Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Food for thought

This is the first part of our series dedicated to all things food! In it we will explore the best locations for expats led by their taste buds and uncover the best food festivals around the globe. Bon appetite!

Image source: Flickr

Diets. Whether it’s healthy food or junk food we’re always thinking about food. Eating, not only for necessity but pleasure, is an important part of life that often dictates our daily routine. However, some cuisines are better for you than others and provide great health benefits as well as tasting great.

Food may not be the sole factor for choosing to move to a certain country however it undoubtedly plays a huge part in the draw of life abroad. You can’t live somewhere you can’t eat! In this post we take a look at some of the most popular and healthy, cuisines from around the world.

Thai cuisine is one of the healthiest around. Fresh food is always available in Thailand; there are many markets and stalls which offer fresh meals at any time of day.  Meals mainly consist of rice and noodles combined with small pieces of meat or fish and lots of vegetables. This balance of ingredients makes it easy for you to keep up with your five-a-day! What’s more, many of the herbs and spices used in Thai cooking, such as Turmeric, galangal, coriander, lemongrass and fresh chillies, have immune-boosting and disease fighting effects. Thailand was ranked 2nd overall in our 2012 Expat Explorer survey with expats scoring the country highly across all categories – especially food!

The Mediterranean diet has grown in popularity over the years. It’s low in saturated fats but high in monounsaturated fats, which are far better for you. Think olive oil instead of butter! Consumption of red meat tends to be low, whereas fish and poultry - known to be far healthier - are eaten regularly.  Meals generally consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, potatoes, nuts and beans which provide you with a range of vitamins and minerals. So if you can see yourself tucking into a bowl of olives, or perhaps some sardines, why not consider countries, like Spain or Cyprus?

The Japanese have the longest life expectancy rates and the lowest rates of obesity in the developing world so it’s no surprise the Japanese diet is right up there with the best. Japanese meals are predominantly based on fish and tofu rather than meat, which can often be higher in fat. Tofu is made from bean curd and as a result is high in protein but low in fat and its versatility means that it can be served in a variety of dishes, from main meals to deserts. Seafood including octopus, crab, shrimp, lobster and seaweed all form a primary part of many dishes. Rice is also a regular accompaniment and helps to balance out the protein with essential carbohydrates. Fresh fruit and vegetables are eaten daily providing loads of vitamins and nutrients which contribute to good overall health.  Enticed by sushi or steamy noodle soups? Perhaps Japan is the place for you!

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