One of the most well-liked foods in the world is Vietnamese, but is it also healthy? The answer is not easy as depending on how it is made and eaten, Vietnamese food can have both healthy and unhealthy for your health.
The nutrition features of Vietnamese food, including its ingredients, cooking methods, and cultural influences, will be discussed in this article—
In addition, we’ll look at some of the typical health issues linked to Vietnamese food-
like high blood pressure, diabetes, and food poisoning.
Finally, we’ll offer some advice on how to eat Vietnamese food healthfully without sacrificing its mouthwatering flavors.
Is Vietnamese Food Really Healthy?
Vietnamese food is healthy since it makes use of natural products, herbs, and condiments with few calories and little oil. Also, it has a healthy balance of protein, veggies, and carbohydrates that can help control blood sugar, increase energy levels, and fend off chronic diseases.
Healthy Vietnamese Foods To Try Out
1. Vietnamese Caramelized & Braised Fish
Fish filets are coated in a blend of fish sauce, sugar, garlic, shallots, and black pepper before being braised
in a caramelized sauce comprised of coconut water, fish sauce, sugar, and oyster paste. Vietnamese Caramel & Braised Fish is a delectable Vietnamese food. Steamed rice, fresh herbs, and the dish are typically cooked and served in a clay pot.
It is a typical example of a dish called “kho” in Vietnamese, which involves simmering meat, fish, or fowl in a savory sauce over low heat until it is tender and tasty. The meal boasts a harmony of flavors that is typical of Vietnamese food, including umami, sugar, and salt.
2. Crispy And Tasty Vietnamese Egg Rolls
Vietnamese egg rolls, known as crispy and tasty Vietnamese egg rolls, are a common starter or snack that is prepared with ground pork, shrimp, wood ear mushrooms, carrot, taro, onion, and seasonings. The rolls are then deep-fried till golden and crunchy.
They are usually served with a sweet and tangy dipping sauce called ”Nuoc cham” which is made with fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, water, garlic, and chili. For a refreshing counter, serve them with lettuce, mint leaves, cilantro, and cucumber.
Additionally, they contain a filling that is more flavorful, sophisticated, and representative of Vietnamese food.
3. Ever Vietnamese Beef Stew
Ever Vietnamese Beef Stew is a hearty and flavorful dish that consists of beef chuck, carrots, and aromatics braised in a tomato-based broth seasoned with fish sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, star anise, cinnamon, and chili.
To improve the flavor and tenderness of the meat, it is marinated with some spices and fish sauce. The stew is prepared slowly over low heat until the beef is tender to the fork and the stock is flavorful.
If needed, the stew can be thickened with cornstarch or annatto powder.
Rice noodles or crusty bread are typically served with stew to sop up the flavorful broth.
Scallions, cilantro, mint, and basil can also be used as a garnish to add a fragrant and fresh touch.
On a cold day, the stew makes for a warm and filling lunch.
4. Vietnamese Sweet And Sour Soup
Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Soup is a traditional dish that originates from the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam. The soup offers an equilibrium of Vietnamese cuisine’s sweet, sour, and spicy flavors. The pineapple and tomatoes offer sweetness and acidity, while the fish adds protein and richness.
While vegetables like elephant ear stalks, okra, or celery contribute texture and fiber, bean sprouts and herbs add freshness and crunch.
As a main course or side dish, the soup is typically served with steamed rice or rice noodles. Additionally, a crisp baguette can be used to eat it and dip it into the soup. The soup is perfect for a light and refreshing meal on a hot day.
5. Vietnamese Pickled Carrots And Daikon
Vietnamese Pickled Carrots and Daikon are simple and delicious condiment that adds crunch, tang, and sweetness to many Vietnamese dishes.
The pickles can be eaten right away but they may be kept cold for a few days to develop more taste and texture. In a sealed box, they can last for up to a month.
Vietnamese sandwiches, savory crepes, grilled pork and noodles, egg rolls, and other dishes frequently have pickles as a topping. it provides a cool counterpoint to the savory and rich tastes of these recipes. It can also be consumed on its own as a snack or side dish.
6. Tasty Vietnamese Chicken Salad
Tasty Vietnamese Chicken Salad is a light and colorful salad made out of shredded chicken, cabbage, carrots, onions, herbs, and roasted peanuts that have all been mixed together with a sweet and sour fish sauce dressing.
On your preference, you can cook the chicken at boiling point, poaching, or roasting. The vegetable can be white, purple, or a combination of the two colors for added color. The herbs, which give the salad freshness and flavor, can include mint, cilantro, and Vietnamese coriander. It salad gains crunch and nuttiness from the roasted peanuts and fried shallots.
The dressing has a harmony of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors and is made using fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, vinegar, water, garlic, and chile. Drizzled over the salad, the dressing is thoroughly incorporated to cover each component. The salad can be used as a side dish or a light supper. Additionally, rice crackers and rice paper rolls go well with it.
What makes Vietnamese food healthy or unhealthy?
Vietnamese food is generally considered healthy because it uses fresh ingredients, low-calorie condiments and herbs, and minimal oil.
It also has a balanced proportion of protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates, which can help regulate blood sugar, boost energy levels, and prevent chronic diseases.
Some of the health benefits of Vietnamese food include:
- Ginger may reduce inflammation and pain by containing gingerol, a compound with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
- Bone broth may promote joint health by providing glucosamine, chondroitin, and collagen.
- Herbs and vegetables may provide various nutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds, such as vitamin C, folate, biotin, zinc, magnesium, and polyphenols
- Meat, fish, or tofu may provide a good source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues and maintaining various bodily functions.
However, Vietnamese food can also be unhealthy if it contains too much sodium, sugar, fat, or additives. Some of the health risks of Vietnamese food include:-
- Because of its high salt content, fish sauce may raise blood pressure and cause fluid retention.
- Desserts including coconut milk and oil, which are heavy in saturated fat and calories, may affect blood sugar management and weight gain.
- MSG, a frequent addition to Vietnamese cooking, may induce headaches, nausea, or allergic reactions in some people.
- Excessive or illegal use of pesticides, antibiotics, or chemical fertilizers in agricultural operations may taint some foods.
Vietnamese Food Benefits: How to Enjoy This Cuisine in a Healthy Way
The answer is not so simple, because Vietnamese food can have both health benefits and hazards depending on how it is prepared and consumed.
It offers a variety of dishes that are rich in nutrients, low in sugar, and balanced in flavors. Here are some of the benefits of enjoying Vietnamese food in a healthy way:–
Vietnamese food is made using fresh ingredients that are purchased every day or every two days. Frozen food is used sparingly since Vietnamese chefs prefer to use fresh produce, meats, and seafood. This guarantees that the food is nutrient-dense while retaining its unique flavors.
A typical Vietnamese lunch will include an abundance of veggies, which are typically stir-fried, steamed, or served in soups. In moderation, protein foods such as meat, chicken, fish, tofu, or beans are also incorporated. Carbohydrates in Vietnamese cuisine are primarily derived from rice or sweet potato, which are considered healthier alternatives to carbs derived from wheat flour. It is important to use fat sparingly, either from cooking oils or from natural sources such as nuts and seeds.
In Vietnamese food, the ideal flavor harmony is everything. Bitter, sweet, sour, spiciness and other flavors are all present in Vietnamese cuisine. This flavor combination offers a well-rounded eating experience in addition to tantalizing the taste buds. Without the need for excessive added sugars, the sweetness can be enhanced by using natural sweeteners like fruit, honey, or palm sugar.
Vietnamese food relies heavily on herbs for their tastes and digestive advantages. Fresh herbs like basil, cilantro, mint, and lemongrass give dishes flavor and vibrancy. These herbs have health advantages including calming the stomach and promoting digestion.
Vietnamese food is well-known for its creative use of aromatic spices, which not only add flavor but also provide several health advantages. Spices like turmeric, chile, garlic, lemongrass, onion, and cinnamon are frequently used in Vietnamese food. These spices have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial characteristics that can help boost the immune system, improve digestion, and lower the risk of chronic diseases.
Vietnamese food is full of vitamins and minerals that have been shown to aid increase energy levels, such as vitamins C, B1, B6, B3, folate, zinc, copper, magnesium, and potassium.
Therefore, the healthiness of Vietnamese food depends on how it is prepared and consumed. To enjoy healthily, To enjoy Vietnamese food in a healthy way, you can follow these tips:
- Choose lean meats or fish over fatty meats or fried foods.
- Limit your intake of fish sauce, coconut milk or oil, and desserts.
- Avoid foods that contain MSG or other artificial ingredients.
- Opt for organic or locally sourced foods when possible.
- Balance your portions of rice, noodles, meat, vegetables, and herbs.
Nutrition and Fasting in Vietnamese Culture
Nutrition and fasting are important aspects of Vietnamese culture that reflect the beliefs, values, and practices of its people. The traditional Vietnamese diet is healthy and balanced, consisting of rice, vegetables, fish, and meat. The diet is influenced by the yin/yang theory of food, which classifies foods as either hot or cold according to their effects on the body. For example, ginger, garlic, and chili are considered hot foods, while cucumber, watermelon, and mint are considered cold foods.A balanced diet should include both types of foods to maintain harmony and health.
Fasting is most often used in Vietnamese culture when people are sick or want to cleanse their bodies and mind. Fasting can involve abstaining from certain foods or all foods for a while. Some people fast for religious reasons, such as during Buddhist festivals or Ramadan for Muslims. Fasting is believed to help heal the body, purify the soul, and enhance spiritual awareness.
However, nutrition and fasting in Vietnamese culture have changed over time due to urbanization and globalization. Many Vietnamese in America have adopted a more Westernized diet, which may increase their risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. They may also fast less frequently or for different reasons than their ancestors.
Therefore, it is important to preserve and promote the traditional Vietnamese diet and fasting practices as a way of honoring their culture and improving their health.