14 Cultural Lessons from Around the World

14 Cultural Lessons from Around the World

Africa, Asia and South America: Bugs are there to be eaten (and enjoyed)


Bugs are easily available and highly nutritious. Moreover, mass producing insects for human consumption is far more environmentally friendly because they don’t emit masses of green house gases, require large volumes of food or water nor do they need much space. Plus they are cheap, so everyone can have access to some essential protein. If cricket snacks are good enough for Angelina Jolie’s children, then they’re certainly good enough for us.

The USA: Who said work had to be boring?

Multiple studies have shown the environment you work in affects your productivity and motivation. Many large USA offices have developed inspiring spaces for their workers. A lunch break at Yahoo offers the opportunity to have a massage, take a yoga class, go golfing or take a cardio-kickboxing class. Not one to be outdone Apple Corp provides ping pong, Lego stations, a gaming arcade and a free haircut. A sense of freedom during a working day results in work satisfaction and therefore happy workers.

Brazil: Socialise…a lot!

Journal PLoS Medicine suggests that socialising is as important as not smoking for life longevity. Being social means you make better diet choices, lower your blood pressure and improve your emotional control. An Aussie study found that out of 1,477 participates aged 70 to 90, those with the most friends lived up to 7 years longer. Brazilian’s spend an average of 74 hours a week socialising (that’s more than 3 days straight).

China: Breath, reflect, harmonise


The Chinese practice IBMT (integrated body-mind training) which encourages harmony with nature via relaxation, breathing, mental imagery and mindfulness training. Practicing IBMT for a few hours a week can improve brain function, reduce your risk of heart attacks, stroke, blood pressure, stress, anxiety and depression.

Gambia: Nibble on nuts


Gambians often substitute meat for nuts in order to get their daily protein. Eating nuts 5 times a week can reduce your risk of heart disease and heart attack by 50% and according to Harvard School they can also reduce blood pressure, insulin resistance, cholesterol, heart arrhythmia and diabetes. It is important that you use nuts as a meat substitute not a meal extra, as this will add more calories and potentially cause weight gain.

Iceland: Fish are your friends

The average Icelander eats 225 lbs of fish a year compared to our 45 lbs a year. Fish are packed with brain nourishing omega 3 fatty acids which encourage weight loss, reduce inflammation, boost brain cell function, improve mood and decrease your chance of suffering heart disease.

India: Spice up your life


Eating spicy foods reduces the rate at which you eat and increases the amount of fluid you drink, both of which promote weight loss. But the best thing about spice is their antioxidant properties. Turmeric, an ingredient in many curries, contains curcumin which reduces fat tissue growth and according to many has an anti-ageing affect on the body. Tufts University in Massachusetts found that mice who ate a high fat diet and curcumin gained less weight then those who did not consume curcumin.

Italy: Take it slow


Italians do not rush (well maybe on the road). When walking they meander, when eating they spend all evening on a meal and when working they take a 2 hour lunch break. Living every day at a slow pace reduces stress, anxiety and depression. So take your time and “rilassatevi bella”.

Japan: Eat less


Instead of pilling your plate high, hovering up the contents and then feeling stuffed, take advise from the Japanese and only eat until you are 80% full. You should listen to your stomach to determine whether you are full or not but it is essential that you take your time; it takes time for your brain to register that your stomach is full.

Mexico: Lighten your dinner load


In Mexico breakfast is the largest meal of the day, followed by a satisfying lunch and a light dinner. Eating more earlier in the day provides your body with more energy for the day. Eating less in the evening allows your body to wind down and prepare for sleep; it also reduces the likelihood of experiencing acid reflux during the night.

The Netherlands: Get on your bike


In Nederland bikes out number people and unlike in the UK they get a daily outing, whether they are ridden to work, the local shop or taken on a family day out. Driving your car is one of the most sedentary activities you do, switching your car for your bike (where possible) is as effective as cutting unnecessary calories out of your diet, says the University of Illinois.

Poland: Nothing beats a home cooked meal


The Polish only spend 5% of their money on eating out because they know that when you eat at home you tend to eat healthier. Cooking at home means you are totally in control of what you are eating, but in a restaurant you may be unaware of the creamy fat dense ingredient lurking in your supposedly healthy soup. Plus eating at home gives you a chance to get some quality family time.

Scandinavia: Less work, more play


In Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark it is rare for people to work past 5pm or work a weekend shift. Free time is highly important and clearly their values work; Copenhagen was recently reported to be one of the happiest cities in the world.

Spain: Naps aren’t just for cats


Our bodies and mental alertness naturally plateau between 1 and 2pm, so a Spanish siesta is a perfect way to refresh for the afternoon. One study concluded that Spaniards who took a 30 minute nap during the day just 3 times a week reduced their risk of experiencing a heart attack by 37%. A 20 to 30 minute nap boosts your immune system, reduces stress and reduces inflammation. If you struggle to fit a nap into your day, take a walk instead to get some vitamin D and a mood boost.

Now you can lead a multicultural inspired lifestyle to ensure your longevity and happiness.