People are getting more and more conscience about their bodies and their health. A lot of people I know are therefore following a diet for health reasons or because they want to look good.
Many different diets have found their way into our kitchens. We’ve got the Keto, Paleo, Atkins, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free, Weight Watchers, Mediterranean, The Zone, The Anti Candida, Juice, Raw Food, Flexitarian, Dash, Alkaline, low carb diet and many, many more,
But they all recommend you to eat (or leave out) different things? Confusing! Should it be?
In February 2019, Bloomberg published; the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index. The index ranks 169 economies according to factors that contribute to overall health, from behavioural nature to environmental characteristics.
Spain came out to be the world’s healthiest country, followed by Italy and Iceland and leaving behind the US and Mexico at place 35 and 53. Researchers say eating habits may provide clues to health levels enjoyed by Spain and Italy, as a Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, had a lower rate of major cardiovascular events than those assigned to a reduced-fat diet.
The Mediterranean diet contains vegetables, fruits, legumes, potatoes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil. In moderation it has eat poultry, eggs, cheese and yoghurt. It is very low on red meat and avoids sugar, sugary beverages, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and other processed foods.
Combine the above with the information we have from the so-called ‘Blue Zones’ in the world. Blue Zones are regions of the world where people live much longer than average. In his book “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from People Who’ve Lived the Longest”, Dan Buettner writes people inhabiting Blue Zones share common lifestyle characteristics that contribute to their longevity.
He found that having a strong sense of purpose, a circle of healthy friends and exercise are all as important as a good diet. With regards to the diet, the longest-lived are getting 95 per cent of their calories from plants and only 5 % from animal products. Contrary to what the Keto, Paleo or Atkins diet says, these folks actually eat a high carb diet.
If you look at the evolution of us, the homo sapiens, food-wise it all makes sense.
In ‘Sapiens a Brief History of Human Kind’ you can read about the evolution of our human species. For 2.5 million years humans fed themselves gathering wild plants and hunting wild animals.
Our ancestors are chimpanzees and bonobos, with the chimpanzee being our closest relative. So what do chimpanzees eat? It’s roughly comparable with the above, 97% plant based and 3% animal based diet.
It was only 10.000 years ago that we began to devote all our time to and effort to manipulate the lives of a few animal and plant species to the point where we are today. But it seems we are still omnivore apes descendants who thrive best on a wide variety of 95% plant- and 5% animal based foods. Or just go vegan!🌱🌎
Photo by Laura MacNeil on Unsplash