Spanish have highest healthy life expectancy in Europe
Spain also beat Australia, Canada, Norway and US, according to global report published in the Lancet
We may be out of work and struggling with financial issues, but the Spanish have the highest healthy life expectancy in Europe – and beat Australia, Canada, Norway and the USA as well.
Spain has an excellent healthcare system, ranked seventh in 2000 on the only occasion the World Health Organisation has compiled a league table. The UK was 18th. But it is not just the structures or even the skills of the doctors that matter. It is also the state of health of the people who arrive in the clinics.
The Mediterranean diet, heavy on fruit, salads, fish and olive oil, is responsible for the low death rate from heart disease – Spain has the 3rd lowest level of years of life lost. It also does well on a number of cancers – pancreatic, prostate, breast and oesophageal. Families still care for ailing relatives – taking daily meals to those in hospital is normal and premature deaths from falls are low.
The secret is a diet plenty of fruit, salads, fish and olive oil... and
A Mediterranean diet incorporates the traditional healthy living habits of people from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including Italy, France, Greece and Spain.
Mediterranean cuisine varies by region and has a range of definitions, but is largely based on vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, cereal grains, olive oil and fish.
The Mediterranean diet has been associated with good health, including a healthier heart. A 2013 study found that people following a Mediterranean diet had a 30% lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
You can make your diet more Mediterranean-style by:
- eating plenty of starchy foods, such as bread and pasta
- eating plenty of fruit and vegetables
- eating fish is key
- eating less meat
- Salads with virgin olive oil