There have been innumerable studies conducted to determine why the average Chinese diet proves to reward the population with increased longevity, much lower rates of a number of cancers and obesity, as well as better heart health. The Chinese cuisine, throughout the various regions of China, share many common elements: fish, rice, seafood, small portions of meats and an array of veggies comprise the bulk of the Chinese diet.
In the typical Chinese household, menus consist of fresh, from scratch dishes, which provide a balanced diet in several, small courses. These healthy Chinese food menus rely on a natural ‘food pyramid’, resulting in inexpensive and nutritious dishes that are both satisfying and visually appealing. While small amounts of a variety of food are integrated into each dish, focusing on taste, colour, contrast and texture, as a whole, healthy Chinese food approaches fine dining from the ‘less is more’ philosophy. In fact, Chinese food can hardly avoid being healthy! Let’s take a look at some of the basic techniques of Chinese cooking, that makes the Chinese cuisine one of the healthiest in the world.
Western European cuisines emphasize the importance of fresh, high quality ingredients, but do also not skimp on fancy and high-calorie sauces and other adornments to seduce the diner’s palate. I must admit to succumbing to such sumptuous dishes, such as the French have mastered. A perfectly executed Beef Bourguignon would tempt the Saints. However, were I to indulge in these heavenly concoctions on a non-stop basis, I might also end up with some health conditions, due to the generous use of butter and cream which are signatures of the most unctuous dishes on the planet.
Chinese dishes are not famous for the use of fat, but for their complexity of taste, simplicity of ingredients and exotic combinations of fragrant seasonings, which more than makes up for a lack of delicious, but nonetheless, unhealthy fats. Perhaps the most important component of healthy Chinese food is in the seasoning.
For example, who would think that a bowl of steamed rice could be a taste of heaven? Plain steamed rice doesn’t meet this definition. However, add a teaspoon of Chinese Five spice, a couple of stalks of green onion, a can of drained, sliced water chestnuts, bits of leftover cooked chicken and a handful of salad shrimp. Now, we’re talking healthy Chinese food fit for a King, or at least company.
The list of foods that comprise healthy Chinese food are astonishing in number. Almost any veggie finds its place in a Chinese dish. Mushrooms, baby corn, bean sprouts, celery, broccoli, spinach, squash, sweet bell peppers, cauliflower and carrots are all candidates to fill out a basic rice or noodle dish. The healthy Chinese food menu makes use of just about any in-season produce to infuse the rice or noodles with texture, colour and nutrition.
The only caveat in preparing truly healthy Chinese food? Disdain the use of MSG – many people are allergic to this
taste-enhancing substance. While MSG serves to heighten the flavours of the accompanying ingredients, it’s also well known to cause headaches, while being totally avoid of nutritive value.
Using the freshest ingredients and seasonings is the secret to a dish you’ll want to taste again and again. The health benefits are tremendous. All of those veggies contain antioxidants and are packed with nutrients that keep you young and vibrant. There’s no question that healthy Chinese food menus are filling and full of flavour.
Serving just one or two Chinese dishes each week, your body will thank you! Wouldn’t it be nice to know that indulging in this healthful and flavour-packed cuisine can increase your lifespan and help prevent so many of the devastating health conditions now prevalent in the UK ?
Enroll in a local Chinese cooking class, or check out a Chinese cookbook from the library. Explore. Experiment. Live longer and in better health! Healthy Chinese food is at your fingertips! Enjoy!