Take Health Cues from Diets in 4 Locations

Four places in the world have been found to be disease “cold spots,” or places where the prevalence of certain diseases is almost non-existent.  Some of the lifestyle factors taken from people native to these areas may help you live a healthier life free from diabetes, cancer, depression, and heart disease.  In the Yahoo! Health article “Secrets of the world’s healthiest people,” Lisa Collier Cool discusses Daphne Miller, MD’s findings.

Although the Pima Indians in the United States have the highest rates of Type 2 Diabetes in the world, their close genetic relatives the Tarahumara Indians have almost no occurrences of Type 2 Diabetes.  So despite the genetic disposition, the Tarahumara Indians of Copper Canyon, Mexico live a lifestyle that keeps this disease away.  Some of what they do can be easily transferred into our lives to ward off Type 2 Diabetes.  First, they live an active lifestyle full of exercise.  But their diet is a big contributing factor as well.  They do eat a plethora of carbs, but mostly beans, corn, and hand made tortillas.  In addition to their unrefined carbs, the use of herbs and spices like garlic, cinnamon, parsley, and clove seems to help their blood sugar.

Darkness prevails much of the year in Iceland, which has been attributed to higher rates of depression in many countries.  But the Icelandic people actually have the lowest rates of depression in the world.  Dr. Miller believes that eating a large amount of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids prevents Iceland’s residents from having depression and can even treat symptoms.  They eat a lot of fish, lamb that feeds on omega-3 rich moss, and birds that eat the omega-3 rich fish.  Icelandic people also eat some foods that Americans may see as odd, including pickled lamb testicles and putrefied shark that has been buried in the ground.

In Cameroon, West Africa, cancer is very rare.  Colon cancer and bowel disorders are nearly nonexistent.  This has been attributed to a diet low in red meat and high in fiber.  A recent study of more than 400,000 people determined that eating high fiber diets can lead to a longer life and a lower risk of many health problems like heart disease.  In West Africa, their low red meat and high fiber diet is thought to be a contributing factor to low cancer rates.  They also eat fermented foods frequently, similar to those in Iceland.  Relishes, pickled foods, and other fermented foods improve the immune system with their good bacteria levels.

The Mediterranean diet has been thought to lower the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems.  A forty year study in Europe found the Island of Crete to be the place where men lived the longest and healthiest lives.  This is the location where the healthy Mediterranean diet came about.  They use a lot of extra virgin olive oil, rarely eat red meat, and eat a lot of omega-3 rich seafood like they do in Iceland.  A high-fiber bread called rusks, wild greens, and yogurt with honey are also items in the Mediterranean diet thought to prevent blood clots and heart disease.

Many of the foods and lifestyle factors in these four places can be easily adopted to help lower your own risk of Type 2 Diabetes, cancers, heart disease, and depression.  Health insurance companies like Aultcare may be well-served to inform their customers of these fairly simple additions to their diet that can keep health problems away.  If doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies help to inform the public, we can hope to lower the rates of many of these often deadly diseases.

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