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Your lifestyle, your quirk
Americans are always trying to find ways to be healthier. Partly because of the obesity epidemic and the high incidence of cancer in our society, we attempt to do all that we can to maintain our health. We adopt a new liquid diet that claims to make us fit into our high school jeans. We start eating pounds of goji berries since we heard they prevent breast cancer. Sadly, though, these fad diets rarely work the way they’re supposed to. America still has a higher incidence of chronic illnesses compared to the rest of the world.
Our diet seems to result in what many refer to as “Western” ailments, which include heart disease, depression, and many cancers. We know it’s our diet that leads to these diseases because there are people in certain regions of the world who rarely get them. These people have vastly different diets and lifestyles than we do. Scientists refer to these regions of the world as “Cold Spots” and “Blue Zones.” These areas include regions of Italy, Japan, Greece, Costa Rica, Mexico, Iceland, and Greece where living to 100 is not an anomaly.
It’s been predicted that by the year 2050, one in three Americans will have diabetes. Clearly, we need to start adopting some dieting habits from those Blue Zones and Cold Spots to save ourselves.
But where do we start? It’s easiest to adopt a few habits from each of the healthy regions in the world rather than taking on one entirely.
Start by eating small portions, like the French. While they’re notorious for having a sweet tooth, they have a low incidence of obesity. Because French people eat small portions of quality food, they are able to maintain a widely varied diet without packing on the pounds.
In addition to small portions, we can adopt the Scandinavian habit of eating from “farm to table.” While this doesn’t mean you have to farm to be healthy, you can simply make an effort to eat more local and fresh food. This ensures you’re getting all the vegetables and fruit you need.
For prevention of diseases, eat like you’re in Japan. Japanese people have a shockingly low incidence of breast, colon, and ovarian cancer. There’s also a small island region called Okinawa that has the highest concentration of centenarians in the world. Obviously, they’re doing something right. Scientists think their diet, rich in fibrous foods, vegetables, rice, soy, and fish is the key to their healthful success.
Finally, eat like a Roman by including some good fats in your diet. The Mediterranean diet has always been known for yielding good health. But many aren’t exactly sure how to go about implementing it into their lives. Instead of eating loads of pasta and bread, center your meals around olive oil, nuts, fish, lean proteins, and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. You’re also allowed to have a bit of red wine – and that makes it all worth it!
Next time you’re considering the hot fad diet du jour, try working some of these suggestions into your life – don’t forget to let us know how it goes!