Happy Tummy Happy Heart

Happy Tummy Happy Heart

These days we cannot travel, restaurants are closed, the new reality, right? We all miss not being able to travel and indulge in great international cuisine.  A big part of travel, here and abroad, is to treat your taste buds. Has it been a while since you have had a chance to travel or indulge at your favorite “go-to” dining? Is it Japanese, Indian, French, Chinese, Greek or Mexican food you miss?

We put together some healthy eating tips from around the world. So, take a tour, gather the ingredients and use some quarantine time to whip up something exciting for your taste buds. Healthy for your heart, as well. Each cuisine has a healthy trick, use them all and enjoy.  Relish the memories of trips and meals gone by.

Indian foods offer the opportunity to add plant-based protein to your diet. The word “dal” means lentils to make thick stews and soups. Lentils, chickpeas, or dried peas or beans are high in protein and fiber. No fat low in calories so linked to better diets for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Italian food is best eaten slowly giving you an opportunity to relax and connect with your family and friends. When you slow down your eating you eat less. Italian food is often served in multi-courses with small amounts on each plate. Such as, 1 cup of pasta or risotto plus salad and a 3-4ounce serving of protein, as other courses.  When the social aspect becomes more important than the food, your brain gets the signal that you are full sooner. Dieticians studies have shown that, persons eating in under 10 minutes versus at least 25 minutes will eat 600 calories more a day. The study showed that 2-3 hours after those eating slowly, still had a very low level of ghrelin, the hormone that triggers hunger, ego less snacking.

Greek food is not so much a way of eating, as a way of life. The benefit of Greek food come from their use of good fats, olive oil, avocados, some fatty fish and nuts. An American Heart Association 2014 study of Mediterranean diets has a 30 % lower risk of cardiovascular disease than lo-fat diets.  That is what makes grilled salmon with pistachio sauce both yummy and beneficial.

In traditional South American cultures having a large midday meal, often taking an hour or more, and a smaller dinner, such as tapas is metabolically healthier. When your biggest meal is late in the day, it will lead to higher overall cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and higher triglycerides. Often a large meal too close to bedtime can trigger heartburn and affect your sleep because the body is working so hard to digest all the food while burning minimal calories. South Americans also advocate whole foods over processed foods. Process foods pack extra calories, sodium, chemicals to our diet, none of which we need.

Japanese theory is that you eat until you are 80% full. So, while eating recognize your internal hunger and fullness cues. Stop, before you hit the “I can’t eat another bite”

Vietnamese  food often starts with a “Pho” or soup.  Soups can be an excellent way to add noodles or rice, vegetables and small amounts of protein and give you a sense of fullness in your tummy.

French food is most often a treat. So, don’t deprive yourself of small portions of really rich satisfying food. The French have a theory if you are craving something, have a small portion, savor it. When we don’t eat what we are craving we will often eat more of something less desirable.  When you don’t eat something, a small piece of really rich dark chocolate for instance, you can end up eating ½ dozen Oreo! Not a good exchange!

So, look back in your memories, go online and find a recipe for your favorite international food memory. Better yet try a food hack from all the above, you will be healthier and happier, too. Happy Tummy Happy Heart.

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