foods you can Include in the Diet:
Grains include whole-grain bread, rice, corn, millets, noodles, etc. That category also includes cereals and potatoes.
Healthy vegetables include dark leafy vegetables such as sprouts of beans, scallions, cabbage, and chop bok. These are nutrient-rich ones that nourish the body.
We all know fruits are nutrient-rich and can be consumed in different ways. The traditional Asian diet encourages fruit consumption as desserts, snacks or even main meals, such as mangoes, bananas, grapes, pineapples, tangerines, and watermelons.
Nuts and Legumes:
Nuts and legumes are a rich source of protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. In the Asian diet plan soybeans is an important food item. In salads, soups and noodle dishes you can use the legumes, tofu, and nuts.
This food plan supports the practice of regularly eating fish. Fish are rich in healthy oils that have amazing heart effects and can prevent heart disease. Fish has in fact been a part of the diet in virtually every part of the world.
The traditional Asian cuisine uses various types of aromatic spices such as onion, garlic, turmeric, and cayenne, all of which have medicinal qualities. They form a vital part of raw, fried, and broiled Asian foods. Because they are low in fat and sugar content, they can help with weight loss.
Traditional oils such as margarine and butter have high saturated fat content which increases the risk of heart disease. The Asian diet recommends the use of vegetable oils containing safe monounsaturated fats including olive oil and canola oils.
Compared to American chips and cookies, the Asian snacks are much healthier as they include natural food products such as almonds, seaweed, dried fruits, and seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower. They’re filled with vitamins, minerals, and micro-nutrients. Always prefer the salted ones to the raw nuts because they have a higher nutrient content.
In conclusion, a traditional Asian diet is essentially a form of a balanced diet, incorporating only plant food sources. This diet won’t help you lose weight in a short span of time since weight loss can only be achieved through consistent calorie burning over an extended period. In other words, you must slash your daily diet by at least 500 calories.
So, are you ready to take a balanced diet? Share your opinions with us in the comments.