A recent study by the Imperial College London has revealed life expectancy projections for men and women in 35 industrial countries, including little ol' New Zealand, for 2030.

These should be some pretty precise predictions with over 50 years' worth of data analysed using 21 different models. According to news.com.au the researchers hypothesise that life expectancy will increase in every one of the countries with an average probability of 65 per cent for women and 85 per cent for men; and that South Korea will beat out Japan for the top spot with women, for the first time, expected to live into their 90's (90.8) and 84 for men.

New Zealand scored in the middle for life expectancy for women, reaching around 86 in 2030. And men's life expectancy reaching about 83 in 2030. The gap is closing from 2010 where there was 4 years between men and women which is a trend in the majority of other countries as well.

The authors noted a few reasons as to why countries had high life expectancy, including low body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure. In New Zealand's case they praised our good health care systems, low rates of care-related injuries, and low infant mortality and smoking rates.


Clearly a healthy diet is a big part of having a long and healthy life so we thought we could take some lessons from some of the countries that gained the highest life expectancy projections.

South Korea

Unlike the classic NZ meat-centric diet that consists largely of sausies and steak done on the barbie Korea prioritise plants.

Kimchi is a Korean classic which comprises of fermented vegetables full of fibre, probiotics and antioxidants. However utterly unappealing this sounds kimchi is surprisingly tasty.

Bibimap is another delicious vegetable-based dish with rice, red pepper paste, egg and a little meat. Nutritionist Joshua Rosenthal, of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition based in New York, says that "it goes down so easily, and it's full of healthy foods."


When we think of France it brings up dribble-inducing images of croissants, macarons, baguettes, creamy, stinky cheese and slatherings of butter - yet they have higher than average life expectancies. Women born in 2030 are projected to live for 88.6 years while men born in 2030 are expected to live to around 81.7 years old.

Just to be clear we are not saying you can binge on all of these high fat foods and not see any detrimental effects.

The French have a different approach to eating. As nutritionist Rosenthal puts it "it's not just what you're eating, it's how you're eating."

A meal is a social event. So rather than blobbing in front of the TV and mindlessly shovelling food into your mouth (guilty!) they socialise with family and friends which makes it more of a fun experience.

So take a lesson from the French because this one is good for you in many ways.


This may or may not be an excuse to eat more sushi but according to the World Health Organisation, Japan is the current world leader in the life expectancy stakes with women living to the old age of 87 and men, 80, on average. Those figures are set to rise in 2030 to 88.4 for women and 82.8 for men.

So what can we learn from their diet?

The bad news: their portion sizes are particularly small. The good news: the food is absolutely delicious.

The Japanese eat a largely plant-based diet and when they do eat meat it tends to be fresh fish which contains high amounts of omega 3.

Some diet staples include miso soup which is full of gut-helping probiotics, vegetables which contain numerous essential vitamins and minerals, and seaweed which is high in iodine and calcium.

That's thanks in large part to a healthy traditional diet centered around small portions of plant-based, nutrient-rich food.

To top it off they drink green tea which is well known to be a rich source of antioxidants and EGCG which is thought to ward of cancer.


Nordic countries are world-renowned for doing it right and when it comes to food and it is no different with Switzerland. With projected average life expectancies in the year 2030 of 84 years for men and 87.7 years for women we could learn a thing or two from their diets.

Although they are well-known for their cheese and chocolate, the Swiss balance this with heaps of probiotic-full yoghurt.

The probiotics in yoghurt support healthy digestion, provide protein and help to boost your immune function.

While Kiwis tend to add this protein-rich dairy product to our muesli, dessert or curries the Swiss see it as a meal in itself. "It's a really big thing over there," reveals Rosenthal.

Rosenthal notes their yoghurt of choice is of the full-fat, no added sugar variety. Those fruit flavoured, sweetened pottles will not quite cut it.