Whether you are trying to become healthier or wish to avoid chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease, adhering to a healthy diet can be a great first step. We often see ourselves consuming quick and easy food that may not be giving us the nutrition we need to stay fit and healthy.
While countries like Australia may not rank as poorly as the United States or Mexico, when it comes to healthiest cultures we can learn a few things from some of our neighbours and beyond on how to start eating better. We have compiled a list of countries around the world whose diets have been proven to help you live longer, feel stronger, and help you look your best.
Book your next holiday to one of these healthy nations to steal some secrets for living a healthy lifestyle that will allow to you feel great and give you the energy to enjoy the activities you love. Maintaining a good level of health will help minimise the risk for illnesses and injuries during your holidays and comprehensive travel insurance will help cover you for the unexpected events that are out of your control which may require overseas medical treatment.
The Mediterranean Diet has long been touted as one of the world’s healthiest diets. It follows the eating habits of Greece and Southern Italy, and has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and early death.
The diet’s main ingredients are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and olive oil, the last of which may be one of the key health-promoting components. Switch out your vegetable or coconut oil for extra virgin olive oil.
The diet steers away from red meat and instead promotes lean meats such as chicken and fish. Try replacing your current snacks for vegetables and stick to whole grains like quinoa and barley. Try eating more nuts like almonds and pistachios which can help you feel full and provide you with protein, fibre, and potassium.
The diet is great for lowering your risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes and may help you live longer. Popular dishes to try are seafood paella, Tzatziki, Avgolemono, and vegetables with hummus.
Japan has one the world’s longest life expectancies and it may be due to its diet. It is a semi-vegetarian diet low in fat and sugar. It promotes a diet of rice, fish, noodles, soy beans, and vegetables.
Japan is home to more people over 100 years of age than any other nation and has low rates of many common diet related diseases. Small portion sizes keep calorie intake under control and a diet rich in protein and fibre help to keep you feeling full. Green tea is popular and provides beneficial antioxidants along with possibly preventing certain cancers.
The Okinawa Diet is similar to the mainland Japanese diet and is anti-inflammatory while allowing you to maintain or lose weight. It focuses on mindful eating and is rich in yellow, orange, and green vegetables while limiting sugar and grains even more than is practised on the mainland.
South Koreans have managed to avoid becoming obese through a diet consisting of rice, fish, and the traditional side dish known as kimchi. Kimchi consists of fermented vegetables such as cabbage and radishes seasoned with such things as garlic and chilli powder.
South Koreans pride themselves in a high carb, low fat diet. Although they may consume a lot of carbs, they choose ones which are not processed. Try trading your breakfast of bacon and eggs for broiled fish and brown rice and instead of grabbing a donut or biscuit, give kimchi a go. Although kimchi may take a bit of getting used to, it provides you with gut-healthy probiotics, beneficial fibre, and antioxidants.
Another delicious Korean dish is bibimbap which involves mixing rice with a variety of sautéed vegetables and a small portion of meat such as beef, topped with soy sauce.
You don’t necessarily have to live off vegetables and rice to stay fit and healthy. Take a page from the French cookbook and still enjoy your crème brûlée, and croissants. Sometimes it isn’t what you eat but rather how much you are consuming. The French enjoy much smaller portion sizes than you find in other countries and they aren’t into snacking much either.
The French also don’t rush their meals rather they set time aside to really enjoy eating with family or friends. They rarely eat while watching T.V as well. This combination allows them to savour every bite while also allowing their stomaches time to register the food they are consuming which curbs overeating.
You have the freedom to be more flexible with your food choices if you’re like the French and stay active. They tend to walk rather drive, take the stairs as opposed to the elevator, and of course their passion for love surely adds to them staying in shape.
The Nordic Diet is inspired by the cultures of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The diet focuses on consuming high amounts of protein and fibre. Staples of the diet include fish, berries, whole grain cereals, low fat dairy products, root vegetables, and rapeseed oil.
The diet is as good on the local environment as it is for your health, requiring fewer natural resources and creating less pollution to produce meals on your plate. Try herring smørrebrød, skyr, and toast skagen.
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