The Healthiest Diets From The Ancient World Are Due For A Comeback

Blue Zone, Mediterranean, and more!
Written by
Brian Leddy
Top view black olives with fresh vegetables greens 2023 11 27 04 55 09 utc large

Let's tap into the wisdom of our ancestors and explore how traditional diets can supercharge your health!

These time-tested eating patterns have nourished generations and are packed with wholesome, unprocessed ingredients that your body craves.

The Mediterranean Diet

This one's all about vibrant veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, all drizzled with heart-healthy olive oil.

It lends itself to some delicious food combos has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and even some types of cancer.

  1. Core Principles: Emphasis on whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Olive oil as the primary fat source. Moderate consumption of fish and poultry. Limited intake of red meat and processed foods.

  2. Examples: Greek salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, feta cheese, olive oil), lentil soup, grilled fish with lemon and herbs, chickpea stew.

  3. Health Benefits: Associated with reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Also linked to improved cognitive function and longevity.

Asian Cuisine

For the purposes of this article, we're going to group together certain Japanese, Chinese, and Indian cuisines where there's an overlap in key ingredients that support healthy practices.

From sushi to stir-fries, Asian cuisine is a treasure trove of plant-powered goodness.

Fermented foods like kimchi and miso add a tangy twist while boosting your gut health, and spices like turmeric and ginger pack an anti-inflammatory punch.

  1. Core Principles: Plant-based focus with an abundance of vegetables, fruits, and grains. Use of fermented foods like kimchi, miso, and tempeh. Spices and herbs for flavor and potential health benefits. Mindful eating practices.

  2. Examples: Sushi (seaweed, rice, fish), stir-fries with tofu and vegetables, lentil dahl, green tea.

  3. Health Benefits: Linked to lower rates of obesity, heart disease, and certain cancers. Fermented foods promote gut health, while spices like turmeric and ginger offer anti-inflammatory benefits.

Blue Zone Diets

Ever heard of the Blue Zones? These are regions around the world where people live exceptionally long, healthy lives (Italy, Greece, Costa Rica, Japan, etc).

Their secret? A plant-based diet rich in legumes, whole grains, and fresh produce.

  1. Core Principles: Inspired by the dietary patterns of communities with exceptional longevity (Blue Zones). Plant-based diet with a focus on legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Limited intake of meat and dairy.

  2. Examples: Lentil soup, minestrone, whole-wheat bread, bean salads, fruit smoothies.

  3. Health Benefits: Research suggests this dietary pattern can lead to longer life expectancy, reduced risk of chronic diseases, and improved overall health.

Indigenous Diets

Taking cues from indigenous cultures in North America and their people's deep connection to the land. These traditional diets, featuring wild game, fish, berries, and nuts, are packed with nutrients and free from processed junk.

  • Core Principles: Deep connection to the land and traditional food sources. Emphasis on wild game, fish, berries, nuts, seeds, and roots. Minimal processing and preservation techniques.

  • Examples: Bison stew, salmon with wild rice, berry compotes, acorn bread.

  • Health Benefits: Traditionally, these diets were associated with excellent health and low rates of chronic diseases. They tend to be high in protein, fiber, and micronutrients while low in processed foods and added sugars.

By embracing the wisdom of traditional diets, you're not just eating delicious food, you're nourishing your body with time-tested ingredients that promote health and longevity. 

The biggest commonality between all of the above is the lack of processed foods.

So if you were to only get one takeaway from this article, consider the amount of processed foods you're currently consuming and the potential toxic effect that might have on your body. 

Brian Leddy Profile Image
Brian Leddy CEO & Co-Founder, BodyStack (FDN-P)
Certified Functional Diagnostic Practitioner (FDN-P) and owner of Leddy Functional Wellness. Formerly an Adweek Executive and Media Entreprenuer, Brian pivoted his career to focus on inspiring and coaching people from all walks of life to make positive strides in their respective health journeys. Brian is a Co-Founder, and now serves as the CEO of BodyStack.
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