Asian diet

A well-planned and balanced diet is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Throughout the world, differences in climate, fertility of soil, and availability of different foods affect the dieting patterns of local populations.

The Asian diet is the diet consumed in Asian countries. A traditional Asian diet reduces the risk of certain diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and certain cancers. These factors can increase longevity and quality of life in later years.

The concept of the Asian diet evolved from the historical records of Japan, China, and other Asian countries.

Western fast foods have become common in Asia now. As a result, the risk for cardiovascular pathologies and other medical concerns has increased tremendously in Asia (1) due to increasing levels of cholesterol and obesity(2).

Nutritional facts:

The Asian diet, when consumed in a balanced manner, provides individuals with all the essential nutrients needed for daily energy. It contains all the minerals, vitamins, and nutrients required by an adult human body.

Saturated fat and total fat are also low in the Asian diet. In addition, dietary fibers in the Asian diet help maintain the health of one’s GI tract (3).

In short, the Asian diet has all the required nutrients to maintain optimum health and protects the body from various diseases.

Meat and dairy products are consumed in low quantity (ever notice that Chinese food rarely ever has cheese?), and average daily protein requirement is fulfilled by nuts, legumes, and plants seeds.

Leafy green vegetables provide essential vitamins and iron. Calcium is supplied by nuts, seeds, soy products, and leafy vegetables as well.

The dietary principles of the Asian diet are described for an adult human body. Growing children and pregnant women have special nutritional requirements, and they should consult a registered dietician for a suitable dietary plan.

Foods eaten regularly:

Asian diet comprises the following foods which are consumed regularly:

Grains and bread

In the Asian diet, foods such as rice, rice products, corn, wheat, and cereals are typically staple daily items.

Vegetables

The traditional Asian diet is comprised of fresh vegetables such as leafy green vegetables, cabbage, ginger, potatoes, daikon radish, carrots, etc.

Fruits

Fruits are enjoyed regularly in the Asian diet. Common Fruits consumed here include bananas, mangoes, apples, papayas, grapes, and watermelons.

asian diet

Nuts and legumes

Nuts and legumes are the chief source of proteins, minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber in the Asian diet. Soybean, lentils, common bean, and chickpeas are the common legumes consumed in Asia.

Vegetable oils

Vegetable oils rich in unsaturated fats are the chief oils used in the Asian diet, contrary to western diets, which commonly use saturated fat-based oils for cooking purposes.

Foods not consumed regularly:

Dairy products, fish, and shellfish are optional daily foods in Asian diets. They aren't consumed regularly.

Sweets, eggs, and poultry products are consumed a few times a week, while red meat is consumed rarely in a weekly diet.

Special consideration:

Physical activity

The Asian population is physically active compared to the western population. Asians walk to fulfill errands typically, as opposed to driving, and many jobs in Asia require standing and regular movement as well. As a result, they enjoy good health and less disease later in life. For instance, the risk of osteoporosis is low amongst Asians, directly attributed to their physical activity(5).

Tea

Asian consume green and black tea frequently.

Various antioxidants present in teas reduce the risk of certain types of cancers(6) such as stomach cancer, throat cancer, breast cancer, etc.

Sodium

asian diet 2 Traditional Asian diets were rich in sodium content due to the usage of soy sauce. High sodium in diets increases the risk of blood pressure.

Now, they are shifting towards low sodium dieting patterns to reduce the risk of hypertension. Ginger, garlic, clove, and lemongrass are now commonly used to enhance flavor.

Alcoholic beverages

Alcoholic beverages are not used commonly in Asian cultures. Many health, social and religious factors allow for this decreased traditional alcohol consumption.

Sample Menu

miso soup – 1 cup
poached egg -1white
rice – 1 cup
orange – 1 med
white bread – 2 Slices
turkey – 3 oz
lettuce leaf and shredded cabbage
tossed salad – 1 cup
oriental salad
dressing – 2 tsp
miso soup with tofu – 6 oz and dry seaweed – 1 tsp
tossed salad – 1 cup
oriental salad dressing 2 tsp
broiled fish – 6 oz
white rice – 1 cup
steamed broccoli – 1 cup with soy sauce – 1 Tbsp
and mayonnaise – 1 Tbsp
Afternoon Snack
pear – 1 med

This Sample Diet Provides the Following

Protein 120 gm Sodium 3,772 mg
Carbohydrates 214 gm Calcium 657 mg

References

  1. Juul F, Vaidean G, Parekh N. Ultra-processed Foods and Cardiovascular Diseases: Potential Mechanisms of Action. Adv Nutr. 2021 Oct 1;12(5):1673–80.
  2. Sasayama S. Heart disease in Asia. Circulation. 2008 Dec 16;118(25):2669–71.
  3. Gill SK, Rossi M, Bajka B, Whelan K. Dietary fibre in gastrointestinal health and disease. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2021 Feb;18(2):101–16.
  4. Unsplash. Photo by ja ma on Unsplash [Internet]. Unsplash.com. Available from: https://unsplash.com/photos/-gOUx23DNks

  5. Troy KL, Mancuso ME, Butler TA, Johnson JE. Exercise Early and Often: Effects of Physical Activity and Exercise on Women’s Bone Health. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Apr 28;15(5).
  6. Kim TL, Jeong GH, Yang JW, Lee KH, Kronbichler A, van der Vliet HJ, et al. Tea Consumption and Risk of Cancer: An Umbrella Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Adv Nutr. 2020 Nov 16;11(6):1437–52.
  7. Unsplash. Photo by reyhaneh mehrnejad on Unsplash [Internet]. Unsplash.com. Available from: https://unsplash.com/photos/AZxyTjkz3-g

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