They say that you can easily check on a nation’s overall wellbeing by taking a look at its diet. Oxfam – an international conglomerate of charities whose goals are to end world poverty – recently looked at data from the World Health Organisation, the International Labour Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation to take a closer look at various countries around the globe to find out whose diets are high in nutrition, and which are affordable to all.
Their resulting index ranked 125 countries according to how people citizens eat, how affordable the food is, how nutritious the food is, as well as whether there are any negative health outcomes, such as high weight gain, heart disease, or diabetes.
European countries figure high on the list, thanks to low food pricing and largely high diet diversification. Netherlands was the highest rated. Undeveloped nations in Africa ranked lower, with Chad taking the bottom spot. Let’s take a closer look at Oxfam’s findings to see which countries have the best diets on the planet.
We’ve all heard about the bella Italian cuisine, so it probably comes as no surprise to find them on this list. From the creative pizzas of Naples to the trattorias found in Rome, the Italian’s are always cooking up a storm.
Anyone who is a foodie is encouraged to visit Italy, where pretty much everyone enjoys home cooking. As well as taste, Italian’s also focus on healthy food too, and they cover just as many food groups as anyone else. Italy also has comparatively low diabetes and obesity rates.
You can’t have a list of the world’s best diets and not include Japan. Not only do the Japanese have some of the best mortality rates in the whole world, but they also eat really small meals compared to, well, the rest of us!
They don’t just eat small portions – they eat colourfully, too. For the Japanese, the presentation of a meal is just as important as the taste. Seasonal vegetables, rainbow sushi and seaweed is all part of the mercurial Japanese diet, and you could do a lot worse than visit a sushi restaurant at least once a week.
The Emerald Isle is an island home to myths, legends and leprechauns. Throw in rock coastlines, miserable weather and a rather volatile political history, and you’ve got a really interesting nation!
But few people focus on Ireland as a nation of healthy eaters. It’s definitely there, and the Irish diet is accessible and creative, with the natives getting stuck into a whole host of nutritious stews, beef cuts, kale, seafood, mashed potatoes and much more.
Only 4% of Irish people suffer from malnutrition, while only a 1/4 are obese.
The Netherlands is home to the healthiest diet on the planet, according to Oxfam’s conclusions. Here, you will find Gouda cheese – which is one of the very few food sources of vitamin K2 on the whole planet – healthy rye breads, Groningen sausages and snert pea soup. All of this is affordable and supremely good for you.
The locals also enjoy clean water too, and just 6.3% of them suffer from diabetes. So, the next time your best friend offers you pannekoeken for lunch, don’t raise your eyebrows and say you’ll stick to your cheeseburger instead – take them up on their offer!
The Nigerian diet is one of the best in Africa, and is becoming more and more popular in other parts of the world. Their daily diet is high in vitamins, minerals and fibre, and low in carbs. Among their foods are brown rice, yams, coconut oils and cassava.
Chinese takeaways have proliferated on European high streets in recent years, and for good reason. Eating with chopsticks slows down eating speed, which means you aren’t always tempted to overeat. You feel full at the right time, and are able to say that enough is enough.
The Chinese will, indeed, literally eat anything, from insects to duck. But, hey, they know where the protein is at.
However healthy the Chinese diet is, it isn’t the most affordable.
Switzerland is famous for being a neutral country that doesn’t look to get involved with things like war, but it’s also well known for its peoples’ longevity. The Swiss love to tuck into pungent cheeses and delicious chocolates, but they also cram their daily diets with muesli cereals, buckwheat pastas, cured sausages and stews. If there an Alpine cure could be found via a diet, it is right here.
Only 17% of Swiss are officially classed as obese, while every single one of them has access to fresh, clean water.
Ethiopian’s have one of the best diets in Africa. Their traditional dish, Injera, is rich in vitamin C, protein and fibre, while the rest of their daily diet is largely composed of beans, root veggies and lentils. They eat few animal products and little dairy, while most of their family meals are shared and scooped up with a few slices of injera. This way of eating helps to prevent them from overeating.
The Danes have probably been eating well for thousands of years. After all, you don’t become a gruff viking who can take on new lands unless you’ve got a belly full of nutrition, right?
The Danish dietary tradition hasn’t actually changed all that much since the days of yore, with its roots firmly planted in the folksy cooking traditions of their forefathers. The peasants may have have been rich, but they had access to earthy vegetables and fish, and they knew how to get the best out of them.
The Danish diet, then, is largely centred around Baltic fish cuts and a fantastic range of veggies that the Nordic natives are able to turn into something magical.
Like the Japanese, South Korean’s aim for balanced portions rich in seasonal vegetables. They rely on fish for their protein, and always keep their quantities of noodles and beef sensible.
The rate of cardiovascular disease here is among the lowest on the planet.
Stay happy and healthy!