by Claire McFarland, blogger
Ever wonder why the sushi craze has become more of an epidemic? Do you need a little more Zen in your life to balance out the stress that comes with daily life? Do you wonder if the phrase ‘bubble tea’ becoming as common as ‘skim latte’?
Chances are, if you are picking up on these hot new trends, you are beginning to see the light on why the Japanese culture provides many health benefits.
The truth is, raw seafood (such as sushi, sashimi and tataki), the practice of Zen meditation, and a wide variety of Asian teas have been around for tens of centuries. Why now, though, are we beginning to adopt these health staples?
For the 25th year in a row, Japanese women have been proven to have the highest expectancy in the world, averaging the lifespan of 86.5 years, according to a 2009 study published by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. What’s their secret? Through the practice of portioning, healthy eating, and the ability to manage stress, these women extend their lives, prolong their beauty, and reduce their risk for disease.
Here are five tips to live longer, look luscious and laugh louder to steal:
The Japanese have a diet rich in tuna, mackeral and salmon, which contain high levels of omega-3-fatty acids. These omegas can not only help reduce the amount of access body fat you carry around your mid-section, but also can reuce your risk of heart disease and breast cancer, according to a 2008 study conduced by The American Medical Association.
Honored in the Japanese culture, cuisine is often seen as an art form, and meals are cherished and savored. This mindfulness with eating will not only help to shed pounds, but can be friendly on your wallet, as you will have left-overs for later. Eating with chopsticks helps slow down our pace while packing it in, as they support smaller bites and paying closer attention from plate to palate.
Green tea, a staple in Japan, has been proven to have more benefits than the caffeine it provides. Packed with antioxidants, it has been linked to lower incidence of everything from cancer to bone loss to osteoperosis. According to a study in the AMA, people who drink six cups of tea a day have a 36 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to those who drink less than a cup a day. You can get your green tea fix hot or chilled, especially around Syracuse University at the many tea lounges on Marshall Street and Crouse Avenue.
Follow Japanese tradition and eat as many meals as possible out of small bowls or off of appetizer-sized plates. When you use smaller dishes as opposed to large platters, it is much easier to exercise portion control. Miniature plates can also satisfy the eye; as less food is able to fill up your entire sight. It tricks both your mind and tummy, since our eyes can often be bigger than our stomachs.
The Japanese practice of mental and physical fitness, which combines meditation and martial arts type of movements, has shown to reduce stress, boost metabolism, and increase lean muscle tissue. This practice will benefit you both now and later on, as Zen as been shown to fight off dementia and preserve the concentration and memory areas in the brain.
Get started now adopting these Japanese practices and look forward to a longer life, a leaner figure, and a lasting sense of calm.