Japanese cuisine’s heavy emphasis on soy, fish, and sea vegetables, provides a solid foundation of nutrition, starting with the morning meal. “Traditional Japanese breakfasts consist of rice, vegetables, seaweeds, soy products, eggs, and fish, plus seasonal fruits,” says Chef Takashi Yamamoto of Suzuki, a traditional Japanese Kaiseki restaurant. With all the good things in there, you won’t miss what’s been left out, namely too much sugar, and oil. “The ingredients used in a Japanese breakfast allows you to consume balanced nutrients. Miso is made from mashed soybeans, salt, and kouji (malt). The fermentation process creates a number of enzymes which help to lower cholesterol, while conditioning the intestinal environment, and balancing your hormones. Seasonal vegetables and fruits add vitamins, fiber, and potassium. Natto (fermented soybeans), are also a popular breakfast item in Japan, thought to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, plus increase memory.” Here are good reasons why you need to start eating seaweed, pronto.
Ask any Filipino, and they’ll tell you that nutritious and fragrant, don’t always go together. Former Top Chef contestant, Francis Tariga, of MEGU in New York, says, “Growing up in Philippines, my favorite breakfast was fried dried Salinas fish, called tuyo, that my mom always paired with sautéed bitter melon, garlic fried rice, and a sunny side up egg. I don’t fry tuyo now in my apartment, because I know my neighbors will complain about the smell, but every time I visit the Philippines I make it a point to have my mom cook my favorite breakfast. We’ll also sometimes eat a bitter melon salad, which is very specific to Filipino cooking. The more bitter, the better.” According to the website, Diabetes, Tariga’s mom was really onto something. Bitter melon, also called bitter gourd, is filled with anti-diabetic properties.