No commercial plantations remain in the DR, but cane stalks can still be found on family farms. Don’t let the word “sugar” mislead you. Cane juice is as natural and potent as wheatgrass. Dominicans chew the stalk for a sweet way to reduce fevers and hydrate. Better for you than: Powerade.
Wild Thyme Honey, Greece
Yeah, your honey is healthy. But the honey from the hills of Greece is legendary. Aristotle called it “a salve for sore eyes and wounds.” Some 2,300 years later it’s used unfiltered (the pollen is the key) to treat food poisoning, sore throats, burns and acne. And then there are the active elderly people all around. Hmm. B****etter for you than: Sue Bee clover honey.
Use the milk in moderation (one cup has 550 calories and 50 grams of saturated fat), and go nuts with the water. Coconut water is naturally high in electrolytes and B vitamins. Exhibit A: a 74-year-old Indonesian miracle man who says coconut is his only daily staple. “One a day. Every day.” Better for you than: Drinks named Bull and Monster.
Dark Beer, Ireland
It isn’t Guinness that makes Ireland one of the worst countries for heart disease (we call blood sausage to the witness stand). No, Guinness has about the same calories as light beer but more hops (for lower cholesterol), antioxidants (to fight cell damage) and iron (for healthier blood). Raise a stout and an Irish toast: “May the good Lord take a liking to you, but not too soon.” Better for you than: Miller Lite.
This island in the Grenadines has one 32-bed hospital. There are rarely more than six people in it, sometimes zero. Locals say they’re in tiptop shape because they eat peas and cornmeal porridge from infanthood to adulthood. “We eat what we grow,” says a cab driver named Ceepee, “and we only use animal poop to help it grow.” Better for you than: amoxicillin.
Kukui Nut Oil, Hawaii
Ancient Hawaiians spent their lives in the sun and salt water, their skin under constant assault. But they had an all-natural remedy: kukui nut oil. It’s so potent they used the oil to emulsify their skin and waterproof their canoes. It’s now used in island lotions (like Island Essence). Better for you than: Oil of Olay.