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Healthiest Diets in the World

Seafood DishDiet! The word typically brings to mind plenty of effort and the potential for “failure.” After all, diets are things we often go on and off of over and over again. With enough diet books available to fill an entire bookstore it should be easy, right? There’s got be a better way...

And there is a better way!

Your “diet” should be considered part of an individualized plan to optimize health and wellness, with an appreciation that food is more than just medicine. Indeed, food should be seen as playing an important role in the way we experience life, not simply a way to satisfy hunger, encompassing social ties, taste, love, and yes, good health.

Rather than promoting a specific “diet,” it seems better to support a “pattern” of eating. This isn’t just word play, because what may be the two healthiest “diets” on the planet follow patterns based in long-held cultural traditions that have helped support family and community across generations, that emphasize physical activity, and that have been associated with improved health, too. What are the two patterns?

The Mediterranean- and Asian-styled patterns of eating.

Healthy Foods
The Mediterranean “diet” generally emphasizes:
  • plenty of vegetables and fruits
  • nuts
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • high-quality dairy products
  • cold water fish
Wine, poultry, and eggs are enjoyed on occasion, and red meat only rarely; thus, this pattern of eating is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids, but is low in saturated fat.

Asian meals (in this instance focusing primarily on the traditional Japanese way of eating) almost always include:
  • vegetables and fruit
  • fresh fish
  • rice or noodles
  • fermented soy products (miso and tempeh, for example)
The beverage of choice is tea. This approach to eating well is also low in saturated fat, but it can be high in salt (sodium), so be sure to inquire about low-salt options when you go to your favorite Asian restaurant, and limit salt when making Asian-style dishes at home.

Of course, even the healthiest ingredients can be made into relatively unhealthy meals based on the means of preparation and cooking. Stay close to the traditional ways of preparing Mediterranean and Asian meals, and you’ll have the best chance of them not only being good for you, but also tasting great!

When you follow a Mediterranean- or Asian-“diet” you won’t feel as though you are depriving yourself of anything, in part because the meals are so delicious; thus, achieving your weight loss and overall health goals may be more successful.

Be well.
Dr. Russ

** Information in this e-letter is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **