So many of us are looking for the best diet or supplements that will help us lose weight and feel better. Studies show time and again that the best way to be healthy is to eat whole foods and be active. If you need inspiration for how to prepare healthier meals, looking to the cuisines of other countries can help. Here are 7 healthy eating habits from around the world.
1. The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet, which represents the eating habits of Greece, Italy, Spain, and Southern France, has been in the news for a long time and for good reason. This style of eating emphasizes fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, hydration, fish for animal protein rather than red meat, and healthy fats such as olive oil. This diet combined with the relaxed style of eating – people tend to take their time over their meals rather than rushing – can help us make healthier food choices. Portion control is an important consideration, though, because of the high caloric content of some of the fats.
France seems to be a conundrum because the French consume a lot of bread and high-fat cheeses, but they still enjoy better heart health than Americans. Traditionally, we have believed they offset the negative effects of these foods by drinking red wine, but the reality is much more complex. The French tend to be a lot more active than the average American. With an emphasis on public transportation throughout the country, the French tend to walk and bike a lot more than we do. The French also control portions, serving small amounts of delicious, visually appealing foods, and they eat slowly, which causes them to feel satiated on smaller amounts of food.
3. North Africa
North Africa is known for having some of the lowest rates of heart disease and cancer in the world. Similar to the Mediterranean Diet, North African cuisine focuses on vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. They also include pistachios and almonds as well as many heart-healthy spices. Learning to cook traditional North African dishes and using their spice blends is easy and will please almost every palate.
Indian-style cuisine is a favorite in the United States because of its delicious flavor combinations. The spices used in traditional Indian cooking – turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and red pepper – provide myriad health benefits, especially cardiovascular. Make sure to not only choose the cream-based dishes, though, as they can be high in calories.
Japan has one of the world’s highest life expectancies, and Okinawa is considered a “blue zone” where people have some of the greatest longevity in the world. Eating habits in Japan focus on high-fiber vegetables and soups, soy-based foods, and low-sugar, low-fat meals. The Japanese alternate dishes during meals, featuring small portions of a variety of foods. In Okinawa, food is treated as medicine, so dishes include healthy spices such as turmeric and mugwort.
6. South Korea
In South Korea, the average life-expectancy is 83.35 years and has been steadily increasing for more than a decade. The South Korean diet features home-cooked food and an emphasis on vegetables, legumes, and fish. Most of us have heard of kimchi, but that is only one of the many fermented foods South Koreans consume at nearly every meal. Fermented foods help us maintain healthy gut bacteria, which has a lot of influence on our overall health.
7. The United States
In the United States, there are a number of healthy-eating movements that we could all emulate. Trying to include 5 colors in every meal, featuring locally grown products, urban farming and gardening, and reducing our intake of processed foods are all ways Americans are trying to eat healthier. Learning about healthy eating and making a commitment to try new, healthy foods are just the first steps in taking better care of ourselves and our families.
One thing all of these eating styles have in common is that people make deliberate choices every day to balance their intake of healthy foods and water and to please their palates while controlling their portions. Making sure to include superfoods in your everyday meals, no matter which style of cuisine you are trying today is one way to follow their lead. Superberries Aroniaberry Products make a healthy, delicious addition to