Japanese people are said to be generally healthier than the Western population. There are lots of factors that could contribute to this general fact: lifestyle, stress level, age, gender, diet, cultural differences, and so on. In my opinion, diet plays the major role here and I can tell you why.
I have been juggling multiple jobs lately, and currently I work at a gift shop for Japanese tourists and a local outlet retail store. The gift shop is owned by a Japanese lady and most employees are Japanese people. On the other hand, the local retail store is operated by a large corporation and I work with many Canadian people. So, I get to see how Japanese people eat regularly and also how Western people eat as well.
During the course of regular observation, what I notice the most is the difference in eating habits in both places.
For example, at the local retail store, there are vending machines in a lounge and I see people buy pop, soft drinks, and snacks very often. Some people go out to buy fast food lunches which usually come with a sweet and a drink. Cold drinks, especially an ice cappuccino, are popular among all ages. Occasionally, doughnuts, muffins, potato chips, and soft drinks are served as treats.
At the Japanese gift shop, on the other hand, they prefer snacks that are not too sweet. They drink green tea with their lunches, a cup of tea or coffee at break time. I’ve never seen anybody drinking pop nor ice cappuccino there. However, some people like to eat instant noodles for lunch. Occasionally, Japanese sweets: typically sweets with adzuki bean paste, matcha, and sesame flavour, and rice crackers are served as treats.
Recently I came across a list of things that health-conscious Japanese people do and I found it fascinating, because they are all not too difficult to do on a daily basis.
10 things Healthy Japanese People do:
- Keep regular routines (set a time schedule to rise, eat, sleep and maintain it as much as possible)
- Not eating past 8pm
- Eat only until you feel satisfied (not to be overly full)
- Make stomach empty (so you can appreciate meals)
- Regularly consume traditional Japanese cuisine (simple and seasonal vegetable=based meals)
- Eat varieties of homemade fermented foods
- Regular gentle exercise
- Reduce stress
- Don’t eat or drink cold
- Appreciate nature, because we are part of it!
Japanese cuisine is typically lower in calories than what is found in a Western diet. It contains lots of seasonal vegetables and also includes a variety of fermented foods.
On my website, I am going to introduce some homemade fermentations and also traditional Japanese dishes that can benefit people who want to eat like healthy Japanese people. I can help, because I not only live in a Western country, but also understand and appreciate traditional Japanese foods.
All is well, all the best!