Ever wonder why Japanese people tend to be so healthy and live so long? One of the reasons lies in the foods they eat. Japanese diets emphasize quality and variety of foods. In fact, one of the guidelines for a Japanese diet is to eat 30 different types of food every day. That's quite a contrast to the typical American diet
. Here in the US, we tend to enjoy large servings and we eat much the same things over and over again, even if we're trying to eat healthier foods.
Returning To A Better Diet
The 30 different food items a day guide started in 1985 in response to the health problems that Western diets introduced to Japan. Diabetes, heart disease, and obesity that were almost unheard of several decades before suddenly became huge problems for the Japanese.
The solution, researchers agreed, was to return to a more traditional diet with small servings of a large variety of foods. And it seems to have worked
. Life expectancy in Japan is now higher than almost anywhere else in the world and the people living there tend to enjoy better health as well.
Balancing Food Categories
But why is this diet so healthy? There are quite a few reasons. For one thing, eating a variety of foods encourages a more well-balanced diet. The Japanese aren't eating 30 different kinds of fats or carbs. They're eating a balance of foods from five categories:
- Meat, fish, poultry, egg, tofu products (protein).
- Milk and dairy products (calcium).
- Vegetables and fruits (essential vitamins and minerals).
- Grains, potato, bread/cakes/cookies (carbohydrates).
- Cooking oil, nut and seed oils, nuts and seeds (fat).
In addition to eating from all these categories, the Japanese will eat a higher amount of foods from the vegetables, fruits, and grains category than they do from the others. Plant foods like that are high in nutrients that your body needs. In contrast, most Americans aren't getting enough whole grains or fresh fruits and vegetables.
Japanese don't just differ from Americans in what they eat. There's also a difference in how they eat. From a young age, children in Japan learn to enjoy eating
nutritious food, to take time for food preparation, and to eat with other people. They see food as something to value and enjoy, not something to scarf down if you have a spare minute before running off to do something else. And that's a healthier attitude toward food than most of us have in the United States.
Unfortunately, life here in the US doesn't always leave time for home-cooked meals with a wide variety of ingredients. But you can easily add a large variety of foods to your diet using Crucial FOUR's mBreakfast powder
. Just mix it into water, tea, nut milk, a smoothie, cereal, or yogurt and you'll be getting 37 different types of herbs, mushrooms, and other healthy ingredients. Put that together with mindful eating and a balanced diet throughout the rest of the day and you'll be well on your way to better health through better eating!