How do individuals living in Asian and European countries maintain good health without sacrificing great-tasting foods? The secret is… they don’t diet. Instead, they embrace food as fuel and eat real, whole foods that are packed with nutrients. Here are some key tips from both cultures to help you live a little healthier:
Shop at a local market. In Europe and Asia, most grocery shopping is done at a local market. Because the produce varies with each season, shopping at markets are a surefire way to get fresh fruits and vegetables that contain the maximum amount of nutrients and are loaded with flavor.
Get real! European and Asian cultures emphasize eating “real” or “whole” food; that is, food in its natural form. By eating more whole foods, you eliminate the chemicals that are added during processing and retain the food’s original vitamins and minerals.
Eat fish. Fish and seafood are staples in European and Asian cuisine. Both are great sources of lean protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart and overall health. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least 2 servings of fish each week. Just swap fish for red meat or poultry at your next meal, and you’ll be halfway there.
Ditch the sugary drinks. Sugary drinks play a miniscule role in the European and Asian diet and often replaced with water, tea, or wine. According to the Boston Public Health Commission, swapping sugary drinks for one of these substitutes can also help you shed about 25 pounds in one year.
Spice up your life! Herbs and spices are used abundantly in European and Asian cuisine. Herbs such as basil, parsley, and cilantro are packed with vitamins and antioxidants that help fight cancer, jumpstart your metabolism, and add flavor to any dish. Ginger, chili peppers, and lemon grass are delicious spices with an Asian flare. They also contain chemicals that fight cancer, boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.
By following these tips, you can ditch the dieting and finally reap the benefits of a healthy and delicious lifestyle.
Written with assistance from Natasha Fowler, Nutrition Intern.
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