After one too many pigs-in-blankets, a near-empty Quality Street tin down (apart from the orange creams…) and Baileys running through our veins it’s time to take off the gluttony glasses and kick start 2013 with a healthy-eating plan you can easily stick to and tastes amazing. Impossible we hear you cry! No no no, there’s a reason Japan has the lowest obesity rate and the longest life expectancy in the world and in the coming weeks we’ll share some of Japan’s diet secrets with you.
This week we are focusing on Japanese superfoods, and in particular the top 5 that’ll help you on your health-busting way. Unfortunately there isn’t a Pocky in sight! From low-carb to low-fat, by adding these delicious Top 5 Japanese superfoods into your diet you’ll be feeling better in no time.
1: Shirataki Noodles – Low carb wonder-noodles
The miracle diet food of the past few years, shirataki noodles are made from the konjac yam plant and contain almost 0 calories, 0 carbohydrates and no fat, yet remain high in fibre. They make a great low carb substitute for wheat noodles or pasta and are especially great for simmered dishes as they have little flavour of their own and soak up the flavour of sauces they are cooked in.
Buy wonder food shirataki noodles online and try our tasty low calorie, low carb shirataki recipes:
2: Natto – Vegetarian protein with a unique taste!
If you can get past the pungent aroma of natto, wonderful health benefits await. Natto are soy beans fermented with bacillus subtilis and are claimed to help prevent heart disease, thrombosis and cancer, lower cholesterol and provide a vegetarian protein alternative low in calories. Traditionally eaten with rice, nowadays it is quite in-vogue to use your soy beans in more modern recipes. A love it or hate it flavour akin to strong cheese, give natto a go we dare you!
Buy natto online and try making our natto recipes:
3: Miso – The mighty little bean
Miso is made by fermenting rice and soy beans into a thick paste which is used as a marinade or for seasoning simmered dishes. It is also commonly mixed with water and dashi soup stock to create famous miso soup. A rich, salty mellow flavour, miso is rich in vitamins and protein and low in fat. It can be quite salty though so less suitable for someone looking for a low sodium diet.
4: Green Tea – Metabolism boosting
Green tea is becoming more and more popular in the west with matcha green tea powder currently enjoying its time in the sun. Rich in vitamins, antioxidants and polyphenols which are said to boost metabolism, help prevent heart disease and provide calming effects, green tea ranges from the fresh grassy flavours of sencha, to roasted hojicha or genmaicha and slightly earthy matcha. Enjoy green tea as a hot or cold drink and in delicious baking.
Buy fresh green tea online or in-store and try making our green tea recipes:
5: Seaweed – Rich in nutrients
There are many types of umami seaweed used in Japanese cooking, common varieties are wakame for soups, konbu for stock and nori for sushi rolls. Rich in B-vitamins folic acid, riboflavin and pantothenic acid which help prevent cancer, as well as magnesium, fibre and iron seaweed is also nature’s richest source of iodine, great for those with thyroid problems. From a beauty viewpoint women in Japan eat seaweed for clear skin and shiny hair.
You can buy healthy seaweed online or in-store and try some of our fantastic seaweed recipes:
As well as these golden 5, don’t forget about old favourite tofu. Tofu is made from set soy bean milk, has a mild creamy, nutty flavour and is used in both sweet and savoury dishes. A vegetarian protein, tofu is also low fat, low calorie and high in iron. Tofu is therefore good for those looking to reduce their cholesterol and risk of heart disease. Buy healthy tofu online at Japancentre.com, try our delicious tofu recipes such as Tofu & Salmon Gratin, Spicy Beef & Tofu Rice Bowl and Tofu & Edamame Burgers.
Read our top Japanese tips on changing your eating behaviour for the better with our 5 Japanese Diet Secrets next week!