food as blessings from nature that keep me healthy and energetic. I do not oſten in- dulge in expensive, rich foods.” She prefers eating foods in season and small portions, listening to what her body craves. When feeling the need for minerals and vitamins, she makes a brothy soup with just a little dried wakame, which reconstitutes to four times its dried volume. A second practice supporting healthy

Healthiest Cuisines

Te World’s What Five Countries Can

Teach Us about Good Eating by Judith Fertig


mericans love to explore ethnic cuisines and then put their own “more is better” spin on them, like a

Chinese stir-fry turned into chop suey with fried rice or a pasta side dish super-sized into a whole meal. “We’ve Americanized dishes to the extent

that they don’t have their original health benefits,” says Dr. Daphne Miller, a family physician in the San Francisco Bay area and author of Te Jungle Effect: Te Healthiest Di- ets from Around the World—Why Tey Work and How to Make Tem Work for You. Here are five popular—and healthy—

world cuisines, known for their great dish- es, star ingredients and health-enhancing practices.

Traditional Japanese Ingredients. Te dietary benefits of green tea, fermented soy and mushrooms like shii- take and maitake are well documented. Add

dried seaweed to this list. Beyond sushi, it’s a delicious ingredient in brothy soups, where it reconstitutes to add a noodle-like quality, slightly smoky flavor and beneficial minerals, including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, po- tassium, selenium, vanadium and zinc. A study in the Asia Pacific Journal of

Clinical Nutrition linked the longevity of Okinawan residents to eating seaweed, a staple of macrobiotic diets. New York City culinary instructor and cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo prefers dried wakame seaweed, readily available in the U.S. Practices. Shimbo grew up in Tokyo,

Japan, where her mother helped her sur- geon father’s patients by preparing foods that helped them recover quickly. Shimbo believes wholeheartedly in Ishoku-dogen, a Japanese concept oſten translated as, “Food is medicine.” Shimbo says, “I eat fairly well, treating

well-being is hara hachi bu, or “Eat until your stomach is 80 percent full.” It requires self-discipline to eat slowly and decline more food. But this restraint supports a widely accepted fact that “It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to receive the message that the stomach is full. If we eat slowly, we get the message at the right time, even if we want a few more bites. If we eat too quickly, by the time our brain sends the message, we have probably eaten too much,” says Shimbo. One Great Dish: Japanese soups offer

nutrition and flavor in a bowl. Shimbo’s Eat- a-Lot Wakame Sea Vegetable Soup in her cookbook Te Japanese Kitchen: 250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit can be made with chicken or vegetable broth. Other healthy ingredients like sesame oil, fresh ginger, scal- lions and garlic boost its health benefits.

South Indian Ingredients. South India—including the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana—offers many plant-based dishes that feature coconut, rice and spices such as turmeric, known for decreasing inflammation, according to the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Varieties of dried split peas called dal [dal is singular and plural] are used in vegetable curries and ground to make the gluten-free savory crepes known as dosa or puffy white idlis for a snack or breakfast. South India native and current Min-

neapolis resident Raghavan Iyer, teacher, consultant and author of many cookbooks, including 660 Curries, says, “One tech- nique that gives vegetable dishes a liſt is dry-frying or toasting whole spices. It adds complexity and nuttiness.” Simply heat a cast iron skillet, add the whole spices and dry fry until spicy aromas arise; then add them to a dish. Practice. South Indian meals usually

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