You don’t have to jet around the globe to enjoy the tension-taming, headache-soothing, and waist-whittling natural remedies from healthy women worldwide! Read on for some of the best (and easiest!) wellness practices found around the world.
Switzerland: Bolster immunity with ‘invisible’ movement.
To do errands, women in Switzerland often walk or bike to their destinations. Even though they burn only 63 more calories daily than most Americans, those regular bursts of motion encourage white blood cells to produce an infection-fighting hormone that researchers at North Carolina’s Appalachian State University say cuts your risk of illness by 55 percent. To stay healthy like the Swiss? Try parking your car farther away from your next appointment.
Finland: Steamy soaks banish toxins and boost energy.
Feeling sluggish? Slowdowns in the liver and kidneys can lead to toxin buildup that leaves you dragging. To combat this, Finnish women escape to saunas for some R&R, where steam opens the pores and boosts circulation to speed toxin removal. Get the benefits by treating yourself to a 20-minute hot bath four times a week.
Germany: Dodge weight gain by eating potatoes.
Sounds too good to be true: German women eat twice as many potatoes as American women, but are 94 percent less likely to gain weight during fall and winter months. University of Maine researchers say the vegetable’s combination of tryptophan, potassium, and magnesium triples satiety (which helps ward off snack attacks) and boosts metabolism. To keep weight gain at bay, enjoy a cup of baked, broiled, or mashed potatoes daily.
Japan: Quiet stress with the scent of jasmine.
Japanese women are known for always being on the go, which is why they turn to jasmine to bust stress anytime, anywhere. The sweet scent has been used in Japan since the 13th century, and Japanese researchers found that breathing in the floral fragrance curbs cortisol production and triggers the release of a calming brain chemical (GABA) in as little as two minutes. Stash a vial of jasmine essential oil in your purse and inhale the aroma to restore your calm throughout the day.
Japan: Cuddle your pup.
In Japan, women feel calm when they find ikigai, or a sense of purpose. And Purdue University scientists say caring for a pet or houseplants for 15 minutes daily lowers cortisol by 33 percent.
India: Soothe headaches by sipping ginger tea.
In India, women rely on ginger for more than just seasoning their favorite dishes — it’s a traditional remedy for head pain too. And for good reason: Compounds in the spice called gingerols boost the production of painkilling endorphins while dampening inflammation. Plus, a study in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that the compounds soothe headaches as effectively as over-the-counter painkillers.
Portugal: Sleep soundly with random acts of kindness.
Portugal is dubbed the “world’s friendliest country,” thanks to their culture of kindness. There, women strive to hold doors for strangers or share home-cooked meals with neighbors. And University of Pittsburgh scientists say these kind deeds increase sleep-inducing hormones, cutting your risk of insomnia in half.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.