Japanese cuisine offers plenty of gastronomical delights, while its traditional cuisine is based on rice with miso soup and other dishes. Popular side dishes comprise fish, vegetables cooked in broth and pickled vegetables, though the most well known and written about Japanese dish is sushi.
There are few cuisines in the world which are presented as beautifully as Japanese food. In fact, Japanese cuisine is one of only three national food traditions recognised by the United Nations, the other two being French and Mexican.
But aesthetics and popularity aside, are there any major health benefits one can get from eating Japanese food?
“Japanese cuisine is one of the healthiest in the world; hence it is no surprise that their life expectancy is greater than others. The Japanese diet has a bigger focus on seafood than red meat. Fish is a great source of omega -3 fatty acids and also maintains heart health. It also contains brain boosting nutrients. Miso soup made from fermented soybeans is filled with health benefits such as boosting immunity, strengthening digestion, lowering cholesterol, aiding memory, relieving stress and supporting healthy skin,” explains Avantika Sinha Bahl, Founder of Kampai, a Japanese restaurant in Aerocity, Delhi.
An essential part of Japanese cuisine is green tea, which helps create a relaxed and focused mental state in addition to being rich in antioxidants. Seaweed is an all rounder wonder food containing minerals, vitamins B 12 and K and omega-3 fatty acids. It also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Japanese food contains age defying nutrients that help maintain heart health.
Kabir Chugh, owner at The Turkey Project, a restaurant in Defence Colony, feels the same and believes that the next big thing in food trends is fermented foods, which have been proven to improve digestion and are a hack for providing beneficial bacteria for the complete intestinal flora. But what’s the connection between Japan and fermented foods?
“Japanese cuisine is flooded with fermented foods like Miso, Soy and Kombucha. More than the cuisine it’s the behaviour of eating that is healthy in Japan – they believe in ‘less is more’ and practice eating small portions where the ingredient is king. One look at their recipes and you’ll see how ‘clean’ they are- low in fats, with a high amount of vegetables and cooked by steaming, boiling or roasting,” says Chugh.