I love learning about other cultures of the world, especially when it comes to their health practices. I took many cultural classes in college, and these were always my favorite ones to learn about other people from. In the meantime, I learned a few health practices from other cultures in the world that I try to remember today. These practices have helped some cultures live decades beyond what we do here in America, and also suffer less stress. Consider some these things that other cultures of the world can teach you, and try to practice them in your routines too. I’ve noticed I’m much healthier and happier since doing so.
Yoga is a common daily ritual in many cultures of the world, especially India. It is not uncommon for people in other cultures to practice hours at a time. It’s a choice form of mind and body therapy, and also a cultural community practice, along with a spiritual one. I realize yoga might not be for you, but I’ve found it extremely helpful in helping me deal with stress and becoming more in tune with my emotions.
2. Three Meals a Day
Another common practice in other cultures is to only eat three meals a day. Snacking isn’t a common practice in other cultures, outside of fruits and vegetables. Snacking in the United States is a daily ritual for many of us, and while it isn’t bad, it’s something we’ve trained ourselves to do. Some people actually believe this speeds up the metabolism. Either way, I’ve found three moderately sized meals a day to be better for my energy and keeping me full than smaller meals. It’s also been much easier on my digestion and my tendencies to snack out of boredom.
Siestas, or naps, in the Hispanic cultures are a regular practice, as they also are in Greece and Italy. Naps are so healthy for you! By no means should you be trying to avoid them out of guilt. Keep them to 30 minutes to one hour, but don’t be afraid to lie down and rest if you need to. Naps can help prevent aging, stress, weight gain, and give your mood a boost! They can even help prevent snacking because you’re tired or you over-caffeinated yourself as a way to get quick energy.
4. Less Meat
Another top health benefit to learn from other cultures is to consume less meat overall. Less meat consumption not only reduces heart disease, but also weight gain. In countries such as Japan, traditionally fish, vegetables, and whole grains are the primary source of nutrients in the diet, not meat based meals. Meats aren’t only acidic, but also full of toxins. Consuming less meat is overall better for your body and better for your health.
Most all other cultures practice more natural walking than we do in America. Walking is a natural form of exercise for most all other cultures of the world. In fact, it’s not uncommon for other cultures to walk as their only means of transportation. Walking is my personal choice for exercise, and it’s one of the best to manage heart disease, weight gain, arthritis, and stress.
6. Healthy Fats
Mediterranean cultures are a fantastic culture to look to as an example for their diet. They consume plenty of healthy fats and as a result, suffer less disease, weight gain, and their skin even looks much healthier. Consuming healthy fats through plant-based fats is fantastic for you on so many levels. Choose nuts, seeds, olive oil, hemp oils, avocados, coconut, and fish.
7. Community Gatherings
How many of us go through the day and text our way to social interaction? I don’t know about you, but it’s pretty easy to do, and one of the worst things to do for your social life. Other cultures, especially Hispanic, Italian, and Greek cultures, practice community gatherings on a regular basis. Not only does it bring support for one another, but also lowers stress levels significantly. Community gatherings also usually mean less loneliness and depression, which is another health benefit all in itself. Do what you can to join more community groups in your area, whether that be through a yoga class, or something at a church or volunteer group.
8. Dinner Together
It’s very uncommon for many of us here in America to eat dinner together with our family. In fact, my family hasn’t eaten together at the table since I was 14. I’m sure your family probably eats in front of the television, as do you most of the time. Other cultures in the world usually always eat dinner together, and are much happier for it! Try planning a weekly dinner together with your family, or do it three nights a week if you can. You’ll get used to it and hopefully, over time, you might even make it a regular thing.
9. Careers Aren’t Everything
In no other culture of the world will you find as much stress associated with getting the perfect career as you will in the United States. Other cultures know there is more to life than a career, with family and spiritual priorities almost always topping their lists. Try to remember you can’t take your career with you when you leave this earth, but you can leave a legacy for those around you, and live a more peaceful life while you’re here. Do your best at your job, but don’t make it your life, because your job doesn’t define who you are or what you’re worth.
Other cultures have taught me so many things about my own life that have helped me over the years. What’s something about another culture that you think is important to our health?