Japan is a beautiful country. The green mountains, blue sea,
vibrant culture and its mouth-watering cuisine, everything adds
to its beauty.
If you’ve travelled to Japan or met Japanese people, one
thing might have crossed your mind: “Why are Japanese
women so slim and look so young?”
It’s the cuisine and lifestyle of Japanese people that keep
them healthy and young looking. For example, Japanese food is
based upon the principle of health and longevity. In fact,
Japan is home to the world’s highest proportion of people who
live more than 100 years.
In Japan, food is not solely eaten for taste. Japanese people
believe in extracting health benefits from their food.
Here are the top 10 reasons why Japanese women stay slim and
don’t look old.
1. Drinking Green Tea
Japanese people love to drink green tea.
The matcha (powdered green tea) is made from the highest
quality leaves, which are dried and milled into a fine powder.
This powder is then mixed with hot water. This form of green
tea is used in the tea ceremony, which is a Japanese cultural
activity involving the ceremonial preparation and presentation
Green tea is not only delicious but also very beneficial. It is
one of the healthiest teas in the world, rich in antioxidants
that help fight free radicals and delay the aging process. It
even aids weight loss.
Drinking green tea also reduces the risk of heart disease and
According to a 2006 study published in JAMA, adults in Japan
who consumed higher amounts of green tea had a lower risk of
death due to all causes and due to cardiovascular disease. The
study also says that Japanese citizens who drank 5 cups of
green tea per day had 26 percent lower mortality rates.
2. Consuming Fermented Foods
Japanese people often eat fermented foods like kefir, kombucha,
sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and kimchi.
Fermented foods are those that have been through a process of
lacto fermentation. In this process, natural bacteria feed on
the sugar and starch in the food and create lactic acid.
Fermentation preserves the natural nutrients in food and
creates beneficial enzymes, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and
various strains of probiotics.
As fermentation promotes friendly intestinal bacteria and
breaks down food to a more digestible form, it aids digestion,
which in turn helps with weight loss, too. In addition, it
helps expel harmful toxins and heavy metals from cell tissue.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Physiological
Anthropology reports there is a connection between fermented
dairy products and the growth of beneficial intestinal
The study also noted the importance of findings that non-dairy
fermented foods and herbs can have a positive influence on
intestinal microbiota, as there may be an influence on
longer-term gut-brain communication.
3. Popularity of Seafood
Unlike Americans, Japanese people like to eat seafood rather
than red meat, which is associated with many health problems,
such as obesity, high cholesterol and inflammatory diseases.
Rice or noodles accompanied by different types of seafood are
common meals in Japan. As Japan is surrounded by sea, fish and
shellfish like tuna, salmon, mackerel and shrimp are extremely
popular in Japanese cuisine.
Fish is good for you due to its high-quality proteins, various
essential nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids, which are
excellent for the brain, heart and organs.
Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, are helpful in reducing
body fat, especially abdominal fat. Plus, seafood also reduces
inflammation in the body and benefits the nervous system.
Omega-3 fatty acids also promote smooth skin. These healthy
fats help prevent many skin disorders, such as atopic
dermatitis, psoriasis, acne vulgaris, non-melanoma skin cancer
The Japanese also believe that the healthier the fish you eat,
the better it is for you. This is why they serve fish in many
different ways, such as raw, poached, grilled, fried, baked or
4. Eating Smaller Portions
Serving small portions is part of Japan’s culture.
Smaller portion sizes can make you eat less, thereby helping
you lose weight. Portions also look larger on smaller plates,
which contribute to less eating. This in turn prevents
unintentional overeating and high calorie intake.
When it comes to weight management, the smaller portions is
probably more important than the type of food you eat.
Some of the basic foundations of Japanese home-cooked food
- Do not completely fill up the plates.
- Do not serve a big portion of any item.
- Fresh is best.
- Foods should be garnished and each item on the menu should
be arranged properly to showcase its natural beauty.
5. Walking is a Ritual
In Japan, both men and women walk a lot. Walking is a good form
of exercise to remain slim and fit.
Walking not only helps with weight loss, it also improves
cardiovascular health, boosts energy and mood, and helps
Japan’s population is heavily concentrated in cities, and many
people commute by train and subways. This means they need to
walk or bicycle to the station and back.
Even children walk a good part of the way to school, instead of
being dropped off by their parents.
Apart from walking, use of bicycles is also popular. Many
people ride bicycles everywhere, which is another good form of
6. Eating on the Go is a Big No-No
Meal times in Japan are sacred periods of energizing your body
hence there are no walking lunches. It is considered impolite
although acceptable in Japan to eat while you are on the go.
Which is why, you will rarely see anyone eat on the street or
while riding a public transport.
In Japan, you do not do anything else while eating. No TV, no
work. Cleanliness and presentation of food, too, form an
essential part of Japanese food eating.
They also eat slower, giving their stomach time to process
food and signal the brain that it is full. Chopsticks actually
play a role of hindering the amount and speed at which people
eat food food.
Slower eating means your stomach has time to tell you ‘enough’,
compared to the speedy binge eating of Americans where it’s
already too late by the time your stomach signals your brain
that it is full, resulting in overeating.
7. Healthy Cooking Methods
Japanese cuisine not only uses healthy ingredients but also
healthy cooking methods.
In Japan, raw, simmered and grilled techniques predominate,
which help avoid the use of excess oil. These cooking
techniques also aid in preserving the taste and nutrients of
Deep frying food is rare in Japan. When fried food is served,
such as tempura, a few pieces are enjoyed along with other
dishes. This way the overall balance of the meal is healthy.
8. Practicing Martial Arts
There are different types of martial arts popular in Japan, and
both men and women practice some of the forms.
In fact, Japanese martial arts styles of karate, judo, aikido
and others play a key role in improving the fitness level and
overall health of Japanese women.
Most martial arts improve cardiovascular fitness and endurance,
help build muscle strength and improve muscle flexibility. They
also aid weight loss and slow the aging process.
A 2013 pilot study published in Clinical Medical Insights:
Women’s Health suggests that martial art exercise improves body
composition, favors bone turnover biomarkers (increasing bone
formation and decreasing bone resorption) and reduces
inflammation in overweight or obese premenopausal women.
9. Hot Spring Baths
A hot spring bath, which is a common practice in Japan,
In the local language, a hot spring is known as ‘onsen’. As a
volcanically active country, Japan has thousands of them
throughout all of its major islands.
Hot springs have healing powers and are beneficial for health
due to the temperature of the water along with the mineral
content, such as magnesium, calcium, silica, and niacin.
When you enjoy a bath in a hot spring, your skin soaks in these
minerals and your hydrostatic pressure rises. This leads to
better blood circulation and oxygen flow throughout the body.
Better blood and oxygen circulation is beneficial for your
heart as well as other vital organs and tissues.
It even aids in reducing stress and promoting better sleep,
which in turn benefits your skin’s health.
Taking a hot spring bath at least twice a month is one of the
reasons why Japanese women look young and stay slim.
10. Healthy Desserts
Desserts are not an integral part of Japanese cuisine. Japanese
women eat sweets less often, and this is one secret as to
why they stay slim.
In Japan, people prefer eating fresh fruit at the end of their
meal rather than sugar-laden desserts. Sugar is one of the main
culprits behind the rise of obesity in the United States.
Also, Japanese sweets have a lot less caramel, refined flours
and all of those other frightfully fattening ingredients
commonly used in the U.S. Sweets are made from healthy
ingredients, such as sweet potatoes, buckwheat flour and fresh
Even when Western-style sweet desserts are served, portion
sizes are considerably smaller.