I don't know enough about South Korea but I have lived in Japan and know the culture well. There are traditions and cultural expectations that help:
· Everyone walks everywhere. Even if you take public transportation, you often have to walk a while to get to the station and/or go up/down stairs to get to the correct platform. Generally, driving is used only if you have to travel far. That also means that you have to go out frequently and walk around to run errands and shop for groceries.
· Good diet/nutrition is strongly emphasized (from childhood). There is a tradition of eating modest amounts of several different things (miso soup, rice, pickles, vegetable side dishes, protein dish) for each meal, and vegetables/seaweed are considered very important parts of the diet. Children eat lunches served by the school cafeteria, so they have access to nutritionally balanced lunches. Parents (often mothers) are expected to serve balanced, nutritious, appetizing meals with vegetables, protein, and carbs (typically plain rice) -- you see a microcosm of this in bentos (lunch boxes).
· Lighter diet in general: Home-cooked meals are the standard, not eating out -- traditionally, housewives/mothers are charged with preparing good home-cooked meals. Traditional home cooking relies on vegetables and lean protein with limited use of oil / added fats, and the diet is way less rich compared to what I find in the U.S.
· Seasonal produce is cherished in Japan. There are seasonal dishes according to what's in season, and fruits are popular as desserts, snacks, and gifts.
· Serving sizes are smaller. When my Japanese relatives visited the U.S., they could not get over how huge the portions were -- "two people's worth!!" I personally didn't find Japanese portions particularly small, either, but there was definitely a greater variety and more vegetables packed into each meal.
· Getting outside and socializing is considered healthy and important, especially in terms of admiring nature, joining family gatherings/festivals/events, etc.
· Keeping active is prized (and being lazy is not). Even in older age, walking, stretching, and doing things around the house are expected. The Japanese keep busy with a lot of regular cleaning, errands, and various housekeeping tasks -- the elderly tend to prefer staying in their original homes, and their children tend to be busy working people, so they just continue to do everything on their own.
· Probably good genes x environment interaction -- I think most Japanese would find it quite difficult to become obese, partly because of genetics and partly because of the diet and the activity level they are used to. They are not used to a richer diet, and even though processed food is common nowadays, the Japanese still find comfort in homestyle dishes. Moreover, there is a culture of walking around and keeping busy around the house. That makes it easier for them to stay reasonably in shape.
I'm sure there are more, but these are some possibilities.
Michael Jun, studied at University of California, Berkeley
Michael Jun, 结业于加州大学伯克利分校
South Korean men aren't healthier than the average men in the industrialized countries. The Korean and Japanese women do however live a very long life. (World Health Statistics 2014) The reason probably is that about 2/3 of adult South Korean men smoked only a few decades.
(1) Low Calories
South Korean food is not perfect but even the Korean junk food is healthy in comparison with the average American diet. Many Korean junk food don't use frying or oil and use spices instead of sugar for flavoring. This is due to the reason that sugar was nearly unavailable in old Korea and honey was very expensive. So the Korean cuisine developed without sweetener at hand. Also, red meat is relatively expensive so people are forced to eat more fish which were more plentiful and plant proteins such as beans and tofu. Soy beans naturally fertilized the soil by fixing nitrogen so they were growing in abundance. Also, carbonated drinks are not part of the Korean meals- Korean restaurants give you water for free but charge money for soda.
(2) Hot Pepper burns fat
Some of the prominent features of the Korean dishes seem to have some unrecognized health benefits starting from the hot pepper. (@Page on laramieboomerang.com) The American scientists at the University of Wyoming found that "a spicy compound in chili peppers could help fat burn to produce energy". There is another research titled @Capsaicin as an anti-obesity drug. (Capsaicin is what makes the red pepper hot.) At least, red pepper does not have a huge caloric value like fat or sugar.
(3) Some Interesting Food Stuff
Some Korean and Japanese food items, garlic, seaweed and soy beans, are considered "superfood" by western scientists and some Korean foods are being rediscovered by the Koreans themselves after the Western media heaped praise on them. I learned from the western media that garlic was very nutritious and acts like natural antibiotic. Garlic seems central to the Korean cuisine and often gives the Korean bad breath and reputation abroad. (This created the Korean brushing teeth culture: Korean’s “Brushing Teeth” Culture.)
Another superfood/insect which is popular is silkworm larva. They are low in fat and rich in protein. I love them though I find them disgusting too. My eyes find them revolting while my tongue craves them. So I close my eyes when I eat them. Overall, snacking insects is healthier than eating popcorn or french fries.
(4) Lots of Leafy Dishes
Also, banchan, the free, unlimited side dishes are often salted or fermented vegetable. (meat banchan is possible but costly so the restaurants give you leafty banchan to save costs.)
So if you grow up in Korean diet, you are forced to eat lots of vegetable and whole grain. The Korean vegetables and herbs are hardcore and they can be really bitter and tastes woody or grassy. They tend to be marinated or pickled intensely to make it palatable. In Korea, you really had no choice but to gulp up seaweed soup rather than a supersize Coca Cola. The beans are mixed with the rice bowl so you can't avoid eating the beans. (I tried to separate the rice from the beans because I hate beans but it was quite laborious.)
The Korean climate makes it easy to grow the small vegetable. In summer there are weeds all over the places. In the old days the Koreans made dishes around the edible grass which are considered weed or for animal feeds by the Westerners.
Unless you are very wealthy or have a lot of free time, you'll have to walk more in South Korea, probably same in Japan as well. The country is densely populated so it makes a lot of sense to take a bus or subway. (If you have a helicopter or personal limo, then no.)
I can't say the Korean doctors are the best but the cost of medical care is very reasonable. South Korea has a universal health care system like most Western countries and you can get a decent healthcare for a low price. I think Koreans have some oriental obsession for longevity so don't shy away from seeing doctors for health checkup.
Jeff Light, Lived in both Tokyo and Osaka for years, travelled around most of the country
Jeff Light, 在东京和大阪生存多年，在天下大局部地域游览过
A lot of good points here, especially that Korean men in fact are not especially long-lived (Japanese men similarly live much shorter than the women.)
Having lived in both countries (and now Singapore) for several years, I think there are some commonalities in the countries which are overlooked in favor of things like diet.
Yes, the diet is a bit healthier than a Western diet, but these days all these countries are eating tons of potato snack crisps, salty food, and very oily and fatty fast food (and I mean LOCAL fast food, not just McDonalds). The real dietary difference comes, as some people mentioned, in lower sugar, and portion control.
But actually, I think there are two much greater factors. The first is genetics and epigenetics. Emerging science shows that much more important than what YOU eat or smoke or drink is what your Grandfather or Great-Grandmother did. Their health is written on your DNA, and whether your cancer cells or heart disease is triggered has very much to do with the lifestyle of your ancestors. Let's wait 2 generations or so and see if there's really so much of a difference between Western countries and developed Asian countries.
The second big factor, which some people mentioned, is lifestyle. Now, in general, people are much more active in Japan, Korea, and Singapore than in Western countries. They walk and move constantly. However, what accounts for the difference between sexes? Well, I suspect it has to do with rigid gender roles. In Korea and Japan especially, it is still quite usual to get married before 30, have kids, and become a fulltime housewife. Now, I am not suggesting that this role is without stress, but compared to the lifestyle of the men, who often practically LIVE at their office, and have compulsory drinking sessions after work, the lifestyles of the women are FAR healthier and more leisurely. They cook, clean, and take care of kids, but the children are mostly in schools and clubs from age 7, and really the wives are left to have lunch dates, watch TV, and travel. They control the household income, and shopping is a way of life, not a hobby!
Of course, these are generalizations, but when we talk about average life expectancy, so is that. With everything we know about the genome and stress these days, it seems far more fair to pay attention to these factors rather than getting sucked into the nationalistic pride competition comparing traditional foods and healthcare systems. These are distractions from more pervasive science.
Ashish Kumar Singh, A Software Engineer by profession, who loves to talk, write and click photos.
Ashish Kumar Singh, 一个喜好说，写和编辑照片的软件工程师。
I have been to South Korea many times and have seen the answer for this question by my eyes !
· Koreans are very strict about food timings, Breakfast 7–8, Lunch 12–1, Dinner 7–8. In my office they used to switch off the lights and everyone simply moved out of the office for food and followed the timings perfectly.
· They don’t drink water after having food.
· They brush their teeth after every meal.
· They walk regularly and use cycles a lot. I have seen my high level managers also using cycles instead of using cars !
· They are really crazy about fitness and health. They go for hiking, climbing, running, cycling and playing.
· The food comprises of high protein content, its usually boiled or raw. Sea food is pretty common.
Agro Rachmatullah, lived in Japan
Agro Rachmatullah, 住在日本
Because the food culture makes it hard to eat unhealthy food.
We all know that obesity is linked to many fatal health problems such as diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. And how do you get obese? By eating more calories than you need for your daily activities.
For example, I am a 28 year old male with a weight of 58 kg (128 lbs) and I exercise 3 times every week. For my body profile and activity, I need around 2,000 calories daily. If I eat exactly as needed, my weight will stay the same. However if I eat more than that (such as 3,000 cal daily), the extra energy will be stored as fat in my body and I will gradually be overweight.
In this regard some food/drinks are worse than others. For example, if you drink a glass of green tea it has 0 calories. However if you drink a glass of Indonesian sweet tea (which contains sugar), you get 100 calories.
Now let's ask a simple question. Do you drink because you want to get fat? No, you drink because you are thirsty. However in Indonesia the default drink in many restaurants is that sweet tea which contains extra calories. Compare that to Japan in which the default drink in my Japanese university cafeteria is the zero-calorie green tea.
In general sugar is bad. Flour which is used to make your bread and pizza is also bad because it is very high in calorie. However if you watch documentaries like Fed Up, you will see that those junk food permeates some countries like the USA. You can get pizza (flour = extra calorie = bad), burger (flour = extra calorie = bad), or french fries (oil = extra calorie = bad) for your school cafeteria lunch. In my Japanese university cafeteria you won't find those things.
Have you ever heard of sushi which is eaten a lot in Japan? The fish is raw, so it's raw protein. Compare it to Kentucky Fried Chicken. It's chicken (protein = good) plus flour (high calorie, bad) plus oil (high calorie, bad). Try to drink a teaspoon of oil. It'll just make you fat and you will still be hungry. So why use oil at all? I can go to any convenience store in Japan and buy sushi. Where's my sushi at an American convenience store?
Let's go buy some milk. In Japan's supermarket I get milk. The white thing, without additional flavor. In Indonesia, you can find strawberry-flavored milk, chocolate-flavored milk, to banana-flavored milk. Guess what those flavored milk contains. Sugar. Which makes you fat. Do you drink milk to get healthy or to get fat? Well, in Japan you can only buy healthy milk.
In short, by default the food and drinks offered in Japan is more healthy than in other countries like USA (junk food) and Indonesia (put sugar in everything and fry everything). Therefore it is easier to be a healthy person by living in Japan.
(PS: I don't have living experience in South Korea but I'm guessing it's the same case)
i've spent many many years in all 3 countries and these are pretty much the main factors.
1. (with a bullet) diet. americans generally eat pre-packaged, sugar, chemical and preservative laced "foods" that are quick and easy to make. japanese and koreans tend to cook their own food using fresh raw ingredients, although corporate food is starting to create a paradigm shift in those countries. as well, there are endless amount of independent restaurants that serve similarly prepared food. it's nearly impossible to find a non-chain restaurant in most areas of america outside of cultural hubs like SF and NYC, and when you do it's usually a mom and pop shop that serves incredibly unhealthy food like american breakfasts or things of that nature.
2. activity. in america, almost everyone drives and almost no one walks. this is monumental for how many calories are not being used by the average citizen.
3. social stigmas. in america, "fat shaming" and political correctness have become a major problem. it's tolerated less and less to tell people that they are fat, and acceptance has hit a level that could be considered pandemic. korea is one of the most self-aware countries in the world when it comes to one's appearance and being overweight, even slightly is generally frowned upon and in cases completely unacceptable there. japan follows in a similar vein, although not as intensely.
4. apathy and ignorance. americans have become apathetic to their weight problems and many are actually ignorant of it, thinking that it's okay or normal. japanese and koreans are generally neither apathetic nor ignorant to their weight.
5. genetics. while ANYONE without a thyroid or rare health condition can keep a natural weight, genetics do play a factor. asians for example are better able to process rice, genetically. however, this is a very very small factor, and generally used as an excuse to be overweight by those who would rather not face the music, as almost anyone can maintain a healthy weight in combination of good food and exercise.
David Dragon, Board certified & state licensed mad scientist. Available for private consults.
David Dragon, 经认证和国度受权的猖獗迷信家。公家征询师。
One of the most important factors is their diet.
Red meat was very hard to get in these countries. However, seafood was very abundant. They eat a lot of seafood, seaweed (which is also very healthy), and soy products. Koreans also eat a lot of vegetables with every meal -- and many Korean foods (esp. Kimchi) is fermented -- which is now thought to greatly benefit probotics in stomach.
There was a study done a number of years ago on Japanese who moved to US. Acc'd to study, many of these US Japanese started eating a lot of American fast food and junk food. After examining these individuals, they had started developing high-blood pressure, heart issues, and some were over weight.
Study concluded that it was the change in diet that led to US Japanese being less healthy than native Japanese. Of course, study may have been flawed -- but that was what they concluded.
In terms of life expectancy of women, Japan and Korea are high, #1 and #5, respectively, in 2014 (note that for men, San Marino ranked #1). So, what is common between (women in) Japan and Korea?
 A relatively healthy diet of fish, tofu, miso, green tea, seaweed, vegetable side dishes (no cream or butter in entrees), usually a variety, home cooked. (The main differences in diet appear to be more spices/pepper, garlic, and beans in Korean food; barley tea in Korea, and increased moderation in Japan). Perhaps Buddhism (veganism/vegetarianism) may play an influence on diet (at least at temple).
 A lot of walking with use of public transport (compared to the U.S.).
 Availability, acceptance, and reasonable cost of acupuncture and herbal medicine.
 NOT smoking and drinking in excess, unlike their male counterparts. (But what about all of that second hand smoke?)
 NOT working in a stressful job environment, unlike their male counterparts.
 Genetics - maybe; it only has a 20-30% effect on longevity. Twin studies suggest genetics accounts for approximately 20 to 30 percent of an individual's chance of surviving to age 85. (Exceptional-longetivity of surpassing 100 has a stronger genetic component based on a famous study of 95-119 year olds).
[Diet cavets. (1) Personal: I don't know about the no-sugar drinking in Korea. My grandmother started me on coca cola as a toddler, as well as that sweet yokul yoguroo drink. (2) Deep frying: And don't let people fool you into thinking that Koreans and Japanese don't deep fry! Korean fried chicken and potstickers/mandu are delicioso and Japanese tempura and tonkatsu are all deep fried, and thus, wonderful!!!!]
The food fads or preferences that are healthier than other cultures
1. Premium on freshness - In other cultures there is likeness for fresh food but other factors take precedence. Many Korean and Japanese dishes are cooked on table itself.
2. Less cooking is good thing - Stir fry and serving food closer to original state. Purees any one? This prevents the high calorie additions like oil, sugar or refined flour and at the same time loss of nutrients.
3. Concept of rich food - This factor when combined with above factors to me seems to be biggest factor. In other cultures rich food means thick, shiny or puréed stuff. So traditionally speaking milk is good but butter is better and clarified butter is even better. Thin soups are ok but thick ones are better. More creamy and melt in mouth is better. More salty or sugary is better.
Jeff Baird, Osteopathic Physician retired
Jeff Baird, 退休的整骨疗法医师
hate to start this way, but the premise itself (these groups are healthy) hasn't been established unless your definition of health includes Korean and Japanese ancestry. Do they live longer on average than any other country? Do they have less psych problems, arthritis, high blood pressure? Japan is still #1 in longevity and South Korea isn't in the top 20 in 2014. Japanese males rank in the top 2 or 3 of stress for males. Korean males and Japanese males both smoke more than US males do. So while Japan might meet most people's criteria for health, it is a stretch to suggest that Koreans do.
我厌恶以这种方法开端，条件自身(这些群体是安康的)还没有树立起来，除非你对安康的界说包罗韩国和日本的先人。他们的均匀寿命比其他国度都长吗? 他们有较少的肉体题目，枢纽关头炎，高血压吗? 日本的寿命依然是排名第一，而韩国在2014年还没有进入前20名。日本男性压力排天下男性压力的第二或第三名。韩国男性和日本男性的吸烟量都超越了美国男性。因而，虽然日本能够契合大少数人的安康规范，但以为韩国人也如许则是过分以为了。
Michael Callahan, COPE Certified Health Coach and Weight Management Specialist
Michael Callahan, 经过认证的安康锻练和体重办理专家
Health is such a relative term. Research is showing that health is on the decline world-wide. The more countries like Japan and Korea migrate towards a western diet the more impact diet has on the overall health of their cultures. Like many developed and developing countries, both these Asian nations are seeing an increase in processed and 'fast' foods -- high in sugars, fats, salt, and unhealthy additives. The "elders" you mentioned are more old school in their diets. It is the younger generations that are at risk for weight related problems.
Ithamar Paraguassu Ramos, I had some realatives in Japan
Ithamar Paraguassu Ramos,我有很多支属在日本
They don't eat too much, like in our culture that force kids to eat toxic quantities.
If a child don't want to eat nobody freaks out fearing to be a bad parent, they respect the fact that the child don't need to eat anymore.
People aren't praised to eat unhealthy quantities of food as a reason to have pride.
That is enough to eat healthier.
Also there are a healthier mentality about old people.
Nobody thinks that you are less or inferior for being old.
Also here are no pressure to stay quiet because became older, is okay to make exercises and being functional.
They walk a lot, what is very healthier.
Subra Velu, Try Intermittent Fasting. Next meal is the most enjoyable meal.
Subra Velu, 试着断断续续禁食。下一餐是最令人痛快的一餐。
Read from the Net - pun intended. French eat fatty cuts of meat, drink wine, speak French and don't have cardiac problem. Germans eat large rolls of sausage, drink gallons of beer, speak German and live long. Japanese eat sushi, drink sake, speak Japanese and live 100 years. Americans, British and Indians eat, drink, speak English and die of heart attacks. So eat whatever you want for a healthy life but don't speak English :-)
MrNobody Brightside, Entrepreneur (2017-present)
MrNobody Brightside, 企业家(2017 -如今)
The answer is Flour, Starch and Sugar, or the three white poisons. Japanese and Korean people eat more rice, beans and vegetables in comapraison to other countries. They don’t eat bread and sugar that much. I’ve been to Korea and I am currently living in Japan, and I can tell you that except noodles, which is not consumed everyday, they don’t use flour for their main cuisine.
Of course flour and ,generally speaking, carbs bad effect on our body can be reversed by the use of antioxidants and healthy fats , for exemple in Acciaroli a small town in south Italy people live longer than the average with 300 centenarian out of a population counting 2000 people. Well know to everyone, Italians eat a lot of pasta, but, they use as well a lot of olive oil, tomato and citrus fruits which are rich in antioxidants, reversing by that the unhealthy effects of the carbs on our body.
Unfortunately the food pyramid or diet pyramid they taught us at school is based on some wrong informations and a big lack of concrete researches. It has been proven lately that fat isn’t as harmful as carbs. If you are more interested about the subject maybe you should read: “What If It's All Been a Big Fat Lie” by Gary Taube.
To conclude with an easy and childish figure, consider human being body as a machine, the more any machine produces, the shorter it’s life gets. The main product of human body is feces. So let’s say that human body is a big poop machine, the more you eat, the more you poo and the more your life gets shorter. Of course not eating at all will make the machine rusty and after a while, depends on how much there is fat reserve inside the machine, the body will stop working forever. So in order to keep your machine maintained for as long as possible, consider eating small, balanced and sufficient amount of food. And don’t forget to drink a lot of water.
W Kasmer, worked at Japan
As has been already argued, I don't know if one wants to includes the Koreans in this question as their life expectancy doesn't rank unusually high, especially when compared to the Japanese.
There is some question, though about how you define healthy. A recent modern trend seems to show a higher uptick in mental illness in Japan, as well as young people being less interested in sex (especially males). Part of this is a trend as seeing romantic relationships as 'troublesome' and taking people away from a focus on themselves and things they want to do.
In addition, the suicide rate has dropped slightly recently, though Japan has the leading suicide rate for a developed country as well as one of the highest, if not the highest, rates of suicide for juveniles.
So yes, Japanese do live a long time (the longest in the world right now), but healthily?
Korean traditional food is healthy although contemporary Koreans eat lot of junk food but otherwise their overall food intake is healthy. food is less processed and closer to what nature has offered you, I don't agree about the elders being so free from problems,but they do have longer than average lifespan, their genes help in this case, you may know the British women also live longer than the most, they eat all the junk and drink lots of alcohol, its in the genes sometimes so that's one of the reasons.
as someone who now lives in korea and had lived in america for decades before that, i am well versed in this topic. the first thing is simply enough, the food. on a daily basis most koreans eat quite healthy foods. foods that are cooked with basic ingredients that contain a lot of vegetables. this is generally offset by the large amount of sodium and alcohol they ingest, but that's a different topic altogether.
the second thing is that korea is pretty no-nonsense when it comes to body image. they don't coddle people for being overweight like americans tends to these days, and they will downright let people know that it's not okay to be fat. the emphasis that korean people put on each other to look good not only in terms of weight but even in terms of clothing and accessories is one of the highest i've encountered in my travels around the world (though it's no milan). these things combined with the other things people have mentioned (walking and caring about exercise, etc) are the main reason they are generally physically healthy. mental health is another issue, but that's a whole separate can of worms.
Ruth Hussein McCreery, Live in Yokohama
Ruth Hussein McCreery, 住在日本横滨
In addition to the points others have raised, I would add universal health care, at least in Japan. Good pre- and postnatal care, childhood vaccinations, free (or nearly so) health exams for older folk, and very affordable treatment reinforce the benefits of a basically good diet, lots of walking, and ongoing social activity. High calorie fast foods are, however, taking their toll, with obesity rates rising.
Emi Lee, Japanese- first language Went to school and lived in japan for 4 years
hm... It might be their healthy and almost ritual tea drinking. My Korean and Japanese parents and grandparents also eat a lot of vegetables and specifically kimchi and bokumbak. Also traditional meals are composed of vegetables and low fat meats and yes, they drink alcohol but its normally warm rice wine which has many health benefits. Also my Korean grandmother eats ginseng....
Tara O'Gorman, Teacher at South Korea
Nowadays, this is less and less true. While the traditional diet kept obesity and other health problems at bay, both the Western diet and packaged foods have come full-fledged into the mainstream. Convenience stores are two to a block here, and the consumption of fast snacks is exacerbated by long work-hours and the lack of time to cook. Every time I return to Korea I see an increase in overweight people, and, although I haven’t seen obesity yet, I am expecting it.
Arthur Daret, former Registered Investment Advisor (1999-2010)
Arthur Daret, 前注册投资参谋(1999-2010)
I visited Japan in 1993 and noticed that there seemed to be a lack of outdoor seating (benches). Coupled with walking long distances, standing on the subway trains, and the healthy foods that were available made it easy to lose weight and do more than enough walking every day.
I am Korean-American and am always trying to eat healthy. I actually find most Korean food salty and therefore, unhealthy. I think what makes it healthy is because a large portion of food is slow-cook, meaning it takes some time to cook, as opposed to processed fastfood.
Leo Martin, Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers
Leo Martin, 普华永道管帐师事件所主任
First, many non-SAD diet (Standard American Diet) are just better because SADs are so bad for you. Flour, sugar, rice, grain-based food, flour-based food, fried food, garbage food, junk food, manufactured food, etc.
Anh Cuong, 2 years eating organic food
They eat and using healthy food. Their food is organic, and didn't got any chemistry in their.
Look around of your food! - Mc Donal use ton of Canxi Cacbonat to protect or make the food life longer, Potato Slide use it too. These poison accumulate in your body and make you got more aging.
And in Japanese or South Korean or Chinese or VietNamese, they eat more vegetable, fresh food like: fish, crab, tako for their meal, and then they didn't make these poison keep their body.
Organic Food, try this keyword in your life - Cheaper and Healthier!