The Health Benefits of Chinese Food

Learn about the health benefits of Chinese ingredients like ginger, garlic, tofu and sesame seeds.

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Ginger has a long tradition of use in Eastern medicine; it's long been used to soothe nausea and enhance appetite. Newer research has showed that ginger may calm morning sickness and quell pain associated with osteoarthritis.


Pungent garlic has been used in folk medicine to soothe respiratory ailments. It has a number of demonstrated health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and risk of atherosclerosis and certain cancers, plus it has antifungal properties.

Sesame Seeds

Tiny though they are, sesame seeds are bursting with minerals, including copper, manganese, calcium and iron, as well as a healthy dose of fiber. Sesame chicken gets an update from the Food Network Kitchens in this Sesame Chicken with Snow Peas.


Mushrooms give a satisfying umami flavor to foods and make a great replacement for some or all of the meat in some dishes, helping you to cut calories and preserve flavor. Shiitake mushrooms are a good source of energy-producing B vitamins and copper and immune-supporting selenium.


Tofu is a great way to get vegetarian protein in your diet. It's also an excellent source of bone-building managanese and calcium (look for calcium-set tofu—the kind usually packed in water—for the highest calcium levels).

Bok Choy

This member of the cabbage family is high in immunity-boosting vitamins A and C. Try it in Food Network Kitchen's Spicy Steamed Baby Bok Choy.

Chinese 5-Spice Powder

Chinese 5 spice contains spices that have been used to fight infection (star anise), lower blood glucose (cinnamon), soothe upset stomach (fennel seed and cinnamon).

Steamed Fish

Steaming fish is one of the healthiest ways to eat fish—it adds no extra fat and also keeps fish moist. It’s a great way to get a lean, healthy protein on your plate. Try this Asian Steamed Fish Asian Steamed Fish from Food Network Magazine.