For many, holidays might be a time to let go and forget about the diet. Thanks to a new study from Hayes & Jarvis, there’s an easy way to find the countries with well-rounded cuisines.
The study identifies how close the nutrients in a meal are to the recommended proportions per calorie, and is built from popular breakfasts, lunches, dinners and claimed national dishes. Travel experts Hayes & Jarvis has delved into national dishes from 34 countries across the globe, revealing that India has the World’s Healthiest Diet. The study explored over 102 different dishes from budding breakfasts to hearty dinners – illustrating the global leaders in healthier lifestyles.
At the top end of the scale, the healthiest countries included:
India – While masala dosas are on the bulkier side for a lunch option, they’re comparatively healthy, calorie for calorie, as saturated fats are lower than you might expect, fibre is very high, and micronutrients like Vitamins C and A are well balanced.
China – Keeping to recommended carb limits and remarkably low sugars for the number of calories per meal, steamed buns, kung pao chicken and beef chow mein also keep cholesterol quite low.
Sri Lanka – The vegetable, fish, and chicken curries that make up some of Sri Lanka’s most popular dishes all make for a lighter diet with no fatty red meat and plenty of nutrients, including the best balance of calcium across all national diets.
Australia – Australia’s zucchini (courgette) fritters, and avocado & vegemite toast, mean that vegetable options are high.
Oman – Much of Oman’s dietary advantage comes from its micronutrients, with vitamins, iron, and calcium all being close to recommended levels. On a larger scale, it’s not quite as healthy as the rest in the top five.
USA – Often renowned for big portions, the US actually boasts some comparatively balanced iconic meals, with a simple hamburger actually proving high in iron and protein, if a little high in saturated fats.
While it’s not as bad as Brazil, England didn’t fare well either. Coming in at 29th out of the 34 countries, the combination of a Full English, a Sunday roast, and a chicken tikka masala makes the England offering not so strong on the fibre – especially in comparison with a high-fibre Indian diet.
Despite the high saturated fat, however, the chicken tikka is actually England’s healthiest dish. But that isn’t saying much – the popular UK dinner is only the 64th healthiest dish in the world, out of a list of 102.
Lesley Rollo, Managing Director at Hayes & Jarvis, comments, “Food can be one of the best parts of travelling abroad. Trying new things and tasting authentic flavours is all part of the holiday experience….This tool can’t cover every meal in the world, but offers a fantastic overview into what different cultures cook and the type of delicacies that can be found around the world. We hope the tool helps influence future travel plans and inspires travellers to try new holiday destinations and local cuisines whilst away.”