Coming from a Filipino family, I’ve spent a lot of my growing up years with a number of elderly relatives; the eldest among them being my grandmother who is 97 as of writing. Up to this date, I’m still in awe that my grandmother, along with my 90-plus-year old relatives, are living decently healthy lives despite their age. What's the secret to a long and healthy life?
“It’s all about balance,” my grandma would say, “Balanced lifestyle, balanced mindset, balanced diet.”
Wellness has always been at the center of the Asian diet. Whether Chinese, Japanese, Indian, or Malay, a nutritious and balanced meal is core to their cuisines.
In fact, research from the International Food Policy Research Institute says that the Asian plant-based diet is closely related to disease prevention and increased longevity. Compared to the United States, chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers, are not as common in Asia.
Here are 6 tips on achieving a balanced Asian diet with the help of products available in Karman Foods’ galleries, so you can live a full and healthy life with your loved ones:
1. Incorporate Soups in Every Meal
Soups like miso, beef broth soup, or even your vegetable hotpots are high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals that can easily be absorbed by your body. Not only does it feel like a warm embrace during the cold season, its warm properties can also improve digestion and lessen the bloated feeling.
2. Drink Warm Liquids
Speaking of improving digestion, never underestimate the health benefits that come with a warm cup of tea. Antioxidants that come with green tea and other Chinese herbal teas support enzymatic activities that aid digestion, boost your immunity, and decrease inflammation. It may also help in preventing chronic diseases, such as throat, stomach, lung, and breast cancer. If you’re looking for something to perk up your spirits without consuming too much caffeine, tea is the answer.
3. Embrace Rice
Is it really a complete Asian meal without rice? White rice is the common choice of grain in an Asian dining table but you can also opt for black, brown, red, or even purple rice which are equally filling but nutritionally dense, less starchy, low in sugar, and low in calories.
4. Choose Healthy Asian Snacks
Asian desserts tend to be less sweet than their Western counterparts. For instance, instead of chocolate-based treats, you’ll find nutritious dried fruits and seaweed snacks in the Asian grocery aisles. Annie Chun’s seaweed snacks contain only 30 calories per serving but are well-seasoned with some of your favorite Asian flavors like wasabi, sesame, vinegar, and more.
5. Eat a 3:1 Vegetable to Meat Diet
Beef broccoli, kimchi fried rice, and pad thai have something in common. They all have leafy vegetables as the highlight of the dish. You want to have three times the amount of vegetables to the amount of meat for every meal. This way, you can meet your daily protein requirement while nourishing your body with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. To help you get started, check out how you can make kimchi in 10 steps!
6. Experiment with Herbs and Spices
Sodium from soy sauces may be high in sodium but there are healthier low-glycemic alternatives from Coconut Secret that can add the same, if not more explosive, flavors than your usual store-bought sauces.
Asian cuisine will always go beyond satiating appetites. It nourishes the body on the daily so we can experience life in its fullest. Don’t worry because a healthy diet doesn’t mean turning away away from desserts or your favorite burger dish.
At the end of the day, it’s all about balance.