TAKING HEALTHY EATING HABITS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
June 1, 2015
People come in all shapes and sizes. Thanks to globalisation, borders are almost vanished and distance shorten, making it quite normal to hang out with people from different countries, from all around the world. We can now, more than ever, open the door to various practices and cultures from people across the globe. Due to our chaotic nonstop able lifestyle, almost 80% of the diseases occur, leaving only 20% attributed to genetics. We should stop and think about this – genetics may load the gun, but the environment is for sure pulling the trigger.
This is visible when we study the preponderance to disease that plagues different people from different countries. Can we then benefit from other cultures to a healthier lifestyle? Mediterranean diets are famous for being anti-inflammatory, as the secret to youthfulness, for example. What else is out there? Here are a few good habits that we should take from different cultures:
1. Cuisines that have the power to burn fat
In India, Thailand, Malaysia, people like their food spicy. Actually, the spicier the better! But they are not the only ones, as South America and African countries also have a spicy cuisine. Eating spicy food forces us to pace our meal, as no one would be able to greedily gobble down chilli! Furthermore, South Asian diet is “peppered” with curcumin, a spice that we know is anti-inflammatory and helps burn fat!
2. Longevity secret found in Japan
The people of Ryuku islands in Japan, known as the Okinawans, are famous for having the longest life expectancy. They practice hara hachi bu that promotes paying close attention to your satiety levels, and stopping at 80%. Coupled with optimising that 80% with a diet rich in vegetables, whole wheat, soy, beans, legumes and fish, it’s of little wonder that they have 80% less cardiovascular disease and other metabolic diseases. And of course, green tea would constitute a staple of that diet. It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body.
This includes improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many other incredible benefits.
3. Different ways to bring food to your mouth
Chopsticks, originally from Ancient China were initially used as a cooking aid. The Han and the Ming dynasties then incorporated it into eating habits that facilitated picking up morsels of food, a norm in poverty. Today, there are proper etiquette associated with chopsticks’ use and the deliberate, skilful act promotes portion mindfulness and pacing of our intake tempo. It also prevents us from mopping up too much sauces (usually laden with sugars and unwanted calories). The Indians practise the centering of 5 vital elements when they use their hands to eat, but this is also a good way to enjoy your food, prevent from burning our tongues, and pacing our tempo.
4. Not going to bed after a heavy dinner
Meal cultures are very different. There are countries, like Germany and The Netherlands that love a big full table at dinner, and prefer a little bit for lunch. Others, like Mexico, are used to eat more during the day and less at night. They will have a breakfast and a big meal between 2-5pm and just a small bite that is mostly a chocolate or oat drink. Unknowingly, they are following the pattern of insulin release in our bodies, that peaks at 10am, and 6pm. Making breakfast and lunch the main meals, while keeping dinner small ensures optimal calorie-burning function. Furthermore, their diet laden with antioxidants would keep inflammation at bay.
5. The Inuit Paradox
Living in the cold Arctic, adipose tissue is important for insulation, and sunlight is scarce. Diets would comprise very oily fish, seal and very limited vegetables and fruits, leading us to assume a lack in Vit D, essential minerals, and high cardiovascular disease. Surprisingly, cardiovascular disease, cholesterol problems, and inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis were rare in the Inuits, owing to the fact that they got the Omega 3:6 ratio perfected, and sourced their Vitamins A and E from their fish.
These are some examples that we can incorporate in our globalised lifestyle for a healthier and longer life. There will always be a role for prevention before deficiencies lead to symptomology. Knowing how our bodies process food, and the condition of our mineral and heavy metal content is the first step towards making conscious and educated decisions to help make the most out of our diets.
Optimising your nutritional and metabolic needs will take you one step closer to aging gracefully, and healthily.