5 Reasons Why Eating Ethnic Cuisines Can Improve Your Health

As The Plant-Powered Dietitian, I'm an advocate for a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, plant-based protein and calcium, and features healthy nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. That's because hundreds of studies indicate that by eating whole, minimally processed plant foods, humans gain protection against everyday illness, diabetes, obesity, depression, mental decline, heart disease and cancer.

When I speak to individuals about making the shift toward a more plant-based way of eating, embracing ethnic cuisines is one of my top tips. For example, look at Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and Mexican cuisines. All of them offer a variety of delicious meals highlighting plant-based foods.

More: 6 Reasons to Try a Plant-Based Diet

Here are five reasons why ethnic cuisines can lower your blood pressure, improve your cholesterol levels, help you lose weight, and improve your health overall.

They Embrace Plants

Many cultures simply know how to do vegetarian meals right. Rather than emphasizing animal foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol, they emphasize plant-based foods packed with vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber. Mexican dishes are known for their abundance of legumes, including pinto and black beans. The Mediterranean diet highlights unsaturated and hearth-healthy plant fats, such as nuts and olive oil. The traditional Japanese diet embraces whole soy foods, such as edamame, tofu and miso.

More: Savory Shitake Bowl with Kale and Brown Rice

They Shift the Plate

Although the general American population still prepares meals with meat filling the majority of the plate, many cultures use meat as flavoring. This eating style is the basis of many ethnic dishes, such as curries, stir-fries, stews and pasta dishes that are flavored with a small portion of beef, pork, chicken or fish, and a pile of vegetables in order to serve a family-size meal.

More: 6 Guilt-Free Pasta Recipes

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About the Author

Sharon Palmer

Sharon Palmer is a registered dietitian, writer and author of The Plant-Powered Diet. Over 750 of her articles have been published in national publications, including Prevention, Better Homes and Gardens and Today's Dietitian. She is also the editor of the award-winning publication Environmental Nutrition and writes for her blog, The Plant-Powered Dietitian. Sharon makes her home with her husband and two sons in the chaparral hills overlooking Los Angeles.
Sharon Palmer is a registered dietitian, writer and author of The Plant-Powered Diet. Over 750 of her articles have been published in national publications, including Prevention, Better Homes and Gardens and Today's Dietitian. She is also the editor of the award-winning publication Environmental Nutrition and writes for her blog, The Plant-Powered Dietitian. Sharon makes her home with her husband and two sons in the chaparral hills overlooking Los Angeles.

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