According to many studies, most of the western world is in the midst of an obesity epidemic. This epidemic seems to be occurring at the same time as body image is at an all-time high and the “foodie” explosion.
These simultaneous events have resulted in a rise of television pseudo-docs shilling dubious vitamin and nutritional supplements, plastic surgeons that specialise in somewhat radical weight loss procedures, and adverts and articles along the line of “Eat This Never Diet”, “Superfoods You Must Eat” and “Foods to Avoid.”
Along the way many foods have been given a bad rep. “Experts” of all sorts have tried to establish their credentials by coming up with lists of foods to eat and foods to avoid. Fad diets are simply that, the key to a long-term healthy diet is to simply make smart and healthy choices. That means that Chinese delivery and Chinese buffets can be included in your meal plans.
Yes, Chinese food has an appalling amount of salt. However, it is important to note that the salt heavy dishes are traditionally those that have been adapted for American and Western tastes.
Other dishes, such as rice and noodle dishes, are loaded with carbs. There are a couple of factors that need to be considered. The first is portion size. Authentic Chinese portion sizes are small by western standards. Recent research into the various types of carbs has yielded some important findings in how our bodies process certain carbs and show that rice and other carbs can provide important health benefits in terms of weight control and blood sugar levels.
Here are some of the reasons you can respect your body, watch your weight, and eat Chinese food.
Ancient Chinese philosophy provides the basis for Chinese food prep methods and serving sizes. Food not only provides nourishment and energy, it is also something to be enjoyed. Animals which are used for food are honoured, meaning that all parts of the animal are consumed and waste is at a minimum.
There is no Chinese word for calories either. Portions are traditionally small and you basically eat until you are full. Instead of a starve/binge approach most Chinese families have three solid meals a day.
Eastern medicine was using so-called superfoods long before the term was ever invented. Chinese cuisine is load with them.
Ginger not only enhances the appetite, but is also effective in soothing nausea and morning sickness, and quelling the pain that accompanies osteoarthritis, along with several other health benefits.
Mushrooms are a Chinese food staple. Not only do mushrooms provide a great deal of flavour, many are rich in B-vitamins, selenium, and copper. Mushrooms are also good for calorie and portion control, and can often be substituted for meat in many dishes.
Tofu is a great source of protein, manganese, and calcium. Tofu that is calcium-set, the type that is usually packed in water, is the best in terms of nutrients.
In addition to adding taste, garlic has been used in Eastern and folk medicine for centuries to treat respiratory problems. It also has antifungal properties, reduces cholesterol, and seems to lower the risk of certain cancers and atherosclerosis.
The amount of nutrients they provide surpasses their tiny size. Sesame seeds are rich in fibre, copper, calcium, iron, and manganese.
Chinese 5-Spice power is typically made with star anise, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, fennel, and cloves. The spices have been used to lower blood glucose, fight infection, and soothe an upset stomach.
This tasty cabbage is high in vitamins A and C both of which boost the immune system.
Preparation and Serving
- Chinese serving and preparation methods also contribute to the overall healthiness of the diet.
- Chinese food is prepared in woks at very high temperatures. While oils are used, they are usually healthy ones and are used in surprisingly small amounts.
- Steaming is a popular Chinese cooking method for fish, vegetables, dumplings, and bao. Steaming helps preserve nutrients, cuts down on fats, and locks in natural flavours.
- The humble chopstick also contributes to healthy eating habits. You consume less when you use chopsticks as compared to forks and spoons. You also eat slower. This gives your body time to register that you are indeed “full” faster.
- Soups also contribute to portion control. Chinese soups are typically rich in some of the superfoods we mentioned and low in calories. They are also filling and help control your total food consumption.
Eating a well balanced, healthy diet does not mean you have to avoid your favourite foods; you simply have to use basic common sense and have a basic understanding of what you are actually putting in your body. The best course is to ignore the Dr. Oz’s of the world and the “news” items on your social media feed, and do a bit of your own research, and eat food that your enjoy.
Photos from Big Stock Photos
Guest Author Bio
Chris Miller is a former broadcast executive who now spends his time pursuing his long time interests which include music, poker, games, food, and travel. His writings on those subjects and others he finds interesting have appeared in a number of online and print publications.
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