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13 Healthy Diet Habits from Around the World

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13 Healthy Diet Habits from Around the World

By Annie Tucker Morgan, DivineCaroline

When it comes to eating (and many other indulgences), the United States is a culture of excess. To the average American, bigger plus faster equals better; we shovel massive quantities of food and beverages into our mouths on the go, scarcely taking time to taste what we’re consuming … and then we complain about how much weight we’re gaining. Meanwhile, diners in other countries favor moderately sized but well-rounded portions, savor their meals in a leisurely fashion with friends and family members, and make exercise part of their daily life. Is it any surprise, then, that so many people in other cultures sustain enviably trim figures without depriving themselves of culinary enjoyment? Let’s learn how they do it.

Eat at Home More Often Than You Eat Out (Poland)
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans spend an average of 37 percent of their food budget on eating out, compared with only 5 percent among Poles. No wonder U.S. obesity rates are so high: restaurants here are notorious for serving oversize, calorie- and fat-laden portions. By eating our meals at home, we not only have much more control over the ingredients we put in our mouths, but we also save money and get to spend quality time with our families. It’s a win-win.

Go Nuts for Nuts (Africa)
Packed with protein and often healthy fats, nuts can serve as a nutritious and filling replacement for meat and poultry. In Africa, particularly in Gambia, peanuts are a common complement to vegetables and spices in numerous soups and stews—and perhaps it’s no coincidence that this nation has not only no problems with obesity, but also one of the lowest international incidences of all types of cancer.

Make Friends with Rice and Beans (Brazil)
Americans tend to think of starchy foods as the enemy, but according to a study published in the journal Obesity Research, a diet focused on rice and beans (in contrast with a typical Western diet), such as the kind Brazilians espouse, reduces people’s risk of becoming overweight by approximately 14 percent. Low in fat and high in fiber, it’s a winning combination that stabilizes blood sugar and leaves people feeling satisfied.

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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food

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DivineCaroline

At DivineCaroline.com, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.

144 comments

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11:20PM PST on Nov 26, 2013

that was a very nic and interesting article crosscultural diet behavior

4:22AM PDT on Jul 25, 2013

Thanks

1:06AM PDT on Mar 24, 2013

I enjoyed reading this info thanks.

2:41AM PDT on Sep 28, 2012

always good to have things in moderation, sensibly. thanks.

3:11AM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

noted

12:15AM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

By the way "vigorous activity" as described for the Okinawans in this article is greatly exagerated. It simply means being active-gardening, house chores(dishes by hand, etc), and they take a walk (leisurely)after the evening meal. My best friend at a base where I was stationed was Okinawan..She was a wonderful person and extremely smart. She had amazing artistic abilities from crafts to drawing to painting. She also introduced me to, what I thought then, exotic foods she had imported from Okinawa.

12:07AM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

he single simplest rule for pretty good health through life is to eat well(variety of fresh and home cooked) and keep one's waist less than 1/2 of one's height. Thats it. You don't have to worry about weight, BMI, fads, nothing else. This is how life insurance companies determine longevity..... waist size of 1/2 of one's height is optimal weight for any individual. More than this and health risks go up. Too much less than this and health risks go up.

10:52PM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

The following “dicta” are from ancient Indian traditions , now sadly going fast out of vogue
1 Eat fresh food cooked at home
2 The main meal should be the mid day meal about noon, the others being light preferably fruit. The main meal ordinarily should include recommended vegetable and greens(seasonal) and often buttermilk.
3 Eat rice, barley or millets and lentils or beans in your meal with a little ghee(a good fat)
4 Sweets are for festivals
5 Fast regularly
6 Use traditional spices ( based on Indian medicine). For example fenugreek, cinnamon and black pepper help in blood sugar control.
7 Eat slowly chewing your food at least 16 times
8 Never eat a full stomach
9 Avoid or reduce meat.
10. Start of your morning with almonds and raisins soaked overnight in a little water.
This is necessarily brief. If elaboration is needed there are books. Some material is on the internet.

5:16AM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Polsih eating at home is the best

12:57AM PST on Dec 6, 2011

Great and interesting article, factual and not absurd, thank you.

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