What are the healthiest cuisines in the world? No matter where in the world you live, you likely have access to many different types of cuisine thanks to restaurant variety and ethnic aisles at the grocery store.
Being cognizant of what you eat is important. After all, there is quite a bit of truth to the adage; you are what you eat. If you bombard your mouth with junk food, it will eventually manifest physically.
Thankfully, healthy and clean eating does not have to be boring. You can seek inspiration from the diverse and amazing styles of cooking all over the world.
Even if you cannot travel to exotic destinations right now, you can still treat yourself to some of the healthiest cuisines from around the globe by cooking them in your own kitchen. Get yourself in the mood for healthy cooking with this article’s guide to the world’s healthiest cuisines.
This article is proof that healthy eating can be truly delicious. Join this gastronomic expedition where you can transport to a new destination and revel in a unique culture one bite at a time.
The Land of the Rising Sun: Japan
The majority of the Japanese population retain a healthy weight because of their diet. In fact, in some places in Japan, it is common for people to reach their 100th birthday, which serves as sufficient evidence that their diet is indeed balanced.
On top of that, the Japanese menu provides a ton of variety, and their people practice moderation. Traditionally, they have bento sets, which contain just the right portions of miso soup, viand, veggies, and even dessert. This, in part, lies in their culture called washoku.
Besides, they favour fish like tuna sashimi, salmon rolls, Ebi maki, uni, crab sushi, eel, etc. Fish is a healthy protein source that provides omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to increase good cholesterol and combat heart disease.
On top of that, they have antioxidant-rich staples, which are food items known to fight cancer. For example, you have the following:
- Green tea
- Soya based foods
- Shiitake mushrooms
It’s no wonder why Japanese cuisine is one of the healthiest cuisines in the world. All of the ingredients common in Japanese cuisine are rich in iron, calcium, copper, and zinc, which keep the immune system healthy. Moreover, the Japanese often steam, braise, or quickly fry their food. Many also follow the Hara Hachi Bu concept, which is eating until you are only 80% full.
Annyeonghaseyo South Korea
When you think of South Korea, kimchi comes to mind. This is because most South Korean food includes a lot of fermented dishes that help establish a healthy gut. Why? Because fermented food contains tons of probiotics that enrich your gut flora, and they are also rich in antioxidants to help ward off oxidative stress.
Since their banchan or small side dishes often contain cabbage kimchi, pickled radish, pamuchim (preserved scallions), or chongkukjang (fermented soybeans), most Koreans maintain a svelte figure. Their spicy fermented dishes not only maintain a healthy intestine, but they provide tons of fibre that helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels and supports weight loss (with studies showing the chilli can increase metabolic rates).
Though Korean dishes are flavorful, they are mostly low in fat. They favour things like the following:
Though they also eat a lot of meat like samgyeopsal, galbi, or bulgogi, the majority of this is cooked barbeque style. They let the fat drip out with their unique cooking utensils, unlike in the West, where people like to fry things in oil or butter. Consider prepping your meals the Korean way if you want to lose weight or maintain your figure.
It’s Greek to Me
Don’t let the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding mislead you. In fact, Greece, which is at the heart of Mediterranean cuisine, is known for their hearty and healthy delicious food. Greek cuisine is loaded with the following:
- Fresh veggies
- Healthy grains
The traditional Greek diet contains very little saturated fats. If ever they use any dressing, it is a small amount of natural yoghurt or a few pieces of crumbled feta cheese. In the same token, it is customary for the Greeks to eat little red meat. When they partake in beef kebabs or lamb gyro, it is usually twice a week, often paired with salads and grains.
Because of their diet, people get very high nutritional value. They enjoy lean protein and healthy fatty acids that keep them feeling full for longer periods of time. As a result, they can avoid cravings and deter snacking, which is usually the culprit of unwanted weight gain because of all the calories sneaking in.
Think about it: the word Greek yoghurt and Greek salad are world-famous. Thus, it is not surprising that this cuisine belongs to the healthiest all over the world.
Say Hello to Sweden
Sweden is a country in Scandinavia, so their local ingredients rely on the four distinct seasons. Much of their food culture is affected by their changing climate. Today, the Swedes focus on healthy eating because it remains at the forefront of the government’s health crusade to promote clean eating to avoid disease onset. Today, they have a low obesity rate at only 11%, with a relatively long life expectancy at 81 years old.
The Swedish diet promotes the consumption of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Because of the temperamental weather, they frequently pickle and ferment food, too. As mentioned above, these types of food offer a world of health benefits. On top of that, they eat plenty of:
- Dark multi-grain bread
- Berries rich in antioxidants
- Fish, especially smoked
Most of all, the quality of their raw ingredients are high. Their meat and dairy products come from animals that are not grown with antibiotics and other harmful chemicals. With these animals eating well during their lifespan, they can pass precious nutrients to Swedish consumers. Healthy Swedish meatball, anyone? Say, yes, please.
Yalla means “let’s go” in Hebrew. And indeed, you should go and try to follow the Israeli diet because it is one of the healthiest ones in the world. Falafel is now very popular in the West, but this dish is the signature dish of Israeli cuisine.
Falafel is a type of patty or ball-shaped from ground up chickpeas or fava beans. They can be either baked or fried. These tasty patties are infused with garlic, cumin, parsley, and coriander, which are herbs known to be rich in vitamins and minerals. For example, garlic is known to help improve cardiovascular health, while cumin is noted for containing antioxidants, controlling blood sugar, fighting bacteria, aiding in weight loss, and preventing inflammation.
Besides, other staples of the Israeli diet include the following:
- Olive oil
They infuse many spices into their food for flavour, and in turn, these herbs boost metabolism and help with digestion. Other common ingredients like mint and tahini boost the following nutrients:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Folic acid
All of these work together to fight oxidative stress, improve immunity, and support cellular regeneration. No wonder falafel with pita bread is popular worldwide because it’s not just delicious but nutritious!
Xin Chao Vietnam
“The heat is on in Saigon”, as the famous song goes. And indeed, it is because the Vietnamese maintain their hot, sexy physique thanks to their diet that is light, fresh, fragrant, and full of chillies. Though dishes can vary across the regions, you will find one thing in common: the Viets utilize a lot of herbs and spices.
These herbs infuse a lot of flavour and health-enhancing nutrients into their dishes. For example, Pho, their famous noodle-based soup, is low in fat and loaded with the following:
- Bean sprouts
- Lime leaves
- Cinnamon sticks
- Cardamom pods
- Green onions
These ingredients provide antioxidants, aid digestion, and fight inflammation. Notably, their noodles are mostly rice-based, making them a lot easier to digest than their gluten-rich counterparts.
The Vietnamese always use a lot of fresh veggies and fruits in their dishes. For example, their famous Bahn mi sandwich is loaded with more veggies than meat and cheese, unlike Western subs. Most of all, their dining style with smaller servings aid in portion control.
Dare to Take a Gastronomic Adventure
As you can see, healthy eating is never boring if you dare to explore other flavours that are outside your norm. So it’s time to be adventurous with food and think outside your usual take-out box. Your stomach will thank you!
Eating the right diet does not have to be overwhelming or confusing. When you seek inspiration from other cultures, you can enhance your tongue’s flavour profile while enjoying other delicious and healthy treats.
Remember, health is the true measure of wealth, so eating the right food is not mere vanity but a necessity for overall wellness. To help you find the most optimal diet based on your DNA, give Circle DNA a try. The test results will give a personalized diet and nutrition report that’s based on your unique genetic profile.