Asians are known for being generally healthy, but why are health problems in the region on the rise?
Harley Pasternak’s 2010 book The 5 Factor World Diet is all about the healthiest diets around the world and what makes them so nutritious. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Pasternak explains that the healthiest countries:
- DO make meals an event (multiple courses around the family table, instead of a haphazardly put together sandwich eaten in front of the television)
- DO more walking/exercise (compared to the average American)
- DON’T add lots of salt, sugar, and thickening agents to their foods.
Here are the 5 healthiest diets, according to Pasternak:
Traditional Asian Diet
Most of Asia emphasizes rice, noodles, and whole grains, as well as fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. They also consume less red meat and sweets than other regions. These different countries vary when it comes to diet, but all have white rice as a staple.
On the benefits: Asian countries have less incidences of obesity and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases compared to Western countries, but this could be largely due to the typical Asian active lifestyle. As Asian countries become more urbanized and lifestyles more inactive, the high-carb, high-glycemic diet is leading to more health problems in the region.
Eaten by people in Greece, Italy, and Spain, the traditional Mediterranean diet emphasizes seasonal local produce and traditional preparations. Typical foods include:
- whole grains
- olive oil
On the benefits: According to research, olive oil can lose weight, lower cardiovascular disease risk, and reverse diabetes.
Read about The New Nordic, Traditional Okinawan, and French Paradox diets on the next page.