Sometimes we obsess over the idea that we need to lose the “extra pounds” we accumulated on vacation or simply that we need to “keep fit.” But what does it mean to “be fit”? When can we really say to be fit and healthy?
Let’s start from the premise that dieting should not be seen as a period of restrictions lasting a few weeks or months, but rather a lifestyle that we should follow forever and that contributes to our well-being (physical and mental).
Don’t worry because by following a balanced and healthy diet, bringing the right nutrients to your body, you won’t have to give up any kind of food or suffer from the bizarre diets found on the Web.
In fact, while it is true that in order to lose weight, we need to make some restrictions and eliminate some of our favorite foods (and if you’re in overweight, it is always best to consult an experienced nutritionist to guide you on a path of body recomposition), it is also true that you do not need to go hungry to get healthy again!
The perfect diets for your health
As is increasingly common to hear from experts, all we need to do is to follow some tips and pay attention to the distribution of macronutrients in our daily caloric intake to be really healthy. Having said that, you’re obviously wondering, but what are the best diets to follow throughout our lives?
This is a question I have often asked myself, so I set to work and began to do some investigations, worldwide, on the subject.
As you know by now, I am a curious traveler whose purpose is to enrich myself by learning from other cultures, in some respects, different from my own. Therefore, I have compiled a small list of the most popular and healthy diets worldwide.
The following ranking is for MERELY informational purposes and is not intended, at any time, to replace the opinion of professional figures such as a doctors, nutritionist, or dietitian.
1. Mediterranean diet
Indeed! Our beloved Mediterranean diet, an intangible heritage of mankind, leads the way. Healthy and balanced, it has a calorie regimen that encourages us to eat a little bit of everything without ever doing without the extra virgin olive oil, rich in vitamin E, vitamin D and polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties (a panacea for our skin, as you can read in this article).
2. Dash Diet
The Dash (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is the flexible eating regimen for those who want to take care of their heart and blood pressure by reducing sodium consumption. It was developed in the United States in the 1990s by the “National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute,” a body concerned with heart, lung, and blood health.
3. Nordic diet
From northern Europe, we are offered a healthy eating model based on the consumption of typical foods from countries such as Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Iceland. It promotes the consumption of seasonal and local foods and relies on foods such as whole grains; fruits and berries; vegetables, especially root vegetables (e.g., potatoes and carrots); fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring; legumes; and finally low-fat dairy products such as skyr yogurt. Its main purpose is to reduce the amount of ingested lipids and decrease insulin production.
4. Okinawa Diet
This is certainly not the end of the story, as we are also getting guidelines from the Asian continent to follow, such as the Okinawa diet that comes from the millennia-old Japanese culture. A low-calorie regimen, this typical fisherman’s diet recommends the consumption of fruits, vegetables (especially sweet potatoes and squash) and tofu.
5. Zone diet
Introduced in Italy by the multiple European champion Eddy Ottoz, who -in his wanderings around the world- had come across this extraordinary method that aims to reduce carbohydrate intake as much as possible to balance the consumption of all the nutrients the body needs, mainly protein. In fact, it is based on the 40-30-30 rule: that is, on a precise balance between macronutrients, whereby during all meals 40 percent of calories come from carbohydrates, 30 percent from protein, and 30 percent from fat.
6. Dissociated diet
Back to the United States where in 1991 Dr. William Howard introduced the world to his dissociated diet. His advice was to let at least 4 hours elapse between each meal and to decrease the consumption of fat, protein and starch by eating mixed vegetables and fruits as an alternative. This dietary regimen is based on the assumption that some foods required an acidic pH environment to be digested, while others required a basic (or alkaline) pH. Therefore, the basic rule to follow is not to combine foods belonging to the two different groups in the same meal.
7. French diet
This diet is based on local and seasonal foods and includes a wide variety of ingredients. The secret of the French lies in small portions. Although they eat foods particularly loaded with saturated fats such as cheese and meat, they do so in small daily doses thus balancing the amount of nutrients.
8. African diet
Do you like eating often? So, the African diet is for you! In fact, this dietary regimen recommends dividing food into small meals to avoid fatigue during digestion and not to store fat substances.
9. Blood type diet
Highly debated diet within the scientific world. What to eat, in this case, depends on one’s blood type. Group 0 should avoid wheat, while group A should avoid dairy products. Those in group B should prefer dairy products and grains, and finally, group AB find their way with a balanced and varied diet.
10. Protein diet
With this diet, as its very name suggests, we say goodbye to carbs and welcome protein to boost metabolism and burn calories to the max. It is the winning recipe for losing weight without compromising muscle mass (suggested especially for those who practice a lot of sports and want to achieve specific results). It is not exactly “sustainable” throughout our lifespan, but it all depends on what your physical goals and objectives are.
The field of diets is huge. Every dietary regimen has something to offer our bodies, the important thing is not to get too carried away.
This article is not intended to be a substitute for any medical advice, simply a compilation of what I have found to be the most interesting global eating styles. If you have health problems or the need to lose weight, remember to do the appropriate research and, most importantly, see a medical specialist.