7 healthy habits from around the world

We explore some of the globe’s healthiest cuisines to see how their eating habits contribute to wellbeing – and find some recipes to inspire you.


Home of the famed Mediterranean diet, Greek cuisine incorporates olive oil, dairy products, legumes, fish, fruit and vegetables while being relatively low in meat consumption.

It’s been linked to increased levels of omega-3 acids as well as a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes thanks to a lack of saturated fats in the diet.

How to incorporate it at home

Replace other cooking oils with extra virgin olive oil, using it to bake or fry, in dips and marinades.

A 2011 study found consuming 500mg of olive leaf extract per day can also significantly reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure conditions.

Recipes to try


Japanese people statistically live longer than any other population in the world and it largely comes down to their diet.

Nutritionally dense and rich in seafood, Japanese cuisine is high in omega-3 fatty acid and protein.

Fermented foods such as miso paste and soy are also widely consumed, helping to ease digestion while supporting the immune system.

How to incorporate it at home

Drink green tea – it is an integral element of Japanese cuisine, with research suggesting it can fight free radicals, detoxify the body and reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and mortality rates when consumed regularly.

Recipes to try


“The Israeli diet has an abundance of fresh vegetables, legumes and lean proteins,” explains Sydney nutritionist and Travelling Dietititan blogger Kara Landau.

“Their portion sizes aren’t excessive and they eat an abundance of local and in-season foods to ensure maximum flavour and nutrient retention.”

How to incorporate it at home

Homemade hummus, made from chickpeas, is the perfect snack to introduce into your diet because it is packed with protein, fibre and folate, keeping you full while stabilising blood sugar.

Recipes to try


Research by the University Of Cambridge School Of Clinical Medicine in 2015 determined Chad residents follow the healthiest diet in the world.

The cuisine comprises a variety of legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, fruit, vegies, seafood and meats, with little to no processed foods or beverages.

There is also a substantial lack of trans fats and sodium in the diet, which greatly reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

How to incorporate it at home

Boule, a thick, unprocessed grain porridge, is a common dish throughout Chad that prevents constipation and lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

For similar health benefits, try organic steel cut porridge.

Recipes to try


Traditional Indian dishes are substantially different to westernised Indian.

For starters, the cuisine is largely plant-based with little, to no, meat.

Rich in protein and fibre, the cuisine’s anti-inflammatory properties promote improved gut health and reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

How to incorporate it at home

Turmeric is a widely used spice in Indian cuisine, packed with medicinal properties.

It contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and strong antioxidant.

Use it in your favourite curry recipe, as a spicy tea or even in supplement form.

Recipes to try


Takeaway culture has unfairly lumped Mexican cuisine as junk food.

“Mexican food is actually incredibly diverse and there are so many regional dishes,” says California State ethnic studies professor Luz Calvo.

Calvo challenges misconceptions surrounding Mexican cuisine in investigative cookbook Decolonize Your Diet.

Prior to Spanish colonisation, the Mesoamerican diet was heavily plant-based with little to no meat.

“Spaniards introduced wheat, sugar, dairy, pork, and beef,” Calvo says.

“These foods, when eaten in excess, tend to cause diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

Thankfully, many of these healthy traditional dishes are still incorporated in Mexican cuisine.

How to incorporate it at home

Beans such as black beans and pinto beans are a staple side dish in Mexican cooking because they’re inexpensive, low in GI and high in protein.

Recipes to try


The longevity of Swedes isn’t directly linked to specific eating habits, but rather the nation’s general lifestyle habits.

A popular Swedish expression, “lagom”, best encapsulates Swedish living and translates to “not too much and not too little”.

This no-nonsense approach promotes healthy living, such as portion control when eating, adequate exercise throughout the week and avoiding lifestyle extremities, such as excessive drinking and dieting and insufficient sleep.

How to incorporate it at home

It’s basically the Scandinavian equivalent of everything in moderation and while the saying is common in the west, the practice itself isn’t as commonly executed.

Recipes to try

Get some time back in your day for more fun stuff with these quick and easy dishes:

Written by Charlotte Brundrett.