What is the Hunza Diet?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

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.

Whole grain foods such as wheat make up a large portion of the Hunza diet.
Whole grain foods such as wheat make up a large portion of the Hunza diet.

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.

Apricots are part of the Hunza diet.
Apricots are part of 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.

Grapes make up a part of the Hunza diet.
Grapes make up a part of the Hunza 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 can include mulberries.
The Hunza diet can include mulberries.

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.

Fresh vegetables make up 30% of the Hunza Diet.
Fresh vegetables make up 30% of the Hunza Diet.

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.

The Hunza diet includes nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit.
The Hunza diet includes nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit.

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.

Dairy products, such as milk, can be used when on a Hunza diet.
Dairy products, such as milk, can be used when on a Hunza diet.
Research suggests that any person who eats a low-calorie yet healthful diet may extend his longevity and boost overall health.
Research suggests that any person who eats a low-calorie yet healthful diet may extend his longevity and boost overall health.
Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments

anon280304

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.

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