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Healthy Food

9 Japanese superfoods to boost your health

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Healthy and tasty, Japanese gastronomy contains many products that are excellent for health and still little known in our region. Here is a presentation of 9 Japanese superfoods to boost your health.

The term “superfood” refers to products that contain high levels of nutrients and micronutrients. Among the latter are found mainly fruits and vegetables, but also spices, plants, seeds, even oils and algae.

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Japanese cuisine includes many products considered superfoods, which are regularly consumed by the inhabitants of the land of the Rising Sun.

The basis of Japanese meals

Japanese cuisine is renowned for its taste qualities, but also for its health benefits. Moreover, the Okinawa archipelago, located in the southwest of the country, is famous for the life expectancy of its inhabitants, which is the longest in the world!

If heredity plays a role, it is nevertheless the Okinawan diet that is highlighted to explain this exceptional longevity. Their kitchen is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and seafood. It is, however, low in sugars and saturated fats. Okinawans also often stop eating before they reach satiety, and they engage in regular physical activity.

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The Japanese meal, in a broader way, is often composed of a miso soup (rich in probiotics), a bowl of rice, a protein (whether vegetable like tofu, or animal), vegetables, condiments (like pickled vegetables) and a small salad. There are Japanese desserts, but it is often a fruit that concludes this meal. The Japanese also consume a lot of tea, especially matcha tea.

Japanese cuisine also offers great richness in its dishes, among which we find in particular soups based on soba noodles (with buckwheat), ramen or udon (with wheat), but also yakiroti (grilled skewers), okonomiyaki (savory Japanese pancakes, made in particular with cabbage), or even onigiri (salty or sweet rice balls).

It is also a kitchen that attaches great importance to the seasonality of its productstheir aesthetics and the rituals associated with them.

The superfoods of Japanese cuisine

These products are part of the daily life of the Japanese. Superfoods slip easily into their meals. They are found in particular among:

  • regularly eaten vegetables, such as daikon (a white radish);
  • condiments that accompany meals (often based on fermented products);
  • miso soups (with miso or seaweed);
  • seasonings, such as rice vinegar;
  • drinks, with the example of matcha tea in particular.

To discover a little more about the flavors and benefits of Japanese cuisine, here is a selection of 9 Japanese superfoods.

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The daikon
This white radish is rich in water and vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system. It also contains folate (or vitamin B9), essential for cell growth and DNA production. This is also why products rich in vitamin B9 are recommended in early pregnancy.

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The katsuoboshi
This condiment is made from dried bonito, fermented and then smoked. It is used in the composition of dashi broth, the base of many Japanese soups. This product has all the essential amino acids for the body, and is rich in antioxidants and proteins. Its fermentation gives it benefits for the digestive system. A study has also shown that this product is beneficial for reducing blood pressure in the elderly, and for calming their emotional state.

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Matcha
This ground green tea powder is used in the composition of traditional Japanese tea and is also used in savory and sweet dishes. Its strong antioxidant power, due to the presence of catechins, offers protection against cell aging and the development of associated diseases. It also includes caffeine, ideal for combating fatigue, and chlorophyll, beneficial for the proper oxygenation of blood circulation and to facilitate the elimination of toxins.

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miso
This fermented soybean paste is used in the traditional composition of Japanese broths, and is also used in the manufacture of sauces. Thanks to its fermentation, this product is rich in probiotics, which promote the good health of the intestinal flora, and thus help to fight against certain infections. Some studies also tend to prove that its consumption would help reduce the risk of cancer. However, this miso must be dosed sparingly, because it is very salty.

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Tofu
This paste resulting from the curdling of soy milk, which is found in Chinese and Japanese cuisine, is an excellent substitute for meat thanks to its high protein content. It is also very low in calories (unlike animal protein). Tofu contains all the essential amino acids, and it is also a source of zinc, iron, magnesium and vitamins A, B, D and E.

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natto
This food, made from fermented soybeans, is eaten for breakfast, in addition to white rice. Very digestible, it is also rich in vitamin K2, which is not very present in our diet, and which is beneficial for bone health.

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The umeboshi
These are salty and sour plums, which have been macerated in red shiso leaves. They contain antiseptic, antibiotic and alkalizing properties. Finally, they are a source of minerals, such as manganese, calcium and potassium. Umeboshi is one of the tsukemono, Japanese products macerated (like English pickles), either in vinegar, brine or rice wine lees (kazu sake).

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rice vinegar
An essential ingredient for preparing the famous Japanese vinegared rice, it differs from traditional vinegars by its mild acidity. Resulting from a double fermentation, it is rich in essential amino acids. It is also an alkalizing and antiseptic product, which helps to fight against fatigue and joint pain. Finally, it plays a role in the prevention of cholesterol. Nevertheless, this vinegar is sweet, so it should be consumed sparingly.

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