Nutritional Considerations

 

The standard Macrobiotic Dietary Recommendations, focused on a well-balanced diet of whole cereal grains, beans, fresh vegetables, etc., provides all the nutritional essentials needed. In practice, the nutritional standards most often used in the United States are the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA), published by the National Academy of Sciences, while internationally, the recommendations put forth by the Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) are used.

 

It is a common misperception that predominantly vegetarian diets such as the Standard Macrobiotic Diet are deficient in protein. This view arises from the belief that animal foods are synonymous with protein in the diet. This misperception is further enhanced by the fact that Americans often consume amounts of protein that are more than twice the RDA for protein. An analysis of protein intake of the Standard Macrobiotic Diet demonstrates that protein deficiency is not a problem.

 

  Protein

Sources of protein include whole cereal grains, beans and bean products, nuts and seeds, and assorted vegetables. The Standard Macrobiotic Diet contains all of the essential amino acids; miso and tamari soy sauce are particularly rich in these essential nutrients.

 

Protein content in some vegetable foods 

(per 100 grams, unit gram)

 

Whole Cereal Grains

Brown Rice, various types

Wheat, various types

Oats

Millet, various types  


7.47.5

9.414.0

13.0

9.912.7

 

Beans

Aduki beans

Soybeans (miso, tamari soy sauce, etc.)

Kidney beans


21.5

34.134.3

20.2  

 

  Vitamins

Composition of the Standard Macrobiotic Diet provides plentiful amounts of all necessary vitamins. Some sources of these vitamins include the following:

 

Vitamin A: green leafy vegetables (kale, watercress, parsley, dandelion greens, broccoli, etc.), carrots

 

Vitamin B1: sea vegetables (kelp), almonds, soybeans and their products, brown rice, lentils, and other beans

 

Vitamin B2: Sunflower seeds, soybeans and their products, pinto beans, millet, wheat, rye, sesame seeds, lentils

 

Vitamin B12: Fermented foods such as miso paste, tamari soy sauce, tempeh, natto, and sea vegetables

 

Vitamin C: Green leafy vegetables (broccoli, watercress, collard greens, carrot tops, kale, etc.), caulifower, cabbage, bancha twig tea

 

Vitamin D: dried fish, fresh vegetables; sunlight is the best source of this vitamin

 

Vitamin E: brown rice and all whole cereal grains, nuts, beans, green leafy vegetables

 

Vitamin F: Vegetable oils, including sesame and olive oils

 

Vitamin K: Green leafy vegetables (cabbage, parsley, collard greens, etc.), brown rice; also produced by the intestinal flora

 

  Minerals

One common reason for the misconception that mineral intake may be a problem on the macrobiotic diet stems from the belief that dietary calcium must come from dairy food. This belief is largely a cultural phenomenon, unique to the United States and a few other industrialized countries. With few exceptions throughout the rest of the world, dairy food is rarely consumed in the quantities thought necessary by most Americans.

 

The Standard Macrobiotic Diet includes several abundant sources of calcium, including green leafy vegetables, beans and nuts, as well as mineral-rich sea vegetables. Some common minerals and their sources include

 

Calcium: green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, sea vegetables, nuts, sunflower seeds, tofu

 

Magnesium: sea vegetables, soybeans and their products, lentils, green leafy vegetables (watercress, dandelion, cabbage)

 

Phosphorus: whole cereal grains, sea vegetables, nuts, beans, bancha twig tea

 

Potassium: sea vegetables, soybeans and their products, dried fruits, nuts, vegetables (kale, turnip, cabbage, cauliflower)

 

Iron: sea vegetables, sesame seeds, beans, brown rice, green vegetables (parsley, kale, dandelion greens, etc.); the use of cast iron cookware.

 

Iodine: sea vegetables, green leafy vegetables

 

Sodium: sea vegetables, green leafy vegetables (daikon leaves, Swiss chard, etc.), dried fruits, celery, sea salt, miso, tamari soy sauce

 

  Fats and Oils

The macrobiotic diet contains unsaturated vegetable oils, used in small quantities from time to time, and minimizes fats from animal sources other than those found naturally in the occasional side dish of fish. Whole cereal grains provide small amounts of the best quality vegetable oils; oats have the highest amount of fat. Small amounts of oil are found in almost all vegetables. Only a small volume of fat is needed, and any vegetable oils should be used sparingly.