Wholesome Japanese Meals and Drinks to Add to Your Food regimen • Simply One Cookbook


Conventional Japanese meals has been identified to be one of many vital components within the longevity of the Japanese individuals. What precisely do the Japanese eat? From miso to umeboshi to shio koji, allow us to information you thru the healthiest Japanese meals and drinks you’ll be able to incorporate into your weight loss program.

Japan constantly achieves high rankings globally for its spectacular life expectancy charges, with the newest information from 2023 revealing a outstanding third-place standing, boasting a mean life expectancy of 85 years, in response to Worldometer. What contributes to this longevity pattern in Japan?

Whereas different social and way of life components are concerned, it shouldn’t come as a shock that the standard Japanese weight loss program is a big contributor to this longevity phenomenon. 

On a typical on a regular basis meal, the Japanese eat balanced and nutrient-dense meals introduced in an ichiju sansai method, which interprets to “one soup, three dishes (一汁三菜).” In comparison with a Western weight loss program, the number of Japanese meals is much richer and encompassing in vitamins, starting from fermented meals, healthful and antioxidant greens, protein-rich meat, omega-3 fish, and so forth.

Do you want to eat like a wholesome Japanese does? On this article, we’ll unveil a treasure trove of components particularly valued as wholesome meals within the Japanese weight loss program. Some could also be unfamiliar, however we’re right here to demystify them and present you incorporate them into your day by day weight loss program.

*These components might be present in your native Japanese or Asian grocery shops. Some are additionally obtainable in main grocery shops or on-line retailers.

Genmai (Brown Rice)

Rice bowls containing perfectly cooked short grain brown rice.

One of many core staples of Japanese delicacies is rice. Whereas white rice can be extra appropriate for these with digestive points and delicate stomachs, genmai (玄米) is a more sensible choice resulting from its wealthy fiber and nutrient content material. 

Genmai is claimed to have roughly 5 instances extra fiber than white rice. This helps you’re feeling full sooner and promotes metabolic well being, lowering bowel issues akin to constipation. Genmai additionally incorporates a number of vitamins and nutritional vitamins, akin to vitamin E, B group nutritional vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and zinc.

As genmai has a low glycemic index, that means that sugar is absorbed into the blood extra slowly, it’s a higher choice for many who want to observe their blood glucose ranges. It’s digested into the physique slowly, making you’re feeling full sooner.

👉🏼 Try our information on Easy methods to Prepare dinner Genmai right here.


Types of Japanese Miso

Miso will possible come to thoughts after we point out the superfood of Japanese delicacies. This fermented soybean incorporates three important vitamins: protein, carbohydrates, and lipids. Fermentation generates giant quantities of the 9 important amino acids and nutritional vitamins needed to keep up a wholesome physique.

With quite a few manufacturers of miso obtainable, deciding on a high-quality product is crucial. Nami’s most popular model is Hikari Miso, available at Asian grocery shops or on Amazon.

What’s the best and most useful solution to incorporate miso? Make do-it-yourself miso soup and revel in it day by day! This Japanese model of rooster soup supplies immense well being advantages and is straightforward to make. 

👉🏼 As for different methods to make use of miso, the probabilities are nearly infinite! Try our greatest miso recipes!

Shio Koji

Shio Koji Chicken on a oval plate.

Koji, made by cultivating microorganisms generally known as Aspergillus oryzae into steamed grains and beans, has been an integral a part of Japanese delicacies for hundreds of years. Varied koji merchandise exist, together with rice koji, barley koji, and bean koji, with one of the generally used being shio koji.

In recent times, shio koji has gained reputation as a seasoning identified for enhancing the flavour of dishes and providing quite a few well being advantages. Apart from its potential to spice up umami, shio koji is wealthy in nutritional vitamins and amino acids, that are useful for pores and skin well being and digestion.

So, put aside the salt and begin utilizing shio koji in your cooking! The appliance is as simple as utilizing salt. 

👉🏼 Strive our Shio Koji Rooster or this easy Daikon and Cucumber Salad with Shio Koji, or this Simmered Kabocha with Shio Koji.


A taquoise bowl containing teriyaki tofu and broccoli over steamed rice.

In Western international locations, tofu (豆腐) is usually thought of a substitution for meats and protein. Nonetheless, it’s generally utilized in Japan as a facet dish, akin to Agedashi Tofu, or alongside protein, akin to Mapo Tofu.

It has a protracted listing of well being advantages, most notably being a low-calorie meals and having a protein generally known as linoleic acid, which helps decrease ldl cholesterol and blood stress and is efficient towards arteriosclerosis.

Now we have loads of nice recipes and articles on tofu right here for you: 

Natto (Fermented Soybeans)

Natto served for Japanese styled breakfast.

Bizarre? Gross? Pungent? You’ve most likely heard of the not-so-loving descriptions of natto, however this conventional Japanese meals shouldn’t be belittled or made enjoyable of.

Regardless of its texture and intense aroma, the well being advantages of natto (納豆) are simple. First, it’s an excellent supply of protein, with only one pack (approx. 50g) containing 8g of protein. It additionally has round 3-5g of water-soluble and insoluble dietary fibers, that are unbelievable for intestine well being. 

Natto can be wealthy in nutritional vitamins and minerals, akin to vitamin Ok, which is essential for bone well being; vitamin B6, important for sustaining pores and skin well being; and vitamin E, which prevents lipid oxidation and reduces dangerous ldl cholesterol.

👉🏼 These are compelling causes to provide natto a strive! Uncover extra about how one can take pleasure in natto.

Soba Noodles

A bowl of soba noodle soup topped with shrimp tempura, wakame seaweed, blanched komatsuna, and green onions.

The Japanese love their noodles, and whereas we love our ramen and udon, soba (そば) is the go-to wholesome selection. The high-quality soba is constructed from buckwheat flour and is understood for having rutin–a plant pigment that promotes blood circulation and helps management hypertension. 

It additionally incorporates two to a few instances extra nutritional vitamins B1 and B2 than rice or wheat, that are efficient in recovering from fatigue. In case you want gluten-free, search for 100% buckwheat soba.

👉🏼 Merely take pleasure in Soba Noodle Soup with a scorching dashi broth or chilled as Zaru Soba in the summertime.


A bamboo strainer containing umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums).

These extraordinarily bitter Japanese pickled plums are revered as a superfood in Japan. Owing to their prolonged shelf life and substantial dietary worth, samurai warriors carried umeboshi into battle as sustenance through the Sengoku interval (1467-1615).

One in all umeboshi’s most notable well being advantages is its efficacy in combating bodily fatigue. The excessive focus of citric acid and malic acid aids in breaking down lactic acid within the muscle tissue, facilitating restoration from fatigue. 

Citric acid additionally enhances the absorption price of calcium, making umeboshi significantly useful for youngsters. Within the summertime, Japanese moms usually make umeboshi onigiri or add a bit of the plum to their youngsters’s bento bins!

👉🏼 Taste your noodles or salad dishes with umeboshi for an surprising vivid tang! Study extra right here.


A white ceramic plate containing spicy edamame.

Good as a snack for adults and youngsters or as child meals for newborns when mashed, edamame is considered one of few plant-based meals with full protein!

Excessive in vitamin C and a polyphenol generally known as isoflavones, it’s additionally nice on your pores and skin, which helps preserve your pores and skin and enhance wrinkling and sagging. It’s additionally excessive in methionine, an amino acid that controls liver operate and helps decompose alcohol.

👉🏼 Recipes: Easy methods to Correctly Prepare dinner Edamame and Spicy Edamame

Daikon Radish

Daikon and carrot pickled in sweet vinegar, served in Japanese ceramic bowls.

Daikon is a low-calorie, versatile root vegetable usually utilized in scorching pots, salads, or pickles. Whereas it may be discovered all year long, it comes into the season through the winter.

Filled with vitamin C, it helps produce collagen and strengthen the immune system, good for combating the winter chilly. We frequently serve grated daikon subsequent to deep-fried meals when you have ever observed. That’s as a result of it’s identified for its detox properties. It helps to chop the grease of oily meals and aids in digestion. 

What’s extra? Excessive in folic acid, it’s a nice meals for pregnant girls and people with anemia. 

👉🏼 Study: 16 Scrumptious Daikon Recipes (Plus Extra Methods to Use It)

Konnyaku (Konjac)

Skewered konnyaku dengaku on a plate.

This greyish, gelatinous meals is named konnyaku (こんにゃく) or konjac. It primarily consists of water (97%), pulverized konnyaku powder, and seaweed powder, leading to a jelly-like consistency.

In Japan, konnyaku is favored as a dietary staple resulting from its excessive water content material and wealthy dietary fiber. With solely round 5 kcal per 100g and 0 grams of sugar, it’s broadly appreciated as a low-calorie choice. Furthermore, konnyaku is believed to assist in stopping colds, infections, and allergy symptoms.

Are you on a keto weight loss program? Konnyaku is a perfect ingredient to include into your cooking! You may simply add it to scorching pots and stir-fries so as to add quantity to meals with out growing calorie consumption.

Strive it in a nutritious soup like Kenchinjiru (Root Vegetable Miso Soup) and simmered dishes, and even boiled and topped with miso akin to Miso Dengaku.

Nagaimo (Mountain Yam)

A square white plate contaning Sauteed Yam, which is simply cooked in a frying pan and coated with soy sauce.

One other peculiar but tremendous wholesome ingredient is nagaimo. This lengthy and slender mountain yam is utilized in varied Japanese dishes, akin to salads, Sauteed Yam, and as a binder in Okonomiyaki

The feel is crisp, crunchy, and fewer starchy than different tubers, akin to yams and taro. It incorporates an enzyme generally known as diastase, which breaks down starch and aids digestion, making it simpler to soak up the vitamins you ingest. 

Nagamio can be wealthy in vitamin B1, important for carbohydrate metabolism and varied vitamins that assist get well from fatigue, replenish stamina, tonicize vitamin, and forestall summer time fatigue.


A white plate containing okra with ginger soy sauce.

Okra, typically referred to as women’ fingers, is a well-liked summer time vegetable in Japan. Cooking with this vegetable could appear daunting if you happen to’ve by no means used it earlier than, however worry not! Strive easy and scrumptious recipes akin to Okra Ohitashi (Okra Salad) or Okra with Ginger Soy Sauce!

The distinctive form and stickiness of okra provide quite a few well being advantages. It’s full of β-carotene, which helps immunity and eyesight, maintains the well being of mucous membranes (such because the nostril and throat), retains pores and skin and hair wholesome, and has anti-aging properties. So, women, eat your okra or women’ fingers:)

Okra is a wonderful meals selection for these with anemia. It’s wealthy in folic acid, which aids pink blood cell manufacturing.

Goya (Bitter Gourd or Bitter Melon)

A dark oval plate containing Goya Champuru, a bitter melon stir-fry with tofu, egg, and pork belly.

A staple in Okinawan delicacies, goya is a love-it-or-hate-it vegetable. Goya Champuru is my favourite dish! Goya’s bitter style might be too intense for some, however this conventional Japanese vegetable has many dietary advantages. 

In Japanese and different Asian cultures, we imagine that bitter meals is nice for you. And that’s backed by science. The bitter elements in goya, which embrace momordecin, have been confirmed to assist in reducing blood sugar ranges and abdomen well being. 

Most notably, goya is understood to have numerous vitamin C, which helps construct collagen within the physique. Excessive in folic acid, it’s the meals for a lot of Japanese girls of their early levels of being pregnant.

Okinawa Purple Candy Potatoes

Japanese Sweet Potatoes

A visually distinct purple shade, these candy potatoes are grown in Okinawa and, in newer years, have grow to be generally known as a world superfood. Its intense sweetness permits for varied makes use of, from savory to candy dishes.

The excessive vitamin A content material helps remedy eye pressure and preserve imaginative and prescient. As well as, it’s wealthy in minerals akin to potassium, calcium, and magnesium and nutritional vitamins akin to vitamin E, folic acid (vitamin B9), and vitamin C. These all assist with antioxidant results, regulating blood stress, stopping summer time fatigue, relieving stress, and regulating hormone stability.

Renkon (Lotus Root)

A Japanese bowl containing Kinpira Renkon (Lotus Root).

Lotus Root, or renkon, is the edible rhizome of the lotus plant that’s crunchy with an earthy, nutty, and candy taste. It’s nice for stir-fries, deep-fried into Renkon Chips, or our Chirashi Sushi recipe. 

Renkon is full of vitamin C, which helps increase the immune system; dietary fiber, which helps with intestine well being; and potassium, which is claimed to be efficient in controlling extreme salt consumption and stopping hypertension.

You probably have ever used renkon, you’ll discover that it decolors if peeled and ignored. That is due to tannin, which is efficient for gastrointestinal issues!

Bamboo Shoot

Bamboo rice in a bizen Japanese rice bowl and in a donabe (Japanese clay pot).

We love bamboo shoots as a topping on our ramen, however you may as well use this versatile vegetable in a stir-fry like this widespread Beef and Inexperienced Pepper Stir-Fry or a aromatic blended rice dish.

The first nutrient in bamboo shoots is dietary fiber, which supplies them their distinctive chewy texture. This fiber additionally helps develop the digestive system, making you’re feeling full sooner. 

It’s also wealthy in vitamin B1, which helps get well from fatigue, and B2, which helps promote metabolism, burning fats, and regenerating cells.


A blue Japanese bowl containing Mizuna Myoga Salad.

Mizuna is a Japanese inexperienced with a gentle, peppery taste. It’s greater than 90% water, so it’s low in energy and incorporates quite a few vitamins and nutritional vitamins. Combining vitamin C and β-carotene promotes collagen manufacturing, antioxidant results, and strengthening immunity. 

In case you lower off dairy however search to extend your iron consumption and calcium, strive consuming extra mizuna. You may even develop them simply in your backyard. 

Gobo (Burdock Root)

A Japanese mortar (suribachi) containing Pounded Burdock Root with Sesame Sauce (Tataki Gobo).

Gobo, or burdock root, is a root vegetable identified for its earthy style and utilized in traditional Japanese dishes akin to Kinpira Gobo.

It’s identified for being a wonderful supply of dietary fibers that assist with intestine well being and relieve constipation. It’s additionally wealthy in antioxidants referred to as polyphenols, which assist forestall physique growing old. Burdock root additionally has a diuretic impact that removes extra salt from the physique, which helps relieve swelling.

Myoga (Japanese Ginger)

A Weck jar containing Japanese ginger sweet pickles (Myoga Amazuzuke).

Myoga is a Japanese ginger identified for garnishing varied summer time dishes akin to salads, chilled tofu, and udon noodles

Whereas it’s primarily used as a garnish, don’t underestimate the deliberate use of this ingredient. A smart Japanese homemaker is aware of that myoga, containing potassium, helps with hypertension.

Satoimo (Japanese Taro)

A white ceramic bowl containing simmered taro topped with julienned lemon zest.

Satoimo, or Japanese Taro, is a starchy root crop just like potatoes however with fewer energy and better fiber content material. It’s primarily utilized in simmered dishes akin to Chikuzenni (Simmered Rooster and Greens) and Ozoni (Japanese New Yr Mochi Soup).

The 2 primary dietary fibers in satoimo are galactan and glucomannan. The previous helps decelerate the absorption of carbohydrates, thereby suppressing the rise in blood sugar ranges and intestinal circulation. Glucomannan, additionally in konnyaku, helps decrease blood ldl cholesterol and forestall elevated blood sugar ranges.

Satoimo additionally has excessive potassium ranges, successfully stopping hypertension and swelling.


Moui is presumably essentially the most distinctive vegetable on this listing. It’s also generally known as Chinese language cucumber, pink gourd, or yellow cucumber and is grown in Okinawa between July and October.

Its style is sort of a cucumber, with a slight trace of melon in style and texture. Though it’s manufactured from 90% water, it incorporates a excessive quantity of potassium that helps with hypertension and summer time fatigue, making it nice in salads and pickles. 

Inexperienced Tea

2 red teacup on a wooden table with a teapot

Inexperienced Tea is a staple in Japanese meals and drinks. Very similar to tea within the UK, many individuals have inexperienced tea all through the day, with or after their meals. 

Inexperienced tea has a number of well being advantages, considered one of which is its catechins content material. These are chemical compounds with antibacterial properties that assist forestall colds and increase immunity. Catechins are additionally mentioned to assist enhance fats metabolism and suppress the absorption of carbohydrates. 

👉🏼 Uncover: Inexperienced Tea: Historical past, Varieties, & Advantages
Study: Easy methods to Make Japanese Inexperienced Tea

Amazake (Fermented Japanese Rice Drink)

Amazake (Fermented Japanese Rice Drink) in a Japanese bizen cup.

There are two forms of amazake (甘酒): one constructed from sake lees (alcohol) and one constructed from rice koji (non-alcohol). 

The glucose content material in amazake aids in digestion and will increase blood sugar ranges. When blood sugar ranges rise, the satiety middle within the mind is stimulated, so ingesting a small quantity of amazake can fill you up, making a wonderful different to snacking.

It’s also wealthy in B nutritional vitamins that assist protein metabolism, resulting in wholesome pores and skin. As a result of it’s made with rice koji, you may get all of the above advantages!

You may make amazake at house with our recipe right here!

The listing of wholesome meals and produce goes on, however these are just a few widespread and a few not-so-common ones you will discover in Japanese delicacies!

Discover: Wholesome Japanese Recipes

A white plate containing Broiled Miso Salmon served over ginger rice.

Don’t neglect to take a look at our Greatest Healthiest Japanese Recipes!

Want to be taught extra about Japanese cooking? Join our free publication to obtain cooking ideas & recipe updates! And keep in contact with me on FbPinterestYouTube, and Instagram.



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