Last updated on April 15th, 2020 at 11:39 am
It’s well-known that many aspects of the Spanish lifestyle are beneficial. Now the statistics seem to confirm that this is true. Topping the tables with the highest life expectancy at birth, we outline five reasons why Spain is good for you.
Spain is the world’s healthiest nation according to a study of 169 nations by Bloomberg. The index that takes into account life expectancy at birth, sanitation and health services saw Spain climbing above Italy to take top position. The Bloomberg index makes reference to Spanish eating habits as well as the public health system as reasons for the country’s strong position.
There is no doubt that the Spanish diet ticks many boxes when it comes to what we all know we should eat. However, there are other aspects to the Spanish lifestyle too that many feel contribute to their health and wellbeing. Below we consider some of the main factors that could be responsible.
The Mediterranean diet
Stop off at any bar or restaurant in Spain and it is likely that there will be a range of salads on the menu. Sharing a salad at the beginning of a meal is a Spanish tradition and one that begins as soon as children are taking solid food. Fresh fruit and vegetables are readily available in the street markets and it’s normal to have them on the table. Fresh fish and seafood are much cheaper and again, are usually available wherever you choose to eat.
Then there is the famous virgin olive oil, a cooking and eating accompaniment that is used with almost everything. Butter is not the norm here and rather than buttered toast in the morning you’ll see people tucking into a tostada, toasted bread often coated with tomatoes and olive oil, to start the day. It’s not only what’s in the meal that is perhaps important here. In some areas practice is changing but by and large people still sit down and eat together, taking their time and using the opportunity to talk. Food and drink are a social occasion and are taken very seriously. The Spanish tend not to skip their meals in favour of a snack taken on the move.
The pace of life
It is true that Spain’s major cities may demand a faster pace of life. However, in most towns you can immediately detect a slightly more laid back approach. Breaks are taken mid morning and afternoon and a proper lunchtime is the norm. Spanish people can be more relaxed about punctuality and generally work is kept in its place and when the office closes the shutters are down until the next working day.
Spain is not as congested as some other European countries. Consequently there are fewer traffic jams and motorway delays than you might find elsewhere. It makes a big difference when you can get from A to B without occupying a tailback for hours whilst inhaling car fumes.
Spanish driving may seem a little frenetic and random at times but compared to the delays and detours that many of us remember, this is easily accommodated.
Getting the priorities right
Family life is still the main priority for the majority of Spanish people. Children are welcome in most places and accompany their parents at more or less all times of the day and night. There isn’t the same level of age separation that you find in some other European countries and there continues to be a healthy mix of young and old at weekends too.
Spain is renowned for its festivals and fiestas. People do make time to enjoy themselves and although they work hard, family is the priority and immersing yourself in the traditions and customs, however bizarre at times, is valued.
More time in the outdoors
The weather makes a big difference. Spain’s average number of clear and bright days means that you can spend a lot more time outside. Most restaurants and bars benefit from outside terraces where you can look up at the night sky whilst you savour your Mediterranean diet.
The good climate means that the options of outdoor sports are much more attractive. Walking, climbing, running, even sightseeing become more pleasurable when you don’t have to routinely take your brolly or waterproofs with you. Many people take advantage of the communal outdoor pools to take a daily swim throughout the spring, summer and even autumn. There is no excuse for, at a minimum, taking a stroll every day.
A new you thanks to the Spanish lifestyle
Spanish lifestyle might not explain Spain’s leader board position, but there is no doubt that many people who make the decision to buy a property in Spain haven’t only invested their money. They often have invested in a new challenge and an opportunity to try something fresh and new. The frame of mind that has allowed them to take on this little adventure lasts beyond the signing of the title deed.
Having made a choice to buy either a holiday home or to live in Spain, the majority of people embrace the opportunity to enjoy their new experiences. It’s an exciting time during which many people find fresh enthusiasm for new things. This, combined with the diet, the lifestyles and the wonderful weather means we’re not surprised at all that Spain is leading the world.
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