10 Diet Secrets Women Around the World Use to Stay Fit (PHOTOS)

10 Diet Secrets Women Around the World Use to Stay Fit (PHOTOS)

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We all know by now that eating well is key to staying healthy and losing weight. But let's face it, nobody wants kale smoothies EVERY day. No reason we can't look outside our super-sized nation for inspiration. 

 

Here, we've rounded up 10 of the most surprising (and surprisingly easy!) ways women around the world make every bite count.

Click through and see which ideas you can use for you and your own family.

 

Image © iStock.com/gmutlu

  • Go Fish

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    Image © iStock.com/letty17

    Fish is always on the menu in Japan, and for good reason. It "supplies important Omega 3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes," explains Dr. Marilyn Glenville, one of the U.K.'s leading nutritionists. The Japanese also frequently eat seaweed, which has important minerals that support healthy thyroid function.

    More From The Stir: QUIZ: How Smart Are You About Calories?

  • Trade Butter for Olive Oil

    2

    Image © iStock.com/RossHelen

    Plenty of seafood, veggies, grains, and fruit -- plus meat and cheese in moderation -- that's the crux of the Mediterranean diet. Another trick? Lotsa olive oil. "High amounts lower the levels of total blood cholesterol and fight inflammation," says Sharon Marey, a nutritionist at Quest Vitamins.

  • Pucker Up

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    Image © iStock.com/firsthingsfirst

    Pickled foods are a big deal in Hungary -- and a trend that's been showing up in the the States. "Eating fermented or pickled foods increases the healthy, disease-fighting probiotic bacteria in our guts," says Torey Armul, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Fermented foods can also help control blood sugar and, er, bowel regularity.

  • Eat Organic

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    Image © iStock.com/IrinaMiracle

    Breakfast really IS the most important meal of the day in Iceland. "High-quality yogurts with beneficial bacteria are a must in Icelanders' daily diet," says Dr. Glenville. Another thing this country's residents do right? Eat organic. Many foods are grown locally, and insects, not pesticides, are used in greenhouses.

    More from The Stir: 9 Low-Sugar Yogurts That Won't Bust Your Diet

  • Just Add Rye

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    No squishy white bread in this Scandinavian country. "Swedes eat plenty of high-quality complex, unrefined carbohydrates in the form of rye bread, which is served alongside a main meal," says Dr. Glenville. Why that matters? "Rye is full of fiber and keeps us fuller longer."

  • Make Whole Grains a Meal

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    Image © iStock.com/Bartosz Hadyniak

    Ethiopian meals are typically low in fat but high in nutrients. (Teff, a whole grain high in fiber, iron, and protein, is used in most dishes.) "Grains are crucial in promoting digestive health and reducing the risk of bowel cancer," says Dr. Glenville.

  • Use Chopsticks

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    Sometimes it's not what you eat, but HOW you eat it. "Using chopsticks can help you to slow down while eating, which may ultimately decrease the amount of food eaten," says Elouise Baskin, a nutritionist at NutriCentre. And of course, sipping green tea, a common custom in China, "eliminates toxins, aids digestion, and curbs cravings," says Baskin.

  • Cheers!

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    Image © iStock.com/encrier

    It's all about the red wine in France. The powerful antioxidant, reservatrol, that it contains "can protect you from damaging free radicals," says Michela Vagnini, a nutritionist for Nature's Plus in the U.K. "By promoting a healthy, inflammatory response in our body, it delays the premature aging process."

    More from The Stir: The Secret to Eating Bread & Losing Weight Revealed -- Finally!

  • Cook With Spices

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    Image © iStock.com/Vikram Raghuvanshi

    Indian food is rich with spices, many of which have fantastic health benefits. "Turmeric has significant anti-inflammatory effects, and ginger ... soothes your gut," says Adrienne Benjamin, a nutritionist with Proven Probiotics. Coriander's an anti-inflammatory that may help lower cholesterol, and chili can boost heart health.

  • Turn Up the Heat

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    Image © iStock.com/Nopparatz

    There's more to that Thai takeout than meets the eye. "Spicy foods have been linked to a faster metabolism, and the strong flavors may slow down the pace of your eating," Armul says.

    More from The Stir: 7 Surprising Breakfasts From Around the World

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