Asian food stands out due to the mix of cultures and countries they come from. They are also proven to be healthy by their traditional cooking methods and ingredients used. You may have freaked out over some weird, authentic Asian ingredients before, but did you know that they have nutritional benefits? These are 7 common Asian ingredients that you might not know as healthy. 

1. Durian

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If you’ve ever been near this fruit, you can’t miss the unmistakable smell. Often named “the king of fruits” in Asia, this spiky fruit is a “love it or hate it” kinda food. This potent-smelling fruit contains high levels of fiber, which can help your digestive system. Durians can lower your blood pressure as well since it contains potassium. 

2. Century Eggs

Don’t feel intimidated by these ghastly-looking eggs. They’re actually regular eggs typically preserved in a mixture of alkaline clay and salt for a couple of weeks or months to end. Century eggs have a higher protein value compared to regular eggs. They’re also high in sodium to increase your level of saltiness. You can find them in Chinese dishes (mostly in congee) since they have been a staple ingredient in the Chinese cuisine for centuries before.

3. Tempeh

Vegans rejoice! If you don’t know about tempeh, this staple meat replacement is made from fermented soybeans. Though people might recognize tofu as the king in the world of soy, tempeh is a healthier option than tofu. Originating from Indonesia, tempeh contains a higher level of protein and fiber than tofu. If you’re ever looking to amp up your recipe, try adding this nutty alternative.

4. Wasabi

I bet you’ve seen this green, spicy paste while you have sushi. Wasabi paste comes from a rare plant that grows on the river bends in Japan. Commonly known as Japanese horseradish, this condiment gives a kick to our tongues and is typically served with sushi. This is because of the presence of allyl isothiocyanate, a chemical in the plant that gives off its pungent taste. It may be hard to swallow, but it’s filled with anticancer properties and has anti-inflammatory properties that can treat arthritis. It’s high in fiber, too, if you ever need more of it.

5. Chilli

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Chillies have been proven through multiple studies over the years that chili can increase your metabolism by increasing your body temperature after eating it. This will eventually lead to your body burning more fat. Additionally, chilli peppers contain seven times the level of Vitamin C than an orange. Talk about running to the market to get some right now.

6. Edamame

Another one from the soybean family, edamame is commonly found in Japanese cuisine and historically hails from the land of the rising sun. These green peas are usually boiled before consumption because they’re toxic when eaten raw. Pop these into your mouth ‘cos they have low levels of fat and sugar. Plus, edamame is packed with antioxidants that help maintain healthy skin and a more resistant immune system.

7. Rice Noodles

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This is for you noodle lovers. Rice noodles are gluten-free, making it the perfect choice for those with celiac disease. It also contains zinc, an essential nutrient that stabilizes your immune system. Another important nutrient in rice noodles is phosphorus, which keeps your bones strong. You can find rice noodles in the Vietnamese soup called pho or in the Thai dish pad thai. 

Next time you eat from the red and white takeout boxes, be sure to look for these healthy ingredients.