29.01.18
Health & wellbeing

7 Healthy Habits from Around the World

Pan Filled with Colourful Fresh Vegetables

It’s a big, wide world out there. Everywhere you turn, there are people with habits, lifestyles, preferences, and desires that differ from your own. Yet, despite our idiosyncrasies, there are some motivations we can all relate to.

Take the desire for a better body. The diet industry in the UK is worth an estimated £2 billion. It’s no surprise, considering two thirds of British people describe themselves as being on a diet ‘most of the time.’ Clearly, self-improvement is a powerful force.

It’s a shared motivation, a universal compulsion. So, perhaps we should be pooling our knowledge. There are hundreds of cultures out there, each with their own version of healthy living. What if we could bring together the best bits of each one?

With the pleasure of the French, the pescatarian habits of the Japanese, and the spice of the Indians, we could create a grand plan for wellness. Because, let’s face it, we’ve all got a nifty idea or three.

This article takes a look at healthy habits around the world, from Indonesia to the Netherlands.

1. Germany – Don’t Skip Breakfast

Nutritionists can’t agree that skipping breakfast is bad for metabolism. It is logical to assume, however, that those who go without are likely to get hungry faster. It’s why 75% of Germans eat breakfast every day (compared with 50% of Brits). Opt for whole grain cereals, fruit, and oats to satisfy the stomach and reduce the compulsion to snack.

2. Malaysia – Turn Up for Turmeric

Turmeric is a yellow spice that grows in Malaysian jungles. It is popular in Britain, but we could benefit from eating more. The spice is packed full of curcumin, a natural chemical with fat fighting properties. Studies show it moderates unhealthy adipose tissue by preventing the formation of blood vessels in fat deposits. Add it to soups, curries, and roasted vegetables.

3. Netherlands – Get on Yer Bike

The statistic about Dutch bikes (18 million) outnumbering citizens (16.5 million) is frequently repeated. It fuels the stereotype of Netherlanders as a people who are constantly ‘on the go.’ In truth, most cycle for 20 minutes per day. They rarely visit the gym. Experts believe this ‘little and often’ routine keeps the body healthy by burning fat in a relaxed, non-stressful way.

4. Japan – Perfect the Power Nap

Just like the Dutch, Japan has a reputation for being perpetually active. So, it may surprise you to know most people nap every day. It’s common for the Japanese to doze off in the middle of busy afternoons. Power napping is linked to reduced ghrelin levels. Ghrelin triggers hunger signals, so sleeping really is a form of weight and health management.   

5. Finland – Supercharge Your Walking

The Finns are mighty found of hiking and walking. To burn more calories, many carry a pair of Nordic sticks. These long walking poles are used to propel the body forward. Even during fairly gentle walks, fat burning gets increased by 20%. It is an easy way to tone the whole body without exercising for harder or for longer.

6. Indonesia – Try Intermittent Fasting

Islam is the dominant religion in Indonesia. It encourages periodic fasting, with no food between dawn and dusk. Many others practice ‘mutih,’ a cultural tradition of consuming nothing but water and white rice. Studies link restriction of food to weight loss, accelerated cell repair, reduced inflammation, a stronger heart, and better brain function.

7. France – Savour Your Meals

The French love cheese, butter, cream, and bread. Yet, obesity levels here are among the lowest in Europe. So, how do they stay healthy? Well, ironically, the secr is indulgence. They never cut out treats. Fatty foods are eaten regularly, in small portions. They also spend more time on dining. Eating slowly prevents gorging because the stomach is allowed to feel full. 

This is just a small selection of healthy habits from around the world. In Gambia, people are mad for heart boosting peanuts. In Greece, it’s all about fresh fish and vegetables. Indians can’t get enough of protein packed chickpeas. In Mexico, they eat big in the afternoon and graze in the evening.

Everybody has their own secret. So, if you need health inspiration, take a trip around the globe.

You can follow Amaven on Twitter for health, exercise, and lifestyle advice.   

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