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What is the healthiest diet around the world?

June 08, 2019



There are more and more people around the world who take a serious concern about their health. This leads to  a number of different healthy diets such as Loma Linda, Okinawa, Ketogenic, Mediterranean, Paleo or Nicoya Peninsula. Each type of diets is unique in different aspects as they are all based on different culture as well as cuisine. This article will make a comparison between some healthiest diets in the world in order to give you an overview of them. Thus, you are able to choose the one that is suitable for you.

What are the healthiest types of diet?

Mediterranean diet

It is called a heart-healthy eating plan which is based on the traditional foods used by people in nations like Greece and Italy back in 1960s. In order to begin with this kind of diet, people will incorporate the basics of healthy eating such as vegetables, fish, potatoes, nuts, seeds, herbs with a splash of flavorful olive oil as well as a glass of red wine. Eggs, poultry, yogurt and cheese are eaten in moderation whie red meat is encouraged to eat rarely. Researchers have shown that Mediterranean diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and premature death.

Mediterranean dieters do not need to track their calories because they regularly consume small portions of the high quality foods listed above. Therefore, people will find it satisfying and easy to stick with in long-term.

Mediterranean diet can also cause weight loss and lead people to a healthier lifestyle 

Okinawa diet

Okinawa is a Japanese island which is one of the original “Blue Zones” in the world. The traditional Okinawa diet is low in calories and fat while high in carbs. It focuses on vegetables and fruits. It contains only 30% of the sugar, 15% of the grains and a tiny amount of fish. This eating plan gets a lot of attention because people who live on Okinawa have life expectancies at 100 years old and higher than the rest of the world’s population.

The most popular foods on the Okinawa diet contain green vegetables like cabbage and leafy greens, high-fiber carbohydrates like buckwheat soba noodles and sweet potatoes, soyfoods like miso paste and tofu, seafood and seaweed like hijiki and kombu, small amounts of red meat and shiitake mushrooms and bitter melon. Jasmine tea is also a great option for Okinawans to enjoy at their breakfast.

According to a Confucian teaching instruction, people should only eat until they are 80 percent full. Okinawa follows this guiding principle and gains a lot of good results. People have seen benefits from Okinawa diet in promoting mindfulness as well as recognising body’s cues for fullness and hunger.

The Okinawa diet describes the eating habits of the indigenous people in Japan

Nordic diet

Nordic diet, also known as Scandinavian diet, is a way of eating that emphasizes the fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel as well as root vegetables and berries. It is inspired by the cuisine of Nordic nations like Finland, Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Denmark. It is considered to be a good option from an environmental perspective because it encourages you to fill your plate with whole grains, vegetables, fruits and lean protein.

Nordic diet is recognized by The World Health Organization (WHO) as the diet that has numerous health benefits and can help reduce so many bad diseases. This diet can prevent people from metabolic syndrome, cholesterol and high blood sugar. In addition, it can reduce the inflammation within fat tissue that is related to obesity.

The Nordic diet focuses on traditional and sustainable foods in Nordic countries

Ketogenic diet

It is a low-carb and high-fat diet that based around real foods with a strong intake of vegetables, especially leafy greens. When followed well, it can cause weight loss and provide a number of health benefits to people. However, people who take medication for diabetes, high blood pressure and breastfeeding should not follow this diet.

The Ketogenic eating plan is a little restrictive with such a long list of restricted foods such as bread, potatoes, soda/ juice, pasta, beer, candy, donut and rice. That is the reason why it can be helpful with quick, short-term weight loss and it is harder to sustain in a long time. You will feel low on energy and had bad effects on constipation or breath in long term.

The most important thing for reaching Ketogenic diet is to stop eating too many carbs

Vegan diet

Vegetarian diet, also known as vegan diet is an eating plan that can ensure you to get all the right nutrients. Vegan people avoid all of animal products such as eggs, meat and dairy. After a long time following this diet, people can find it effective at improving markers of blood sugar control.

Several reports have shown that vegan diet can be very effective at reducing blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol in people’s body

Paleo diet

Is is a popular eating plan that based on prehistoric human diets, which dates back from 10 million years ago. It contains fish, lean meats, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables. They are the main foods obtained by hunting and gathering during the Paleolithic era. Paleo diet helps people to maintain a healthy weight and plan meals appropriately. In this diet, people will avoid farming food such as grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, potatoes, refined sugar and highly processed foods in general. It is because people believe that these food may be a contributing factor to the prevalence of diabetes, heart disease and obesity for them nowadays. Paleo seeks to reduce harmful side impacts that associated with modern agriculture.

Alongside with following paleo diet, people should get enough exercise in order to achieve full health benefits

A comparison between the aforementioned diets

Okinawa diet vs Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet focuses on healthy fats such as omega-3s, protein from plant sources and seafood, vegetables and fruits. However, the Okinawa diet emphasizes plants with nutrients coming mostly from legumes and vegetables on the Okinawa island in Japan.

A cardiologist and co-author of the book The Longevity Plan, MD John Day said that you could not say one was  a better option than the other because both of them had never been compared in a head-to-head clinical study before. Nevertheless, if you observe people who believe in these ancestral diets, you will see they have long expectancies and are free of the modern diseases that cause a lot of worry in population nowadays.

According to Dr Day, Dr Minno and Brigitte Zeitlin, there are some differences between these two healthy eating diets:

– The sources of protein for each meal are a little different

– Both allow for pretty decent amounts of healthy carbohydrates but Med is big on grains

– Both diets use vegetables for longevity-promising benefits

– None of them requires calorie-counting or restriction

– They are both pretty comparable

Nordic/Scandinavian diet vs Mediterranean diet

The Nordic diet and the Mediterranean diet have so many things in common because both of them use a plenty of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, grains, seafood over meat and focus on home-cooked meals. The difference of them is the consumption of oil to make the meals. The Nordic diet use canola oil while the Mediterranean diet use olive oil. Both oils are very health-protective that are recommended to use by experts.

Christy brissette, RD president of 80-Twenty Nutrition said that both of the diets could help people lose weight and improve their health. A review by the World Health Organization showed some inclusion:

– The Nordic diet and the Mediterranean diet can help reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease

– They are big on plant-based foods. However, the Mediterranean features warm-weather foods while the Nordic diet serves foods in colder climates

– The focus of Nordic is local

– Fatty fish is encouraged to eat at a moderate level in both diets

– You will not have to cut carbs to follow these eating plans

– A bit of dairy are go on both

– Both avoid sweets, processed foods and red meat

– They encourage you to take the time to sit with friends and family at meals

Mediterranean diet vs ketogenic diet

Keto diet encourages people to eat high-fat foods along with moderate amounts of proteins and a little carbohydrates. People may trick the body to burn fats over carbohydrates. On the other hand, Mediterranean diet involves eating fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. Therefore, it is more of a way of eating than a traditional diet like Keto.

The Keto diet forces you to follow rigid rules while the Mediterranean diet is based on a dietary pattern of eating that does not stop you from consuming the things you want. You will have to track the amount of food you put into your body when following keto diet while it is not necessary to do in Mediterranean diet.

The Keto diet is much higher in fat such as bacon, butter and cheese. In the meanwhile, the Mediterranean diet plan emphasizes fat like olive oil and avocados. Nutrient-rich food groups are encouraged to use in the Mediterranean diet while are not recommended for the Keto.

Another difference is that the Mediterranean diet plan has fewer health risks than the keto diet. A study showed that the ketogenic diet could cause low blood pressure, high cholesterol and hypoglycemia because of people’s not eating carbohydrates.

Ketogenic diet vs vegan diet

Both of the diets are quite the same with each other. However, it is said that the vegan diet is healthier than the keto diet because it takes all the vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies while keto dieters still eat some kinds of meat. However, keto diet is too restrictive to follow so there are a lot of people recommending eating vegan.

Paleo diet vs Ketogenic diet

There are so many consumers wondering between Paleo and Keto, which is better eating plan for them? According to some studies, both Paleo and ketogenic are nutrient-dense because they are overall low-carb and low-sugar diets. As a result, they can help people to lose weight and have better blood sugar management.

The differences between the Paleo diet and the Keto diet are that:

– The Paleo diet is higher in protein, whereas, the Keto one is higher in fat

– The Paleo eliminates added sugar while the keto diet eliminates all sources of sugar including natural and added sugar

– The Paleo diet is a healthy and balanced diet while the Keto diet encourages people to count the amount of proteins and carbs

Mediterranean diet vs Paleo diet

A lot of research have been done to point out the similarities as well as differences between the Mediterranean diet and the Paleo diet. In terms of similarities, they all come to conclusion that both of the diets can promote healthy lifestyles as well as weight loss. They encourage people to consume whole foods offered by nature while limiting refined and processed foods.

About the differences, the Paleo emphasizes eliminating inflammatory foods while the Mediterranean diet does not have so many limitations on foods. Thus, the Paleo seems to be more rigid than the Mediterranean diet. In addition, the Mediterranean diet borrows principles from the specific geographical region to create its way of eating, which means people in these areas do not know the existence of GMO or steroids in foods. Thus, Mediterranean dieters nowadays should consider all the specifics of the food industry around the place they live.

Totally, the aforementioned diets are among the world’s healthiest diets. They all have their own advantages and disadvantages so that people cannot point out which one is better than the other. Therefore, depending on different goals and conditions of people, they can choose the eating plan that is suitable with them.

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