The best diets in the world

The best diets in the world

3 April 2024 Health

Living abroad often makes people long for the food back home every now and then. Sometimes as much as a hint of a smell can bring you back home or make you belly rumble. It´s not only the food, but also the social aspect that are deeply rooted in our cultures and vary significantly amongst countries or continents.

Is there a relationship between countries or regions that live longer and the foods that they eat? According to scientific evidence, the answer is emphatically yes. There are some regions of the world where life expectancy is higher and chronic diseases are less frequent. These areas are known as “blue zones” and their inhabitants follow dietary patterns that help them stay healthier than average.

In this article, we are going to analyse the characteristics of the best diets in the world, based on scientific evidence. We will see what nutriments they provide and the benefits associated with them.

What are the best diets in the world according to scientific evidence?

The Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is based on the consumption of foods from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, such as Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, among others. It is characterized by a high intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, olive oil, fish, fermented dairy products, and a low intake of red meat, sausages, processed products and added sugars. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to have multiple health benefits, such as the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cancer and cognitive impairment. In addition, it is associated with longevity and quality of life. This is attributed to the diet’s richness in antioxidants, fibre, monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids, phytochemicals and probiotics, which contribute to reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, and to improving endothelial function, insulin sensitivity, lipid profile and intestinal microbiota.

best mediterranean food

The Nordic diet

It is s an eating pattern inspired by the habits of Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland). It is based on the consumption of local and seasonal foods, such as berries, green leafy vegetables, tubers, whole grains, legumes, fish, lean meat, eggs and dairy products. This is a balanced diet, which provides all essential nutrients and respects the environment. It is associated with improved cardiovascular, metabolic and cognitive health.

nordic diet

The Japanese diet

It consists of rice, vegetables, seaweed, tofu, soybeans, fish, seafood, green tea and fruit. It is a diet low in calories, saturated fats and added sugars. It is rich in complex carbohydrates, plant and animal protein, fibre, minerals and antioxidants, linked to greater longevity and a lower prevalence of obesity, diabetes and hypertension. There is a region of Japan called Okinawa where life expectancy is higher than the rest of Japan. Their diet also varies slightly. It is characterized by the consumption of purple sweet potatoes, bitter vegetables, tofu, fermented soybeans, fish and seaweed. It is a very low calorie and low salt diet, and is rich in carotenoids, flavonoids and polyphenols. It is associated with reduced inflammation (which can lead to disorders, aging), better weight control and greater resistance to stress.

japanese diet

Keeping active

We must not forget that for a diet to provide health, it must be accompanied by other habits such as exercise. For example, the island of Okinawa is the region in the world with the longest longevity, but not only because of the diet of its inhabitants, but also because it has an active population.

In conclusion, these are the diets that, according to scientific evidence, improve different health parameters. Although each diet has its peculiarities, depending on the geographical area, they share some similarities. They are all based on fresh or little processed foods, in addition to moderate consumption of meat and high consumption of plant-based foods.

Any question concerning your health or diet?

If you have any questions on your diet, or specific complaints, the doctors at Teladoc Health can support you. If you feel you would like to speak to a medical professional about your eating pattern or questions about food intake or diet please check the Ecare portal and you can immediately request an call back or plan a video call in the language you prefer. Our doctors are there for you.

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