Healthiest Cuisines Around the World: Did You Know?
20th July 2017
First came diet shakes, then came Atkins, and now the Paleo diet is one of the latest trends to hit dinner tables across the UK. It claims that by returning to our Neanderthal roots and eating a diet without dairy, refined sugar, legumes, and cereal grains, people will see benefits to their health and aid their weight loss.
But is this new trend one that could stand the test of time and prove itself as a way of life?
We've looked at a variety of diets from around the world to determine why the foods eaten in different countries are considered to be healthy, and if there are ways we can incorporate them into our own meal plans. After all, the below have been around for centuries, so is there a reason they're still being eaten today?
Comprising of countries such as Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and Greece, the Mediterranean cuisine widely includes a range of fish, vegetables, olive oil, wholegrain cereals, dairy. A glass of red wine also makes a regular appearance with evening meals.
There is evidence to suggest that this diet could be beneficial to keeping brains healthy and that it may reduce the risk of suffering from conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, strokes, and heart disease.
One of South Korea's dishes, Kimchi, is probiotic and reports suggest these types of foods could aid good digestion in a nutritious way. Other vegetables such as garlic and ginger are also used regularly in cooking, and may help people consume higher levels of nutrients.
Using little fat and steaming food, the South Korean diet focuses on main meals and not on snacking or grazing.
Jollof rice, smoked or dried fish, and yams are among popular dietary choices seen in countries such as Sierra Lione, Mali, and Senegal. These diets are rich in essential omega 3 fatty acids, perhaps thanks to the fish, as well as fibre due to the number of whole grains, vegetables, and fruit within their meal choices.
Stews are also a popular meal choice and this method of cooking can help retain the nutrients within the ingredients used. Leafy vegetables and starchy foods are also often utilised, which tend to be energy-dense.
Many Japanese people believe in a balanced meal, every meal. This may explain why their dishes can often contain fish, vegetables, and meat consumed in balanced portions throughout the day. Japanese cuisine tends to be low in processed food and saturated fats, which could contribute to their status as one of the countries with the highest life expectancies in the world.
In 2005, the Japanese government released a recommended food guide to encourage healthier eating. After ten years the results showed a 15% decrease in mortality rate for participants who closely followed this Japanese dietary guide.
The inclusion of water and tea as the main beverages throughout a day could be a contributing factor in why people studied showed a reduction in their consumption of processed sugars and additives.
Countries including Iceland, Norway, and Sweden are often known for diets based on fermented milk and cheese, rye bread, local vegetables and fruits, and oily fish. In similar ways to the Mediterranean diet, it too has a proven link to a reduction of the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Low in sugar and high in fibre, meals can consist of foods with plenty of antioxidants and beta-carotene rich vegetables. The fibre-rich foods could keep you feel full for longer and minimise the quantity of food you eat in a day.
Have you tried any of these National cuisines? Those who choose to experiment with their meals may find they benefit from a longer life and reduced health risks; which in turn could help with finding a more affordable life insurance quote using our tools for comparing life insurance quotes.