Why The Lifespan Of A Chinese Is One Of The Longest

If you have travelled a lot in Asia, around the world and have gravitated in different communities, like me, you have probably noticed that the Chinese age more beautifully. What is their secret?

Is it the consistent practice of Tai Chi, dancing in the parks?

Is it their life style with more meditation?

All these options are correct. But one significant reason is missing in that list. Yes you have guessed well…….their diet!

The U China Travel team is happy to share with you, right now, the features and benefits of this diet and make you keen on exploring much deeper when you travel with us.

Western eating habits have been picking away at long-held Chinese principles of balance and harmony in the kitchen, and it’s time we all—Chinese and otherwise—took a look at what the traditional Chinese diet has to offer.

Indeed, that Chinese “fast food” and China’s shift into unhealthy eating habits on the availability of western foods, particularly in cities, breaks almost every rule of the traditional Chinese diet, which is actually one of the healthiest in the world.


Chinese Medicine Philosophy

Chinese culture is based on the philosophy of “yin” and “yang”, as well as the “Five Elements.” From medicine and martial arts to dance and cooking, Chinese culture is built on a foundation of balance, harmony, contrast, and adapting to change.

Part of that balance figures into food. Each organ is tied to an element and a taste. For example, bitter is tied to the heart and fire. (Also, sweet: spleen/earth, sour: liver/wood, spicy: lungs/metal, salty: kidneys/water.) In building a healthy meal, all five of these tastes should be incorporated. That is said to keep the body in balance, which in turn protects it from disease.


How to Keep to the Traditional Chinese Diet

Green Tea U China Travel
Green tea

1. Drink green tea

Green tea helps to hold off hunger, aid digestion, and fight free radicals, which cause heart disease and cancer. In China, it’s customary to leave the same leaves in a pot and simply add water when a person wants a second or third cup. That way, they take in less theine than they would from several tea bags used one after another, and avoid chemicals involved in tea bag production.

2. Give up diary

Dairy is designed for infants, and ours is the only species that continues to drink milk into adulthood. Instead of relying on dairy for calcium, get it from green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, and fermented soy curds made with calcium.

3. Choose white rice, not brown

Brown rice is white rice with a hull around it, but the nutrients in that hull have poor bioavailability. That means our bodies use up energy breaking them down. That said, the Chinese diet values moderation and balance. Instead of having white rice at all times, try to rotate between all the available grains.


4. Don’t count calories

Chinese medicine sees food as nourishment, not potential body fat. Instead of counting calories, the Chinese diet simply aims to include healthy foods. For example, an avocado may have more than 200 more calories than a diet soda. But no one is about to argue that the diet soda is better for you than the avocado! Stop thinking about math, and start thinking about nutrition.


5. Eat red meat in moderation

According to Chinese medicine, it’s a mistake to have too much red meat, and not everyone can do without it. Instead of giving up red meat altogether, the Chinese diet advises two ounces twice a week. But some Chinese still say that people should be vegetarian because only the vegetables can convey the energy from the sun into the body.


6. Bring balance to your dishes

According to Chinese medicine, meals should always balance ingredients that are yin (wet and moist) and yang (dry and crisp). Yin foods cool the body, and yang foods heat it up. Another way to think of it is this: yin foods are usually carbohydrates, and yang foods are usually proteins. By cooking a dish that includes both of these (e.g., grain noodles with mung beans), the combination of proteins and carbohydrates can help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin—keys to metabolic health.


7. Eat slowly, and stop when you feel full

This might be the hardest part of the Chinese diet, but it’s certainly one of the most important. A major problem with western diets today is the way we have tied eating to guilt. Instead of eating three good meals a day, we might skip breakfast and then give in to a pastry by 10am. We might eat vegetables all week, then binge on potato chips all weekend. The way many of us see food is in extremes, bouncing from hunger to excess every few hours.

The solution, according to the Chinese diet, is to never skip meals. To eat three complete, healthy meals every day, and to eat until you feel that you are almost full. Of course, there’s a caveat: you have to eat slowly. It takes the brain some time to signal that you feel full, so it’s very easy to overeat without realizing it if you’re in a rush. Sit down, take your time, and appreciate your meals until you know it’s time to stop.


8. Serve soup at every meal

Western foods are quite dry, and we make up for it by drinking plenty of water during and between meals. The Chinese diet takes a different approach. Their meals almost always include a soup-based dish, which helps to fill the stomach and control the appetite. If you can get a fermented soup (such as miso), it is even better! Fermented soups are probiotics, which help to release nutrients from the foods you take in and last but not least, it champions your gut that will thank you! 


Beef noodle soup
Beef noodle soup
Seafood soup with papaya


9. Rethink your “mains” and “sides”

In the US, meat is a main dish and vegetables are side dishes. But in China, vegetables are viewed as main courses. When you’re preparing a plate for dinner, try to think about what you’re paying the most attention to. Instead of a plate that is two-thirds meat and one-third vegetables, aim for a plate that is two-thirds vegetables and one-third meat. At the very least, half your meal should consist of vegetables.

Flat rice noodles with beef
Beef noodles
Stir fried flat noodles


10. Learn about Chinese medicine

There’s no substitute for a doctor when you’re actually ill, but under most circumstances we can all benefit from learning how natural vegetables, herbs, and spices can keep us healthy. For example, chilies can promote digestion and ginger eases nausea. Whether you believe in these cures or not, at the end of the day it’s just one more reason to make sure you take in plenty of healthy, natural foods.

The key to the Chinese diet is natural ingredients and balance.

Every time you buy and make something, focus on the unrefined, all-natural version. When you make something starchy, consider adding legumes. The next time you want a snack, boil a cup of green tea. Pile your plate with vegetables, and drink a cup of soup on the side. Strive for balance, whatever that means for you.

Now the Traditional Chinese diet is no longer a secret for you!

By traveling with U China Travel, you will have plenty of opportunities to witness and taste that healthy diet. And maybe when you come back home, you will keep in mind that natural ingredients, balance make you healthier and you might have a strong willingness to continue it….

After all, traveling is experiencing and some travels can be more inspiring than other ones….

And this is exactly what U China Travel strives to trigger in each of its guest by giving multiple occasions to explore, share, experience and bring back home long life memories….

20 China Travel Tips (CNN TRAVEL)

Thank you for reading the U China Travel Blog!

Radiant Greens At MuTianYu Great Wall

Recently CNN TRAVEL – a branch of the famous global news network – released an article that pertains specifically to China Travel. The article, published last month and titled “20 China Travel Tips,” encourages foreigners to not be intimidated when travelling China.

Well that is certainly the case when you travel China with U China Travel. We specialize in taking the hassle and question marks, the ones that often accompany an uninitiated trip to China, out of the equation. Our goal is to let you experience the BEST China has to offer – on your own terms!

With that being said, we have decided to highlight a few of the best pieces of advice from the CNN article.

6. Order rice the right way

Rice is rarely served during a meal in Chinese restaurants, being seen as a cheap way to fill up at the end if needed.


Anyone wanting rice with his or her meal should make it clear to the waiter by saying: mifan (rice) mashang(straight away).

7. Toilet paper reminder

Toilet tissue is rarely found in public restrooms in China. Carry your own supplies.

9. Don’t worry — it’s safe

China is nowhere near as terrifying as many guidebooks would have you believe.

Yes, the traffic is chaotic and the air could be better — much better — but China is one of the safest countries in the world for female travelers, solo travelers and families.

12. Don’t be fooled by loud voices

Chinese people like to converse very loudly and passionately at times, and it can be easy to mistake this for an argument.

Listening in to a heated discussion in Shanghai between a taxi driver and a Chinese friend I thought they were about to come to blows.

“No,” they told me. “We were just talking together about how devastating the Sichuan earthquake was.”

15. Get a backstreet breakfast


In order to get some local color on business trips that will otherwise be spent inside taxis and boardrooms, “take to the backstreets behind your hotel for an early breakfast of dumplings or noodles and watch the area wake up while you eat,” suggests Australian business traveler Matthew Tobin.

Additional Information:

Above are, what we believe to be, the five most useful pieces of advice from the full article. It is important to again emphasize number 9 and number 12.

In the United States, it is hard to believe how many people are concerned about traveling to China because they are worried about the safety. With basically no citizens owning guns and an extremely low rate of violent crime (especially against foreigners), China is indeed one of the safer places in the world to travel.

Number 12 should be particularly funny for anyone who has ever previously visited China. Mandarin (as well as other Chinese dialects) can sound very harsh to those who are not familiar with it. Some of the sounds are completely different from the sounds that we are accustomed to in the US. When you feel as if conversation is getting heated between two Chinese people – there is no need to intervene, as they may just be discussing the day’s weather!

Click here to read the full article from CNN Travel

Click here to start booking your personalized trip to China today!