It’s no secret that the average Australian’s diet is starting to replicate that of America’s and in turn, causing many health problems and an obesity epidemic.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in Australia and your diet is the main factor in whether or not you will suffer from it.
But while the average Australian diet is getting worse, our nation’s ever growing multiculturalism has lead to us having one of the greatest ranges of restaurants and cuisines in the world.
Every nation and culture has a different staple diet and in turn, you can see which of those is the best when you look at what country has the longest living people.

No ladies live longer on average than the Japanese women do. So how do they live such long lives? Well if you look at a typical Japanese diet, it comprises of a lot of vegetables, rice and a plenty of fish. Human beings have been feeding on fish for millenniums, but in the western world it seems we have forgotten just how good fresh seafood is for us. Compared to most land animals, fish comprises of mostly good fats and fatty acids, proteins and it’s also much easier to digest than other meats.
This extends to other seafood as well. Muscles, prawns, oysters etc all have great benefits for the body in the same regard. The sea animals with a predominantly planted-based diet (that is, they don’t eat other fish) are the most nutrient rich and therefore the best for eating.

Another nation that is one of the longest living in the world is Italy. This may surprise some as you often associate Italian food with big cheesy pizzas and big creamy pastas. And the word “big” isn’t an exaggeration. Nobody has ever been to an Italian family gathering and gone home hungry. But while Italians are advocates for quantity, they’re also very passionate about quality too.
Pasta out of the packet or pizza from Dominoes or Pizza Hut isn’t eating Italian. Traditional Italians make their pasta, pasta sauce and pizza bases from scratch which often removes ingredients with preservatives and refined sugars.

A good general rule for health is: if the use by date is longer than two weeks, it’s probably not that good for you. The fresh produce in the Italian diet contains plenty of vegetables and fruits as well as olive oil which is great for health also. It’ll also feature plenty of fresh herbs. Our very own MAZi chef John Lanzafame – who is a second generation Italian Australian – tells of another great rule of Italian cuisine.
“People in Italy often don’t eat the same foods all year round,” Lanzafame said. “They will eat only what is in season. It’s not like in Australia where will often eat frozen produce.”
This theory is perfect in the reality of health. Every raw food has it’s own health benefits. The healthiest meal you can eat is a plate many different colours. However that doesn’t mean Skittles, Fruit Loops or Fairy Bread are good for you!

The people of Switzerland too are known to have longer lives than the rest of the world. But much like Australia, their cuisine is often a mix of various European dishes. The Swiss mix their varied diet with an active lifestyle. Walking and cycling is very common for transport while snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding are very popular past times.
Now for the most part, Australians are healthy. We are also one of the longest living people in the world. But if the trend of increased demand for fast food and dishes high in sugar continues, we will slide down the table. Our baby boomer generation really is booming, so it’s often a good idea to listen to what their diets were growing up.
We are also lucky as Australians to have one of the most multicultural societies in the world. This means we have one of the greatest choices of cuisines in the world.
We truly are the lucky country.
© Lantern Club, Roselands