Japenese people have a very long lifespan of 83.9 years (combined male/female) and most attribute this longevity to the Japanese diet. I would therefore like to have two parts to this question.
1) What makes Japanese cuisine/diet so healthy? Is it fish oils, something with seaweed, soup, noodles, tofu, good balanced diet or what else?
2) What is the next healthiest national cuisine/diet for humans? Maybe using longevity of their citizens as a guide.
I`ll tell you why the Japanese are so healthy. They eat seaweed, bitter green veg, green tea, soybeans in many forms, and fermented foods at pretty much every meal.
Miso soup is eaten all the time, and this has fermented soybeans and seaweed. It`s as common as soda in the US. ALso they never drink soda. Like, never. They do not drink HFCS ever. Even the sugared drinks have very little sugar.A tiny amount.
They eat tofu, soymilk, natto ( slimy, sticky white strands ina soybean dish, it resembles a sticky slimy rotten brain, oh so nice!!) daily. Natto is fantastic, but lots of people don`t like it. They still eat it though.
They drink only green tea and very little else in the same amounts.
They eat udon noodles from buckwheat ( not a wheat), and rice. They really don`t eat wheat or bread that much. They do like their cheese and they hardly even eat it, just once a 2 week period or less.
They eat bitter green veg, sesame and pumpkin seeds, and poppy seeds every meal almost. Nori is a daily or twice daily food.
The oils are from sesame seeds, peanuts, almonds. They love pumpkins and edamame and fava beans. Black beans are in pretty much everything too, but they:re not the American type of black beans. The red beans are the same deal- small red beans in so many foods. Even if the amount of seaweed is small, they still eat it every meal.
They drink water and do moderate exercise. This is why they are thin and healthy. The zen culture is so very pervasive. Everyone knows their duty to be fit in some way. They consider it a daily practice of life- to take at least a little bit of exercise and to eat a healthy diet.
Their whole attitude is 180% different from the average american. They know duty, respect and tradition, and they know how to adhere to a good practice. They know it:s better to be healthy , so they have a hundred different daily rituals that adhere to it.
I`d say that`s it, it is much more than simply eating a good diet.
SOme might say they eat fish and that`s the reason they`re healthy. It`s not. On any given day, you don`t see more fish than anything else. It is the greens veg, the fermented veg, the bitter foods and also, lastly, the masses of vinegar ( fermented food) they eat on everything.
I think the fish oils are key and yes agree the Mediteranean diet wins 2nd best. Closely followed by the S. Koreans, Hitomi. So whilst I think the fish oils are key to longevity this answer was such a great tribute to Japanese culture, health and vegan food it gets the gong. Makes me hungry!
There is no such thing as “the healthiest cuisine.”
Folks are looking at the TRADITIONAL diets that were eaten maybe 40-50 years ago and claiming those are more healthy.
But are were they?
Let’s see, 40-50 years ago, red meat was expensive and vegetables were cheap. So guess what most folks’ diet consisted of? Yeah. Vegetables. If there was meat, you rarely got “big hunk of steak”. Instead you’d get things like meatloaf or other types of dishes intended to stretch the meat as much as possible.
Over in Asia it was the same thing. Meat was expensive, so you didn’t get it very often. And that included fish. If anything, meat was almost considered a condiment or flavoring. You’d get a bowl of rice, some pickled veggies, and a chunk of dried, salted fish. You’d shove the fish into your rice so it would soften up and flavor your rice or you’d douse it with soy sauce…which is ridiculously high in sodium.
Also, let’s not forget that back then you didn’t drive everywhere. People walked, or rode their bikes – not for fun, or just to go to school. Adults rode them to work and the markets. Maybe, if you were a bit richer, you could ride the bus. Even today, the average person in Europe or Asia walks at least twice as much as the average person in the US – mainly because they don’t drive down the street to the store like we do. Personally I think this was the key to a healthy diet way more than counting calories or injecting omega-12 fish oil into our orange juice…
So all this hype about “the healthiest cuisine” is just BS. 40-50 years ago, our grandparents were eating bacon, eggs and toast for breakfast. They used butter and bacon drippings to cook and weren’t afraid of using salt. Yet many of them have lived into their 80s and 90s despite what we now consider “unhealthy” habits. We’re told to use “heart friendly” butter substitutes. Bacon is forbidden. Salt is forbidden. Even the piece of toast has been turned into a piece of 8-grain whole wheat bread – plain, no butter. And yet we’re overweight and suffering from more health problems at younger ages than even just 20 years ago.