Rich in taste and low in calories, Asian cuisine is generally less fatty than Western cuisine despite its festival of flavors. But is it therefore healthier, more balanced, healthier?

Asian cuisine pleases! Indeed, according to a survey carried out in France in February 2019 by Harris Interactive for Deliveroo, 25% of respondents said they consumed Asian culinary specialties once a week. It is therefore the most popular exotic cuisine with consumers. The latter especially appreciate its fragrant (94% of respondents), exotic (92%) and colorful (90%) side. But is this cuisine really healthy?

Boosted immunity thanks to lacto-fermentation

Asian cuisine is full of fermented treasures, starting with soy sauce. It is used everywhere, all the time, whether to sauce sushi, salt soups, season meats, vegetables, woks… As a reminder, lacto-fermented products help balance the intestinal microbiota, while improving digestion and strengthening the immune system. In addition, fermentation can also increase the nutritional value of a food…

The products that are rich in it are of course soy sauce, but also kimchi, a Korean recipe made with lacto-fermented vegetables (often cabbage) in brine with peppers. The lacto-fermented tofu is not left out. Its omega-3s are, moreover, favorable to the cardiovascular system, and its probiotics to the digestive system. Tofu is eaten, for example, crumbled in salads or other preparations, depending on the inspiration.

Coconut water, source of nutrients

Coconut water, found in green coconuts before the fruit matures, is regularly consumed in Asia. Composed of 95% water, it is rich in nutrients. But this is not its only virtue: it is indeed both thirst-quenching, light, draining, energizing, and antibacterial. In particular, it can be used instead of vegetable milk in a smoothie. But do not replace water 100% with coconut water, because pure water remains essential to our proper functioning. Kefir is also lacto-fermented: prepared using natural yeast, this water or milk-based drink is full of vitamins. It is credited with many other virtues: it would be anti-aging, protect the skin and boost immunity…

Some ideas for a healthy meal…

Asian cuisine combines nutritional benefits, a change of scenery and simplicity of preparation. In addition, the recipes are customizable. Here are a few.

  • The buddha bowl. This complete and gourmet dish, both healthy and visual, consists of raw and cooked, hot and cold ingredients, placed in a large bowl without mixing them. There is a third of cereals or legumes, and two thirds of vegetables in strips, grated or diced. Then, sprouted seeds, oilseeds and dried fruits (sesame seeds, almonds or pomegranates) are added. Everything is seasoned with olive oil seasoned with lemon.
  • The wok. The advantage of this cooking is to be fast, and to preserve the nutrients of the ingredients. Many products are cooked in a wok: green vegetables, diced chicken, marinated prawns with soy sauce… All garnished with coriander and chilli. Easy, fast and healthy!
  • Steam. This ultra-healthy method of cooking can be used to cook rice, vegetables, but also dims sums, fish, etc. Perfect for fat-free, healthy and yet tasty cooking.
  • spring rolls. Despite some beliefs, they are very simple to make yourself. The key ingredients are pork cooked in broth, small cooked shrimp, all garnished with cucumber, small vegetables, omelet…
  • sushi. These are also very easy to prepare at home. Just make a small mat of rice and place a piece of raw fish on top. There is ready-made sushi rice in supermarkets (already cooked with traditional ingredients) which will make your task easier. Finish with a note of sweet or salty soy sauce and voila!

Virginie Stassen

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