Health crises have skyrocketed in America, many tied to unhealthy diets. Health information, including what diets are best, bombard us more today than ever before. However, other cultures don’t face the epidemics of obesity and heart disease that plague America.
Asian cultures are among the healthiest in the world. According to the UN Chronicle: An Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke, Japan boasts one of the world’s lowest rates of heart disease. However, that risk increases when a Japanese person moves to North America, showing that the risk isn’t simply genetic. The Japanese eat large amounts of seafood and veggies along with smaller-portioned meals. Asian cultures tend to rush less during their meals. Chopsticks, an iconic Chinese utensil, lead to slower eating. Precise Nutrition raves of the benefits of slow eating, including improved digestion and hydration, weight loss and improved satisfaction with a meal. The fast pace of Western cultures make such practices impractical locally, but the health benefits might encourage renewed efforts to slow down.
European countries also offer some practical insight on the health effects of dietary choices. France prides itself on enjoying their food with health concerns being secondary. Despite their high rate of fat consumption, NBC News reports their heart disease rates as surprisingly low, due, in part, to smaller portions. In contrast to the overflowing plates of Americans, the French slowly savor small quantities. Similar to the Chinese, this leads to an overall healthier culture. Countries like Italy favor red wine and the Mediterranean diet, heavy in vegetables and legumes, which again connect to better health. However, this healthy trend doesn’t extend to all of Europe. According to The Economist, Great Britain is increasingly adapting the unhealthy habits of processed food and rushed meals.
Closer to home, Mexico boasts some surprising healthy habits. Residents of the country eat their biggest meal at midday instead of the evening. Lifehacker enumerates many benefits of eating large meals earlier, including more time to burn off the calories. They also rely heavily on high-fiber beans, which further increases the health benefits. On the other hand, they consume quite a bit of white rice but could improve the nutritional benefits by choosing brown rice instead.
Americans have sadly earned the stereotype of expanding waistlines and rising health problems related to diet, but even so, education is bringing the hope of a healthier life closer to home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled heart disease as one of the biggest killers in America. Fortunately, Americans have begun to see the folly of many food choices. The popularity of more organic food and food with fewer chemically treated ingredients has risen sharply in recent years although portion sizes are still a big issue. In addition, the search for more “natural” ingredients often makes Americans easy prey for fad diets and scams that do little to help their waistlines. The struggle for good health and improved diets continues, but at least Americans seem to be trending towards healthier choices.
Kevin Jones is a freelance writer, researcher and fitness instructor/consultant. He had helped hundreds of people find ways to become more fit and healthy through a balanced life focusing on an individualized approach to their nutrition and fitness. In addition, Kevin has written extensively in the fitness and health industries, including writing for companies such as a ICON Fitness brand NordicTrack. Connect with Kevin online; LinkedIn – Twitter