I am often asked question about the delightful foods in my bowl, in my hand and in my smoothie. For this reason I thought that it was time that I explained my love affair with Asian Superfoods.
I love going to the various Asian markets and seeing all of the different offerings that are not typically available in an American market. The smells are always strong as the air is filled with pungent aromas but, alas, I adore some of these smells (but some I can definitely do without). This is the land of the Asian Superfoods.
I do encourage you to take a deep breath and look around for awhile as there are amazing delights to be found. This is but a listing of a few of these delightful Asian superfoods.
Many are afraid of tofu because of the buzz about it being a phytoestrogen but in this plant based eater’s opinion tofu can still have a place in your diet. Health benefits of soy may include increased bone health and decreased cholesterol, heart disease, hot flashes, and prostate cancer risk. the estrogen like activity of soy has raised concern but it is important to note that in Asia, where consumption of soy is very high, they experience historically lower rates of cardiovascular disease, menopausal symptoms, breast cancer (and other hormone dependent cancers), diabetes and obesity than Western populations. Standard recommendations are to choose organic tofu and limit yourself to three servings per week of soy foods.
Konjac Fiber is a root from the konjac plant. It has a rubbery texture and is often used to make noodles such as shirataki noodles. This fiber retains up to 17 times its weight in water which makes it very good for promoting satiety, supporting elimination and keeping blood sugar stable. I highly recommend the PGX formula for help with boosting your fiber in a natural way. The singles are preferred over the capsules although both are good products.
This is something that we are all familiar with if we have ever eaten sushi, or been near anyone who does. This is the root that makes that delightful spicy green mustard. Wasabi can kill harmful food borne bacteria as it is naturally anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-bacterial. This is actually the reason why wasabi is so prevalent in the sushi world. The Japanese know that the raw fish breeds bacteria so they make sure to eat wasabi as a way to counteract the bacterial effects. Wasabi can also improve gut health, bone strength and liver function.
There are so many wonderful mushrooms available at an Asian market. Reishi mushrooms may help with reduction of prostate issues and they are anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-bacterial. Shitake mushrooms assist with blood sugar stabilization and reduction of platelet aggregation and risk of atherosclerosis. The flavor of mushrooms are plentiful and will benefit almost any dish.
These are definitely a favorite both for the flavor it brings and because it is just fun to say. This alkalizing delight is popular in Japan. It has been shown to have anti-bacterial qualities and benefits for fatigue and digestion. These may not be appropriate for all as they have a high sodium content.
This mild flavored vegetable that looks like a turnip or white carrot offers cancer fighting properties. Additionally, it aids in digestion of fats and starches. It is very simple to use in salads or any soups or stews.
There are many different types of seaweed including kelp, nori, kumbe, dulse and wakame. One thing that all of these sea vegetables have in common are that they are very good for you. Seaweed can offer a thyroid boost plus protection against heart disease, birth defects and the growth of blood cells that can cause cancer. Enjoy seaweed as part of a sushi roll, chopped up in soups or just by itself.
Do you have favorite recipes that use some of these ingredients? I would love it if you shared. Simply post the recipe as a comment. Thank you.
Adlercreutz H, Mazur W. Phyto-oestrogens and western diseases. Ann. Med. 1997;29:95–120.