How can the Chinese diet help you be healthier?
Although Chinese food is tremendously popular, there are so many misconceptions attached to it that many have forgotten the ancient principles it was founded on and associated it with takeaways, all you can eat restaurants or low-quality woks where ingredients aren’t exactly fresh. But there is a huge difference between the fast-food Chinese meals that are so popular in the West and the authentic, traditional Chinese cuisine that is not only mouth-watering, but also full of health benefits.
Food as nourishment, not as calories
One of the basic principles of Chinese cuisine is that food is nourishment, not calories. In many Chinese meals, you will find ingredients that are more calorie-heavy, but packed with nutrients. That’s because the Chinese do not believe in counting calories, but in measuring the nutritional value. This a balanced and healthy nutritional philosophy, because it teaches you not how much to eat, but what to eat.
Variety of rice grains
Speaking of rice, the Chinese believe in diversity and moderation, which is why they frequently switch between white and brown grains, which are broken down differently and have different nutritional values. Browsing a Chinese online supermarket, you’ll see that they have many varieties, including black rice, brown rice, Basmati rice, fragrant rice and many others. Although it’s tempting to order pre-cooked takeaway rice, cooking it yourself is the healthier option, because you know for sure the ingredients are fresh and you can enjoy all the fibres and minerals that rice has to offer.
Fewer portions of red meat
Although red meat can be found in Chinese cuisine, its consumption is recommended in moderation, no more than twice a week. Of course, on Asian Foodie you can find several types of red meat and the Chinese definitely have a few unique ways of serving them, but you should always alternate between red and white meats. Meal proportions should be one third meat and two third vegetables and this structure can help you prevent cardiovascular diseases.
A guilt-free relationship with food
It is no secret that many people have an unhealthy relationship with food, alternating between periods of indulgence and periods of starvation triggered by built. In Chinese nutrition, however, they put great emphasis on balance and regular eating, advocating for three meals and day, eating slowly in order to enjoy the food and stopping when you feel full. This might sound odd to someone who is used to dietary restrictions but eating properly and appreciating meals is much healthier than eating lean meats and vegetables for six days then having fast food on the seventh, or than eating clean for breakfast and lunch then compensating with an unhealthy dinner.
Fermented soups rich in probiotics
In Chinese culture, it is customary to start each meal with a soup, typically a fermented one, rich in probiotics. These help the body take in more nutrients from the second course and fills the stomach to prevent binge eating.