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There are many different diets available for people who wish to lose weight, live healthier lifestyles, or cure certain ailments. The Hunza diet is a low-fat option that has grown in popularity. The meal plan is based on the diet of the Hunza people of the Middle Eastern Kashmir Valley.
The Hunza people are known for their unusual longevity. Most members of the group live up to 120 to 140 years of age. When death comes, it is typically attributed to old age rather than the diseases that claim so many lives in the Western world. It is widely believed that this extreme longevity is due to the Hunza diet.
Unprocessed whole foods make up the backbone of the Hunza diet. Forty percent of total calories consumed come from whole grain foods, such as wheat, millet flour, buckwheat, or ground barley. Fresh vegetables make up an additional 30 percent of the diet. Mulberries, apricots, grapes, and other fresh fruits account for 15 percent of total calories in the diet.
Most of the rest of the diet includes beans and nuts or seeds. Of all of these foods eaten, most are consumed raw. Processing, if any, typically involves drying fruits in the sun. Milk and dairy products like yogurt are also eaten regularly, and provide protein as well as intestinal flora.
The Hunza diet typically includes a only small amount of meat. Traditionally, meat was reserved for celebrations or special occasions, though this could change when meat was readily available. This translates to a very low concentration of saturated fat by the Hunza people, preventing diseases such as gout, osteoporosis, kidney disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, kidney stones, colon diseases, and heart disease. Most of these conditions are considered the cause of death for many people in the West.
Results from the Hunza diet include a healthy digestive tract due to the high amount of fiber from the whole grain diet. Most of the Hunza people are said to possess a keen enthusiasm for life, as well as boundless energy. The diet is also credited with producing a calm serenity that counteracts the common stress involved with Western life. Long-lasting youth is another reported benefit of the Hunza diet.
Living as high as the peaks of the Himalayan Mountains, the Hunza are essentially cut off from the rest of the world. Their small population of 30,000 people are considered one of the happiest cultural groups in the world. Even at age 100, Hunza people do not consider themselves old. Some Hunza men produce children at this age.
All the animal foods that they consume are raw, not pasteurized. They sprout many of their nuts and seeds and they sprout many of their grains. They do eat meat (not poultry) a number of times a year in the colder months. Most of their food is consumed raw. They use oil for medicinal reasons and not for cooking.