For the past decade, superfoods have been all the rage. Kale, acai, flax seeds and other power foods have made headlines, being heralded for their numerous health benefits. But often lost in the shuffle are superfoods that are cultivated outside of western nations. Specifically, Asian foods. So you may be wondering, “are there any notable Asian superfoods that can provide an extra boost to my health?” Below are 11 we recommend including in your diet.
1. Shiitake mushrooms
The world’s second most commonly produced edible mushroom, shiitake mushrooms have a savoury, somewhat meaty flavour that make them a popular addition to soups, stir-fries and other Asian cuisine.
Benefits: Often used in herbal remedies, shiitake mushrooms can lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and boost your immune system. As this mushroom is rich in zinc, selenium and vitamin B2, shiitake mushrooms can also help fight cancer.
A popular spice seasoning many Asian dishes, ginger is a gnarly looking herb that adds a splash of zest into your meal.
Benefits: Ginger has a wide range of benefits that can do everything from reducing inflammation to relieving gastrointestinal problems and indigestion. If you like to hit the gym regularly, you’ll be happy to learn that—when eaten every day—ginger can reduce muscle pain and soreness.
Commonly served in Japanese restaurants as an appetizer, edamames are boiled green soybeans stock full of proteins and complex carbohydrates.
Benefits: As this salty, finger-licking good snack is composed of soy, it offers health benefits that can lower cholesterol as well as prevent cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis. The beans are also a great source of iron and vitamins A and C.
Mostly red in colour, this traditional Korean dish is a delicious blend of fermented radish, scallion, pickled cabbage and cucumber.
Benefits: Kimchi’s fermentation process produces probiotics that promote good digestion and better absorption of nutrients in your body. Kimchi is also high in vitamins A, B, and C.
While seaweed can be a popular addition to some Asian dishes, not all types are created equal. Arame—a brownish-black seaweed that is added to traditional Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Indonesian dishes—stands out from the pack and is known for its range of health benefits.
Benefits: Abundant in iron, magnesium, folate, iodine, zinc, and vitamins A and K, this dark and stringy seaweed can boost your immune system and is even said to increase your sex drive. As Arame is also rich in Chlorophyll, it has a unique ability to detox the body by flushing toxins out of your system.
6. Mung bean sprouts
Often added as a topping to many Asian soups and stir-fries, you may be surprised to hear these small white sprouts are packed with nutrients.
Benefits: An excellent source of vitamin C and K, B vitamins, folate, iron and manganese, mung bean sprouts can help your body look and feel younger. Not only can this crunchy, nutty tasting sprout strengthen your cartilage, skin and connective tissue, but its antioxidants can also help fight cellular aging.
7. Bok Choy
Part of one of the healthiest groups of vegetables (the cruciferous family), bok choy has been grown in Asia for centuries.
Benefits: Brimming full of nutrients, bok choy is loaded with vitamin A and C, fiber, magnesium, zinc, iron and even omega-3 fatty acids. The super green can also help decrease your risk of cancer, build strong bones, and give your skin a youthful glow.
8. Goji Berries
Slightly bitter but with a sweet aftertaste, this delicious fruit snack is often associated with traditional Chinese medicine.
Benefits: Loaded with a high amount of vitamin C, vitamin A and selenium, goji berries can help prevent cancer, protect your heart and improve vision.
With a mild, nutty taste, taro is a purple root vegetable that, when cooked, has a consistency similar to a baked potato. As it’s native to India and SE Asia, you could just call it a “tropical potato”.
Benefits: Full of vitamins, fiber and antioxidants, Taro can do wonders for your health. The purple power plant can reduce your risk of diabetes, improve your vision and boost your immune system.
Also commonly referred to as Chinese radish, mooli, Satsuma radish and Japanese radish, this unique East Asian vegetable looks like a white carrot. In reality, it’s actually a white radish.
Benefits: As part of the cruciferous vegetable family, Daikon is loaded with health benefits. The radish is high in fiber, vitamin C and A, and potassium; and it also provides a good dose of beta-carotene, iron, phosphorus and calcium. While Daikon can improve your health in many ways, perhaps most notably the white vegetable is known for improving digestion. It contains an enzyme called diastase that can alleviate heartburn, indigestion and even help speed up recovery from hangovers.
11. Umeboshi plums
Sometimes added to soups and stir-fries, these tiny Japanese plums have a sour taste and offer some remarkable health benefits.
Benefits: Low in calories and full of manganese, potassium and fiber, the pickled plum helps reduce fatigue and eliminate toxins. Studies have also revealed that Umeboshi can stop the growth of cancerous cells, reduce liver damage and improve digestion.
Finding and regularly incorporating these Asian superfoods into your diet can have a beneficial effect on your health. And if you are looking for a health insurance, fill in the form below and get the quote.