Examining the health benefits of Latin American, Asian and African heritage diets

It could also reveal areas ripe for innovation for manufacturers looking to meet increasing consumer demand for global flavors, culturally relevant and healthier, yet convenient foods and beverages.

“The Mediterranean diet is a well-studied cultural model of healthy eating, but research on healthy models from other cultures and cuisines has been limited” — hampering the development of evidence-based, culturally appropriate dietary guidelines that could help address health disparities across demographics, researchers wrote in the study led by Kelly LeBlanc, VP of nutrition programming at the nonprofit Oldways for Food and Nutrition.

She explained to FoodNavigator-USA that nutritionists intuitively understand that different cultures and cuisines have beneficial components and that they want to honor and respect the cultural traditions of their clients by providing guidance from these different perspectives. However, currently there is no common language or sufficient evidence-based research on different cultural diets as there is for the Mediterranean diet.

By creating a common language and basic framework around different heritage diets, researchers can systematically and scientifically document and measure their health effects. They can also make evidence-based recommendations that elevate the cuisines and their benefits, she added.

In assessing diets from Latin America, Asia and Africa as cultural models for healthy eating, LeBlanc emphasized that the researchers “are not pitting one diet or one group against another” and “not saying you have to eat a certain way.” food because of your cultural or ethnic background.”

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