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Health benefits of Japanese cuisine

12 August 2009 2,309 views No Comment

The British Heart Foundation recommends that for a healthy heart, we should aim to eat two portions of oily fish per week. It is the Omega 3 fats found in oily fish that are thought to benefit the heart. A study by Akira Sekikawa of the University of Pittsburgh in 2008 found that the reason the Japanese have more Omega 3 in their bloodstream was unlikely to be genetic. He studied Japanese men, Western men, and those Japanese that had moved to the US and consumed a Western diet. The Japanese men still living in Japan still had 45% more Omega 3 in the bloodstream than those who had adopted a Western way of life. They also had 80% more omega oils than the US men studied. Sekikawa’s study also showed that while in the west we are urged to eat two portions of oily fish per week, the Japanese typically eat around 3oz of oily fish daily.

That other staple sushi ingredient, seaweed (types include nori, wakame and konbu) is also high in minerals, vitamins A, C and B12 and protein. Ginger, the highly aromatic root used to add heat to soups, stir fries and sushi, is also believed to work wonders, lowering cholesterol, preventing arthritis and could be beneficial to those at risk of blood clots as it is thought to contain a compound which stops platelets sticking together.

Tofu and mushrooms are also a large part of the Japanese diet. Tofu is high in protein and low in fat, and shitake mushrooms are believed to enhance the body’s immune system to help control infections.

It is even believed that the Japanese brew of choice, green tea, can help combat cholesterol, and may prevent cancer cells forming. In 1994, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a study that found that Chinese men (and fellow green tea drinkers) were 60% less likely to contract oesophageal cancer than those in the west. Green tea and black tea are derived from the same plant “Camellia Sinsensis” but for black tea the leaves are fermented, which is thought to destroy important compounds.

The Consumption of Japanese Food in the West
In the West, it seems that people are catching on to the Japanese food trend. A report carried out by Seafish valued the sushi market in the UK at £38.9m per year, with takings up almost a quarter in 2008 than the previous year.


Thanks to the opening of Japanese restaurant chains such as Wagamama and Yo! Sushi, Japanese cuisine is growing in popularity. Conveyor belts are now abundant with colourful miniature plates on which sit perfectly chiselled fruit, sliced fish and maki rolls, as pleasing to the eye as they are to hungry stomachs. Simon Woodroffe, founder of Yo! Sushi explains: “I opened Yo! Sushi in Poland Street, Soho on January 22nd 1997 with my life savings of £100,000. Within a week we had a queue down the block and we never looked back.”

The intricate appearance of Japanese food and the availability of its exotic ingredients mean that Japanese food has never been so attractive and so accessible than it is now.

So treat yourself and try something different. By adopting a low fat diet, with lots of fresh fish, vegetables, grilled and steamed foods, it may be more than your hunger that benefits.


The copyright of the article Health Benefits of Japanese Foods in Diet Food Trends is owned by Jo Romero. Permission to republish Health Benefits of Japanese Foods in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

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