Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

15 Secrets Around the World About Health and Nutrition

Published on December 13, 2015 by   ·   No Comments

PreventDisease

Why is it that populations from specific geographical locations around the world thrive in terms of health and wellness while others do so poorly? Here are 15 secrets across the globe that may make you reconsider your approach to your daily routine.

1. THAILAND
Thai food is among the spiciest in the world. Past research suggested that spicing food with chilies can lower blood pressure in people with that condition, reduce blood cholesterol and ease the tendency for dangerous blood clots to form. Hot peppers raise your metabolism, and spicing up your daily diet with some red pepper can also curb appetite, especially for those who don’t normally eat the popular spice, according to research from Purdue University. The real benefit of food with a little zing is that it slows your eating, says James Hill, PhD, past president of the American Society for Nutrition. “Americans eat too fast,” he says. “By the time your body signals that it’s full, you’ve overeaten. Eating slower is a good weight-loss strategy, and making food spicier is an easy way to do it.”

2. CAMEROON, WEST AFRICA
In Cameroon, experts have concluded that the diet–which consists largely of fiber, fermented foods, wild greens and healthy fats, and rarely includes meat–is essential to cancer prevention. The reasons? Vegetables and other fiber-rich foods have been shown to positively affect colon cancer risk. Fermented foods like yogurt and pickles provide beneficial bacteria for the gut. Wild greens and healthy fats found in fish, nuts and unrefined cooking oil may also be protective.

3. MALAYSIA
This spice, a key ingredient in curries, grows wild in Malaysian jungles. One of its chief components is a substance called curcumin is a potent fat fighter and outperforms pharmaceuticals without side effects.

A recent Tufts University study found that mice fed a high-fat diet with small amounts of curcumin gained less weight than did other mice given similar but curcumin-free meals. Researchers think the ingredient suppresses the growth of fat tissue and increases fat-burning. Try some in your next stir-fry.

4. OKINAWA, JAPAN
Japan has relatively low rates of prostate and breast cancer. TheOkinawans practice calorie restriction, which has been linked to improved longevity. They also load up on in-season vegetables like bok choy, mustard greens and kale. They drink green tea rich in antioxidants, and get their fats and vitamin D from fish.

“Every meal in Japan looks like a piece of art. Food is so beautiful and so delicious and so simple,” says fitness expert Harley Pasternak.

Lessons from the Okinawans:

i. Develop a strong sense of purpose, called ikigai, or that which makes life worth living, by keeping family ties strong and maintaining close groups of friends. The Okinawans call these moais.

ii. Stay active, and maintain a vegetable garden. Not only do gardens provide natural sources of healthy foods, but also an outlet for daily physical activity. Because of the temperate climate, Okinawans can garden all year round and get plenty of bone-health promoting Vitamin D!

iii. Maintain an herb garden. People living in homes or apartments can grow and maintain herb gardens. Include ginger and turmeric to get the same health benefits as the Okinawans.

iv. Eat a plant-based diet. Use vegetables from your garden, a farmer’s market or even a grocery store. Okinawan centenarians consume soy products, such as antioxidant rich tofu for additional health benefits.

v. Hara hachi bu. This old agage, translates as “eat until you’re 80% full.” The Okinawans say this before every meal to remind them to eat moderate amounts of food.
5. SWITZERLAND
The Swiss love their muesli. Muesli is a porridge or cereal made from oats, fruit, and nuts, each of which has been linked to better health and weight control. It was developed by a Swiss physician more than a hundred years ago to nourish hospital patients, but the Swiss eat it for breakfast or as a light evening dish.

Muesli’s fiber makes it slow to digest, keeping you feeling full longer. Read the label carefully, though: Sugar content can vary from 2 to 14 grams per serving.

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