Look To The Traditional Chinese Diet For Better Health


Look to the Traditional Chinese Diet for Better Health

Unlike the meat-centric dishes served in Chinese restaurants in the U.S., the Chinese diet traditionally consists of fruits, vegetables, grains, and other plant foods. It includes small amounts of fish and poultry and only sometimes red meat. Shop your favorite online Asian market for the ingredients to make your family's favorite Chinese recipes. Studies that compare Americans' diets to the rural Chinese have shown significant disparities in the amount of red meat consumption. Researchers have found that the traditional Chinese diet is only 20-percent animal foods, much less than the typical American diet.

The Chinese diet is also healthier thanks to its inclusion of disease-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals, which are plant-based nutrients. As a result, the rates of many major diseases are lower among people who eat diets with higher amounts of plant-based foods. A first step Americans can take toward a healthier diet is increasing the portion sizes of complex carbohydrates (rice, vegetables) on their plates and using meat as a flavoring. With increasing knowledge and some practice, it's possible to incorporate this way of eating into every meal. Many healthy options are tasty and don't feel like a sacrifice to eat.

If it helps to begin thinking about healthier options in Chinese food, skip the deep-fried choices like sweet and sour pork and try a vegetarian dish as an alternative. You'll be eating much more authentically. A few excellent options are dishes made with napa cabbage, bok choy, spinach, and broccoli. They're tasty and excellent sources of vitamins A and C along with fiber and phytochemicals. A benefit of the Chinese stir fry cooking method is that it helps preserve water-soluble vitamins such as A and C. If you're going to order something steamed, ask for it lightly steamed to keep nutrients intact. It will be tastier as well.

When you're cooking at home, opt for recipes based on vegetables and grains, including rice or pasta, and serve them as main courses. When you buy meat, choose smaller packages or divide a larger package into smaller amounts appropriate for use as a flavoring rather than the main course. If you're cooking with proportions Chinese families would use, a third of a pound of meat would feed two to three people. At least once a week, try preparing a vegetarian meal for a healthy change of pace. The goal is for plant-based foods to make up no less than two-thirds of the meal. When you have those proportions, you're eating healthier.


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