Delicious and nutritious, Vietnamese cuisine has been called “one of the world’s healthiest cuisines.” We consulted Antoine Yvon, the chief nutritionist at CMI hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, to find out whether or not Vietnamese cuisine is nutritious. You’ll find out whether or not banh mi sandwiches are healthy, whether or not you should consume the broth from your pho, or the name of Vietnam’s lone super fruit.
As a whole, Vietnamese cuisine is considered to be among the world’s healthiest. Professionally, I’ve seen that the wide variety of agricultural goods available in Vietnam allows for a wide variety of cuisines and components that satisfy all of the nutritional requirements for protein, lipids, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. Such variation and contrast are the bedrock of a well-rounded and healthy lifestyle.
The way food is eaten can also have a significant impact on its nutritional content. By utilizing chopsticks, eating from numerous plates, and socializing over a meal, you are more likely to eat more slowly, chew your food thoroughly, and absorb its nutrients. As a result, the cultural and social aspects of consuming Vietnamese food contribute to its health benefits.
As long as we stick to the classics, Vietnamese food deserves its reputation for being a healthy option. The introduction of Western eating habits and foods has had a profound impact on the Vietnamese diet as a result of the country’s rapid economic development.
The modern Vietnamese diet deviates from the above ideals due to the prevalence of processed products, including all dairy products, which were unheard of a few decades ago (pasteurized cheese, sweetened condensed milk, flavored yogurts), and all junk food, which is enriched with artificial nutrients, artificial flavourings, rich “bad fat” (trans fat and saturated fat are not essential), and simple carbohydrates (cakes, pastries, ice creams, sodas, fast food).
Vietnam has one of the world’s lowest obesity rates when we look at the entire population, but the results are less promising when we focus on children and adolescents. Whereas the percentage of overweight American children under the age of five has declined by 25% over the past four years, the opposite is true in Vietnam, where the percentage of overweight children under the age of five has doubled.
When it comes to your health, which Vietnamese dishes should you avoid and which should you embrace?
There is no need to restrict your diet so long as you stick to conventional fare. All you have to do is limit your intake of processed foods as much as you can. Stay away from anything that has been deep-fried or barbecued.
Increases in childhood obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease are all attributable to the lifestyle shifts discussed above. Men’s rising alcohol use is also linked to a rise in malignancies of the liver and gastrointestinal tract.
The “gac” fruit (or red melon), also called the “fruit of paradise,” has the greatest carotenoid concentration of any fruit in the world but is rarely consumed outside of traditional celebrations (a precursor to Vitamin A). Antioxidant lycopene is present in the gac at a concentration 75 times higher than in tomatoes. You may call it a super fruit. There’s a similarity in flavor to both red melon & carrots. Using it as a nutritional supplement is becoming increasingly common in the United States and Europe.
Tell me about the best fresh fruits and vegetables available in your area. (Kumquat, dragon fruit, sapoche, etc.)
If eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away, what proverb or saying does Southeast Asia have to offer? Vegetables are a staple in Vietnamese cooking, but the average person still only eats around half as many as the World Health Organization recommends. Forty percent of cancer cases in Vietnam can be traced back to poor dietary habits (principally because of processed food, bad eating habits, and bad eating hygiene).
It’s undeniable that the world would be a better place if more people consumed fresh produce. Due to rising concerns about food safety, customers are increasingly opting to buy canned items despite their poorer quality and nutritional value. Vegetables and fruits are essential parts of a healthy diet, but it’s more important to eat a wide variety of these foods on a daily basis than to obsess over the benefits of any individual item. Based on their nutrient density, we may classify them as:
Many Vietnamese eateries feature durian, a fruit better known for its scent than its taste. In this part of the world, this particular fruit takes on the title of “king fruit.” The Indonesians believe it has aphrodisiac properties. The annual death toll in Vietnam is in the dozens (the mix of alcohol and durian is toxic for the liver and excessive consumption can cause hypertension). As a result, many Vietnamese people don’t put much thought into their diets.
Vietnamese condiments, sauces, pho, banh mi, herbs, and other street eats. Shall we stay away from Vietnamese condiments?
To truly enjoy Vietnamese cuisine, you must try the various sauces that accompany the dishes. In France, a supper without sauces is like a breakfast without toast. Avoid making that mistake. Extremely sweet or salty sauces should not be forbidden in their entirety. In moderate amounts, they make up a relatively small portion of the diet compared to starchy foods like rice. Just stick to the tried-and-true methods!
Pho, the undisputed king of Vietnamese cuisine, is one of the most well-rounded meals I’ve ever had. Consumed throughout the day, it is rich in carbohydrates, quality proteins (beef or chicken), minimal fats, plenty of water, a wealth of dietary fibres, vitamins, minerals (herbs or vegetables), and protective antioxidants (spices, chili, lemon).
For added harmony, serve raw vegetable salad drizzled with vegetable oil as an appetizer and fruit salad as dessert. Try including some dry fruits like nutmeg, peanuts, or almonds. Many water-soluble minerals and vitamins are also dissolved in the cooking water and hence should be consumed through drinking the broth. Except for the slightly changed B1, B3, and C vitamins, all of the nutritious elements that make up the broth are present and accounted for.
The pho’s broth is just as crucial as the rest of the ingredients. Since it contains water, the body is able to stay hydrated and cool while drinking it (just like nomads in the desert drink hot tea: a hot brew cools and hydrates the body better than cold water). When exposed to hot liquids, the body initiates a series of cooling mechanisms (perspiration, transpiration, more efficient digestion, etc.).
Some of the ways in which they help the body include as a diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and contain phytosterols, which, if ingested in large enough quantities, may help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Excellent for boosting one’s heart health.
In comparison to other substances, however, the recommended daily allowance for this one is quite low. Though three bowls of parsley would provide the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, the vegetable contains three times as much as oranges. That’s not going to be easy! Even so, if you consume herbs throughout the day with each meal, you will meet some of your daily nutritional requirements.
Treat them like the aromatic plants that they are. They have the potential to elevate the flavor and appeal of your cuisine. It’s a plus that it’s good for you. The cinnamon plant has medicinal properties, including its use as a diuretic and anti-inflammatory. Similarly to how coriander aids digestion, mint can help with queasiness.
A plate of goi cuon, which is loaded with vegetables and herbs, is a tasty and nutritious appetizer option. Wrapped in rice paper, this dish features a variety of vegetables, noodles, and seafood. Fried fresh spring rolls are low in oil and fat but big on taste. To avoid getting burned, it’s important to remember that cha gio and nem ran (deep fried rolls) are not the same as fresh spring rolls.
Goi cuon is served with a side of fish sauce and peanut sauce. The peanut sauce is made of peanut paste & coconut oil, whereas the fish sauce is quite mild and watery. The dish is enhanced by the addition of fish sauce.
The goi tom is the unwrapped counterpart to the goi cuon. It’s a shrimp salad that’s loaded with all sorts of nutritious veggies like cabbage, cucumber, daikon, or even jalapenos. As a condiment, this is commonly ordered alongside a plate of sticky rice.
Soups made with noodles tend to have a positive reputation among dieters. To kickstart your day, try a bowl of pho, a Vietnamese soup consisting of clear broth flavored with beef, noodles, and herbs. Pho is a healthy and filling alternative to fast food. Various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can be found in abundance. Asking for less meat is a foolproof technique to cut down on the amount of fat in your meal. Here’s a hint: “less noodles, more vegetables” is written “t bn, nhiu rau.”
In Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and other neighbouring countries, residents have developed a wide variety of ingenious techniques for making the most of limited resources. Bananas are used in a wide variety of dishes not only for their sweet fruit, but also for the big flower pods that are harvested at the same time.
In fact, banana blossoms have become somewhat of a foodie craze because they are frequently used as a “meat alternative” by vegans. However, they lack many of the vitamins found in meat, making them a poor nutritious alternative. However, their amino acid profile is generally balanced, making them a suitable plant-based protein option.
However, banana blossoms add a toothsome texture or a seemingly neutral flavor to foods. They are not only a beautiful shade of purple but also nutritious additions to the dish. High in Fibre (which is metabolized into helpful short-chain fatty acids and lowers the insulin and glucose responses to meals);
- Calorie-wise modest (23 per 100g, mostly from carbs but also some protein ());
- High in Antioxidants (including potential therapeutic flavonoids ()(PDF Study Link*) that reduce inflammation);
- Extremely rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, or even trace amounts of plant-based iron, copper, and calcium (*).
Banana blossoms can be purchased from a number of different places, including online retailers like Amazon and eBay, as well as grocery stores in Southeast Asia and other countries where bananas are grown (like Vietnam).
Preserved in brine, banana blossoms are one of the easiest options to purchase. Order enough of Chef’s Choice Banana Blossoms from the Amazon link below. Without sulfites or other artificial preservatives, this is a top pick in the industry. Travelers, holidaymakers, expatriates, locals, and visitors to Vietnam can probably score the new stuff without too much trouble.
What exactly makes Vietnamese cuisine so good for you?
Vietnamese food is really healthy. The obesity rate in Vietnam is one of the lowest in the world. The majority of Vietnamese cuisines use protein marinated in low-caloric condiments including lemongrass, fish sauce, or garlic.
Which Vietnamese dishes have the fewest calories?
Listed here are the ten healthiest Vietnamese dishes.
Fresh Spring Rolls (or Goi Cuon)…
- “Goi Tom” Shrimp Salad…
- Noodle soup, or pho, is a dish that has become increasingly popular in recent years.
- Vietnamese Congee (or Rice Porridge) is called Chao Ga.
- A salad made of lotus roots, known as Goi Ngo Sen.
- A bowl of Gao Lut (Brown Rice)…
- Clay-pot dishes, or Kho To.
- This is Canh Chua (Vietnamese Sour Soup)
What role does food play in Vietnamese society?
Food has an integral role in Vietnamese religion, celebrations, and the pursuit of personal harmony, doing cooking and eating an integral aspects of daily life. One of the healthiest cuisines, Vietnamese food is known for its harmony of textures, flavors, and presentation.
How much food does Vietnam throw away every year?
Currently, Vietnam is second in Asia and the Pacific in terms of food waste, with over 8,000,000 tonnes of food being wasted annually despite being edible, resulting in losses of US$3.9 billion annually, or about 2% of the country’s current GDP.
The sweetness of Vietnamese cuisine begs the question: why?
Greater amounts of sugar are added to foods in this region. The frequent usage of coconut milk in southern Vietnamese cuisine is another indication of a penchant for sweetness in that region. Due to the region’s extensive coastline, seafood has long been a major diet item.