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Revealed - the world’s healthiest diets and dishes

Clive Wedderburn October 10, 2018

Warning: This blog will make you feel hungry.

Ever wondered what the healthiest eating country is in the world? Like me, would you presume it would be somewhere in the Mediterranean. We're both wrong. 

If you’re a foodie wondering where to plan your next world road trip, here’s the answer. Hayes & Jarvis have launched their guide to the healthiest national diets in the world. Featuring signature dishes, calorie counts, nutrient intake plus intriguing details such as life expectancy; this is certainly a very revealing study.  

The world's healthiest breakfast?

This is your chance to impress friends with your expert culinary knowledge. The study identifies how close the nutrients in a meal are to the recommended proportions per calorie, and is built from popular breakfasts, lunches, dinners and claimed national dishes. Explore 65 countries and destinations worldwide, from China to the US, as well as 102 different meal options. 

The results are surprising to say the least. For example, Hong Kong Sweet-and-Sour chicken and rice comes out on top in the breakfast charts, being low on salt and saturated fat and high Vitamin C. Contrast this with the Anglo-Indian classic, chicken tikka masala, ranking just 64th on a list of 102 dinner meals.

Smoked Marlin Fishcakes – a meal common in Mauritius, is one of the healthiest meals on the study’s menu – and as well as a great nutritional balance, they tend to be lighter on calories. As if we needed more reasons to visit this stunning island, but hey - there's one.

Much of Oman’s dietary advantage comes from its micro-nutrients, with vitamins, iron, and calcium all being close to recommended levels. On a larger scale, it’s not quite as healthy as the rest in the top five – but the mixed rice dishes of kabsa, the “upside-down” pot of meat and vegetables maqluba, and the porridge-like harees are worth investigating on your next trip to Muscat.

Is Indian food healthy?

In India – masala dosas maybe on the bulkier side as a lunch option, but they’re also comparatively healthy, calorie for calorie, as saturated fats are lower than you might expect, fibre is very high, and micronutrients like Vitamins C and A are well balanced. Street food tour of Mumbai, perhaps? 

For many other fascinating facts about the healthy (and unhealthy) diets of countries from across the globe take a look at the impressive guide and see where we and your favourite countries worldwide rank against the rest of the world. It may just change the way you eat (or even change the way you travel).

For more insights into world cuisine head to our foodie holiday page and start planning your next journey to discover the best places to visit for top-notch food, sampling the world one bite at a time.

Notes to Editors

Calories are used exclusively to determine daily reference intake proportions for each meal. Rankings are determined by proximity of levels of nutrients to the reference intake for a meal of that size, including micronutrients not shown in the tool.