People all around the world have long been incorporating healthy choices into their daily routines. By following their lead, we may be able to prevent or slow down lifestyle diseases. So, buckle up as we take a trip around the world!
Make healthy fats a dietary staple
Scientists believe healthy fats help reduce inflammation and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
- Use extra-virgin olive oil for its monounsaturated fat and high levels of antioxidant compounds.
- Snack on a handful of nuts like almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts daily.
- Eat omega-3-rich fish—salmon, trout, mackerel and herring—at least twice a week.
Replace salt with herbs and spices
Decreased salt intake may lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Plus, as scientists study herbs and spices, they’re isolating compounds that have antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Experiment with different spices and herbs from India and around the world.
- Eat less processed food, which is often high in salt.
Adopt a plant-based diet
In one Harvard study, researchers found that replacing refined grains and red meats with an equal amount of whole grains has the potential to increase our lifespan by 8 to 20 percent.
- Eat a variety of ancient grains (teff, quinoa, spelt, farro, bulgur, millet) and legumes to get a range of nutrients.
- Replace meat with beans, pulses and grains.
- If using canned legumes, buy the low-sodium variety and rinse them with cold water before using.
Stop eating before you’re full
In Japan, eating until you’re 80 percent full is a traditional dietary control that achieves good health and longevity.
- Pay attention to body cues for hunger and satiety.
- Eat slowly—it takes 15 to 20 minutes for your brain to register fullness.
- Eat small portions regularly to avoid getting too hungry and overeating.
Indulge in a treat and savor it
The “French paradox” refers to the fact that the French eat high-fat cuisine, and yet have lower rates of obesity and heart disease than people in other Western countries.
- Eat small portions of rich foods when you want to indulge, as part of an overall healthy diet.
- Savor the smell, texture and taste of food, and you might be satisfied with less.
Eat more meals at home
Numerous studies have shown that home-cooked meals tend to be healthier than restaurant or takeout meals, with fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat.
- Prepare recipes that emphasize whole, unprocessed ingredients like beans, grains and vegetables.
- Make larger batches for leftovers or to freeze for later.
- Get your kids involved. They’ll eat better, setting them up for a healthier life.