For quite a long time, French people are thought to have healthier and fitter body than any race in the world, as implied by the low incidence of heart diseases in France. Many people are actually surprised by this fact since French nowadays are known for their massive consumption of animal fats and alcohol, usage of cigarettes and lack of concern about engaging in exercise. What is the mystery behind this interesting phenomenon?
The French Paradox- Explained What is it in France that makes people healthier? Basically, it’s their lifestyle. The French Paradox refers to the idea that French people remain healthy as manifested by the low level of CVD cases in the country despite their massive consumption of diets rich in animal and saturated fat.
According to United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, French tend to consume more of total fat than Americans and their consumption of animal fat is thrice as much as what the Americans consume.
Below are some of the factors which are believed to be the major contributors behind the impressive health of the French people.
French takes real food. Instead of succumbing to fat and sugar-rich foods, French are known to take real foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They eat foods which baked or cooked daily and they are very likely to eat fresh fruits.
They are less likely to take sandwiches in their workplace unlike the Americans. In other places, it is usual to see walking in the streets with burger in one hand while the other hand holds a soda. In France, this rarely happens. French don’t have a habit of nibbling through snacks between meals.
French takes time. Some Europeans claim that “lunch in France is a two-hour affair”. French are known to eat several courses in a single meal but it is unusual for them to gain weight. What’s the secret? TIME. French usually takes time in preparing as well as in eating their food. According to them, savouring every single bite makes you eat less but feel fully sated. In one study, it was found out that taking time in eating positively affects the process of digestion. France is blessed with lots of great tasting and very indulging cuisines but you are less likely to see obese people.
French loves the sun. People in France love to walk around on weekends while enjoying the sun. Staying under the sun provides ample amount of Vitamin D which is beneficial in regulating the appetite as well as in promoting bone health.
French knows how to relax. Unlike in other countries, life in France passes by at a slower pace. French people take time to relax and they definitely know how to enjoy time. This makes them less susceptible to stress. The lesser the stress is, the better and healthier they become.
Physical activities. Instead of spending time in gyms, French tend to integrate physical activities with their daily life. You cannot find plenty of gyms and fitness centres in France as people there are fond of walking and cycling. Many cities in France are designed in such a way that no vehicle is needed to access certain amenities. This encourages people to walk and through time, walking has become an essential part of a daily life in France. Walking is actually beneficial in the process of metabolism. Constant walking helps in burning fat as opposed to storing them.
Wines, wines, wines… Aside from their sophisticated and luxurious way of living, France is also known for its great tasting wine. When taken in moderate amount, wines are beneficial to the body. Red wines contain molecules and antioxidants, such as flavonoids and tannins, which give potential protection to the heart. Furthermore, red wines are beneficial in strengthening the heart. This is one of the major reasons why there is a minimal record of deaths associated with cardiovascular diseases in France.
Is there a paradox? While these factors are widely believed to be the major causes behind the impressive and mysterious health of French people, many researchers have already came up with explanations behind this phenomenon.
According to research, cardiovascular diseases tend to develop for quite a period of time. Twenty to thirty years ago, French actually adopted healthy lifestyle. Today’s low incidence rate of CVD is actually accounted to the healthy lifestyle of French people in the past decades.
If recent statistics about the massive French consumption of total, animal and saturated fats are true, scientists predict that in 10-15 years, the rate of CVD cases in France will be as high those in the United Kingdom.