Native American foods: History, culture, and influence on modern diets

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Approximately 12,000–15,000 years ago people from northeast Asia crossed the Bering Land Bridge to enter and inhabit North America beginning in Alaska but rapidly spreading throughout North and South American and the Caribbean islands. These people rapidly adapted to the available food sources and soon developed new foods. It is estimated that about 60% of the current world food supply originated in North America. When Europeans arrived, the Native Americans had already developed new varieties of corn, beans, and squashes and had an abundant supply of nutritious food. The foods of the Native Americans are widely consumed and their culinary skills still enrich the diets of nearly all people of the world today. This article provides only a small sampling of the rich and highly varied Native American food culture that has been passed down to modern civilization.




Park, S., Hongu, N., & Daily, J. W. (2016). Native American foods: History, culture, and influence on modern diets. Journal of Ethnic Foods, 3(3), 171–177.

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