Eating healthy across borders

by Khushboo on February 17, 2012

I came across an interesting article online about 5 nutritious habits of the planet’s healthiest countries. Chances are you are already aware of these habits but a reminder can never hurt.  In brackets I’ve listed the countries which are known for applying such practices.

1) Eat plenty of produce and whole grains (China & Greece): In such places, veggies & legumes are the main meals whereas meat is the garnish.

2)  Savor leisurely dining (France, Spain, Greece, Japan): This is an extension of mindful eating: Rather than eat out of necessity, take the time to savor the scent, texture and flavor of food.

3) Practice portion control (France & Japan): It’s crazy to think that an average meal in France is 25% smaller than one in America and soft drinks are 52% larger than in Paris.  It’s not enough to just eat nutritious foods- portions need to be accounted for too!

4) Eat a variety of unprocessed, fresh foods (Italy, France, Greece, Japan, United States): With various shopping spots available in these countries like butchers, bakeries, and greengrocers, it’s easy to eat meals made with unprocessed ingredients.  As a result, such meals provide more fiber, fewer calories, saturated fat, trans fat and of course less added sugar and salt.

5) Spice up your plate (India, China, Thailand, United States): Small amounts of various herbs and spices have shown to provide an array of benefits.  For example a study revealed that consuming half a teaspoon of cinnamon twice daily significantly lowered blood sugar and cholesterol levels of type-2 diabetes subjects.

Interesting stuff, eh!  Although India was only featured in the last category, I can vouch for it being an easy place to maintain a nutritious diet and overall healthy lifestyle.  To see how it’s possible in a country that lacks Whole Foods and where walking is rarely a mode of transportation, check out my guest post on Parita’s blog.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara K February 17, 2012 at 6:59 pm

I just read your other post…and loveee it :)
I agree so much about the spicing up your food; it makes adding unnecessary fats/etc just that since spices/herbs have so much flavour to distribute.

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Khushboo Thadani February 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Thanks Sara- I’m sure after staying in India for a while, you can surely relate!

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Ali Mc February 17, 2012 at 11:24 pm

I love this! what great cultural advice :) going to try some of these

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sarah (onedayiwillseethesun) February 18, 2012 at 1:35 am

hehe notice how the UK doesn’t feature at all:p with our love of cream teas, and fish and chip shops!!

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Kiran @ KiranTarun.com February 18, 2012 at 5:07 am

I don’t think we need Whole Foods where we hail from. Also, WF is not available all across US, so healthy eating begins if you could get your hands on freshest of produce. Local farmer’s market is always the best bet :)

Not surprised about healthy eating habits in India! Wahoo!!

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Khushboo Thadani February 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Exactly..and also begins if you make the effort to find alternatives!

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Tessa at Amazing Assett February 18, 2012 at 7:15 am

What an interesting post, and so helpful too! Thank you of all of this… and also revealing all of the great info :D

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When Harry Met Celery February 18, 2012 at 11:58 am

Nice post, Kushboo. You are such an earnest health enthusiast!

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Tara February 18, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I think anywhere you go, if you know how to eat right you’re going to be fine – it’s definitely more enjoyable and easier when it’s the norm though! I think I’d love eating in france – as long as they keep their cheese portions in check :)

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Khushboo Thadani February 19, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Don’t forget the wine and bread…oh and the croissants ;) !

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Jenn February 18, 2012 at 6:41 pm

ha! I’m totally not surprised that Canada doesn’t make the list. Fast food convenience dining is all the rage in these parts!

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Tracy's Treats February 19, 2012 at 4:36 am

Great guest, Khushboo! I love your on take on healthy living in India. Since I’ve basically only lived in the US, it’s always really interesting to see how people from other countries stay fit!

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Khushboo Thadani February 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I’m glad you enjoyed it Tracy- I guess regardless where you are, you just gotta find a way to make things work for you in your favor!

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honeywhatscooking February 19, 2012 at 10:48 am

article.. definitely agree with you on the portions of the United States, they are huge. i’m currently in INdia, Khushboo, in Delhi, had I been in Mumbai, I would have definitely asked to meet up. it’s so different here… :-)

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Khushboo Thadani February 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Despite having lived in Mumbai for 2 years now, I’m still yet to visit Delhi…hope you are having a great stay :) !

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Healthiful Balance February 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm

These are all great tips, thanks for sharing them!! :)

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Jocelyn February 19, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Sounds like some sound advice :D I really like the way that France and Italy etc take the time to really savor and appreciate their food – it could take families up to 2-3 hours to finish a meal….it’s not just about the food, it’s about the company and conversation as well.

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Brittany February 20, 2012 at 12:09 am

I practice all of these naturally out of habit on a daily basis! I could work on number 3 though..bring out a bar of chocolate and in a breath it’s gone.

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Christina Does It All February 20, 2012 at 4:44 am

love this post! great advice :)

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Nada (One Arab Vegan) February 21, 2012 at 3:40 am

The claim that eating healthy is inaccessible in certain places (ie. India or the Middle East) is completely untrue – your post on Parita’s blog is a great example of that! As far as I’m concerned – anywhere you can find fresh seasonal produce, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds is “healthy” enough for me, and I’m pretty sure that extends to most all places. Flashy health food stores are great, but they’re a luxury not a necessity to having a healthy diet IMO.

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Khushboo Thadani February 22, 2012 at 11:11 am

Love the way you phrased it….”luxury not a necessity”- SO true!

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Alyse February 22, 2012 at 6:39 am

How interesting! I love the leisurely style of dining, where it’s about the company and the experience, not just about the food. I’d love to be able to carve out more time in the day to make meals leisurely and social!

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Khushboo Thadani February 22, 2012 at 10:39 am

Same here…a majority of my lunches are eaten simultaneously as I work- not very leisurely at all!

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