World’s Healthiest Cuisines

10 diets around the world where health doesn’t mean counting calories

Despite valiant efforts to promote being active and eating healthy, Americans are among the most gluttonous eaters. The U.S. is continually ranked among the most obese countries in the world, and when you consider that fast food was invented here, it should come as no shock. When it comes to overall health and longevity, Americans really aren’t in fighting order — we have high heart disease and diabetes rates, and spend the most money on health care, too.

Click here to see the World’s Healthiest Cuisines Slideshow.

Ethnic cuisines served in the U.S. have, too, succumbed to American dietary habits and are thus misrepresented stateside. We tend to take a foreign cuisine’s fattiest and most indulgent dishes as typical meals, and then turn them into more excessive and extreme versions, like cheese-stuffed pizza crust topped with greasy slices of pepperoni. But French, Chinese, Italian, and Spanish foods are among the world’s healthiest. Exchanging processed foods for fresh versions and using slower, healthier cooking techniques in place of microwaves and deep-fryers have allowed these countries to maintain low disease and diabetes rates even though they’re fond of butter, oil, and carbohydrates.

Likewise, many of these cuisines, like Greek and Israeli, are more ceremonious about their food, eating it slowly and using the time to relax, savor the meal, and enjoy themselves. Throwing food into one’s mouth while rushing about their day is almost never the secret to a healthy, long life. We studied numbers from the CIA World Factbook, as well as information from the World Health Organization on obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, to determine the countries on this list.