While diets in the western world revolve around a large amount of processed, artificially flavored, and saturated fats, it is not very good for living a healthy lifestyle. This may be the norm there, but many other places in the world gravitate towards a healthier lifestyle which means a diet of fresh, wholesome foods and plenty of exercise.
Healthiest regions around the world:
- Okinawa Diet - The Okinawa people regard food as medicine and take great care to eat only the best, fresh, healthy food. Their diet consists of mainly, vegetables and soy products, with occasional, small amounts of fish, pork, rice, and noodles. It is low calorie, low fat, but high in carbs. The general rule of thumb is eating until you are almost full, 80% full, to be exact.
- Mediterranean Diet - No doubt that Mediterranean diets are healthy but they certainly do not sacrifice the flavor. The delicious, age-old recipes are typically plant-based, consisting of fruits, vegetables, potatoes, whole grain bread and pasta, beans, nuts, and seeds. They also enjoy small portions of eggs, yogurt, cheese, and poultry. Seafood is eaten two times a week on average, and wine is acceptable in moderation. The Mediterranean diet is one that celebrates and embraces meal times, and are meant to be shared with friends and family.
- Nordic Diet - High in fiber and protein yet low in sugar. This is also a plant-based diet with a focus on fatty fish, berries, various root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, etc), nuts, legumes, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. The Nordic diet also requires cutting out processed foods, and meats that are high in fat. It is similar in many ways to the Mediterranean diet, with the exception of olive oil as the nordic typically calls for canola.
- French Paradox Diet - Highly based around bread, cheese, and wine, but with restricted proportions. This diet does tend to be high in saturated fats, however, it also focuses on eating smaller amounts of higher-quality foods instead of excessive intake of unhealthy food.
- West African Diet - This diet revolves around lean meats, vegetables, and cereal staples. It is low in calories and almost completely devoid of foods that are over processed. Traditional preparations of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish are what this diet is focused on.
Finding common ground:
One of the common denominators here is the freshness of the foods. A healthy diet will include plenty of vegetables and fruits, plus lean meats, with very little outside sugars. Processed foods should always be kept to a minimum as should sweets and alcohol. While changing your diet is a great step, an active lifestyle is also required to live your healthiest life. Embrace and draw inspiration from the populations of the blue zones, healthy should be a way of life, not just a diet. Have fun with it, and enjoy the new, healthier you.