7 of the Healthiest Cuisines from around the World You Need to Try

In terms of nutrition, not all diets were created equal. Many international cuisines are not just tasty, but healthy too. They incorporate fresh, natural, unprocessed ingredients, and follow time-honored preparation methods.

We live in a small world nowadays, with dishes from even the most far-flung countries available almost anywhere. In this article, we look at seven cuisines that are not only bursting with flavor, but good for you too.

1. Thai

Many elements of Thai cookery incorporate strong antioxidant properties which, research suggests, could inhibit cancer growth. One dish rich in such ingredients is Tom Yung Gung soup, a delicious dish made with shrimp, ginger, lemongrass, cilantro, and a variety of other aromatic herbs.

Many components used in Thai cookery aid digestion and the immune system. Ginger, lemongrass, and turmeric — common ingredients in many Thai dishes — have been used in Asian medicine for centuries to treat a variety of different disease and ailments. Loaded with fresh seafood, vegetables, and spices, Thai cuisine delivers key nutrients, aiding the immune system and even speeding up the metabolism.

2. Swedish

With an average life expectancy of 80+ years and obesity rate of just 11 percent, Sweden emphasizes the need to maintain a healthy, balanced diet through public health campaigns.

The country’s cold climate restricts availability of fresh vegetables and fruits through the winter. Instead, Swedes enjoy a diet rich in berries, dark breads, dairy, and fish, laden with antioxidants and fiber. These, when combined, actually help to burn fat.

The Swedish pride themselves on the high quality of their food. Dairy and meat products come from animals that have been fed well. As a result, they pass valuable nutrients on to consumers.

3. Japanese

Nutritionists suggest that the fact that Japan boasts the world’s highest average life expectancy can be directly attributed to the old-fashioned Japanese diet, which is comprised of an abundance of fresh vegetables, fish, and seafood. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which research suggests promotes heart-health. Miso and other fermented soy products also contain probiotics, beneficial bacteria that can improve gut health.

A recent study by the British Medical Journal revealed that participants who maintained a diet that adhered to Japanese dietary guidelines — unprocessed food; minimal dairy, sugar, and fruit; moderate amounts of soy and animal products; and high amounts of vegetables and grains — had a decreased risk of dying from a stroke or heart attack.

4. Greek

Incorporating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and olive oil, Greek cuisine is rich in both flavor and health benefits. Simple dishes like souvlaki, grilled fish, and black-eyed bean salad deliver a nutrient-dense meal, while richer dishes like moussaka can also be enjoyed in moderation.

With a Greek presence in many US cities and towns, you do not need to travel far to enjoy authentic Greek cuisine. Greek food festivals are held in many locations throughout the year.

Research shows that citizens of the Greek island of Crete have a lower risk of heart disease and a longer life expectancy compared with people from other countries. Little surprise, then, that the Mediterranean Diet was invented on Crete.

5. Chadian

Similar to numerous other African countries, the traditional food in Chad is typically incredibly nutritious. Forming the focal point of society, marketplaces present an abundance of fresh produce. This forms the backbone of Chad cuisine, free from the preservatives, salt, and saturated fats common in pre-packaged food.

Chad’s national dish is boule, essentially a type of porridge made with nourishing grains like millet, maize, and sorghum. Fish, mutton, goat, cassava, okra, mangoes, guava, and dried pimento all feature prominently in the national cuisine. All these foods are rich in key nutrients and appear in the Paleo Diet.

6. Costa Rican

Gallo pinto is one of the healthiest dishes you can eat, with not an ounce of meat in sight. Typically made with cooked white rice, black beans, and vegetables, the key ingredient of gallo pinto is salsa Lizano sauce. Beans not only play a major role in flavoring the dish, but also coloring it, the rice turning a characteristic black color.

No meat is necessary since the rice and beans make a full protein, encompassing all seven essential amino acids. A popular breakfast dish, gallo pinto is not only incredibly healthy, but it is also surprisingly easy to make. Loaded with fiber, beans are excellent for digestion. In fact, according to the National Ageing Research Institute, the humble bean is “the most important dietary predictor of longevity.”

7. Ethiopian

Most Ethiopians do not consume pork, the traditional cuisine instead comprising a variety of different grains, lentils, lamb, eggs, spicy peppers, kale, cabbage, and tomatoes. One Ethiopian food that is particularly healthy is injera, a type of bread that is rich in both protein and fiber. Lentil edamame soup is also popular across the country, aiding digestion due to its high fiber content.

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Douglas Healy is a Springfield, Missouri-based attorney with nearly 20 years of legal experience.

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Douglas Healy

Douglas Healy

Douglas Healy is a Springfield, Missouri-based attorney with nearly 20 years of legal experience.

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