by Taetske | 12:06 pm
(Last Updated On: June 8, 2019)

Have you heard of the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index?

 

great tasting paella

Great tasting Paella

 

Their last report was 2 years ago and in that time Spain has risen 6 places and is now on top of the list with 92.7 out of 100 marks. Foreigners have been telling their friends and family at home that Spain is definitely a good country to live in.

Especially people who were born in Nordic Countries will often find in Spain their second home. Climate is one of its big attractions, beautiful scenery and historical places, great food, and in general, a quite relaxed lifestyle make up some of the points why Spain is chosen to spend the retirement years.

 

How do you get to the top of the list?

Espanol Global, a promotional agency run by the government, looked at the different data sets of the Bloomberg list which document the quality of life in 169 countries. There are many different types of data needed for making this study. Studies, such as what do people eat on a daily basis, how many people of the population smoke, and the obesity rate are all taken into consideration. Another important factor is if the environment is well taken care of because a good environment impacts the quality of life.

 

sorting waste

Sorting waste

 

I have lived in Spain since 1975 and on my organic farm in the south of Spain since 1981. I have experienced a change in attitude towards the environment. In old times you just would dump the trash on the street.

Nowadays we recycle, which I think is a good thing. Plastic, paper and cardboard, organic, normal waste, and glass are all recycled and have to go in the right place. Otherwise, you might get a fine if you are caught.

 

woman walking her dog in the park

A woman walking her dog in the park

 

The same happens when walking your pet on the street and in parks. You better take your doggy bag with you (definitely not one from your favorite restaurant.) You have to clean up after your pet has gone to the loo. When I walk in my village, I notice it is very clean and people enjoy this fact. People have become more conscious of their surroundings and also the treatment of animals has improved a lot.

Bloomberg has put the following countries on the list of the top 10 along with Spain; Italy, Iceland, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Singapore, Norway, and Israel.

 

A good public health system

There are many things a health system has to take care of. In Spain, special attention is given to children in their formative years, women, and older people. This special care has brought down heart disease and cancer. At this moment in the chapter of life expectancy, Spain is #3 behind Japan and Switzerland but by the year 2040, it will reach first place. By then, it is that life expectancy in Spain will be up to 86 years young.

 

 

How to reach a ripe old age

Well, here it seems that the Mediterranean diet has gotten the gold medal for being one of the healthiest ways one can eat. Olive oil, which has been a dietary staple for hundreds of years, is still very much used in Spain. In the morning you can often see Spanish people having their breakfast in a bar. There they will order toasted bread with olive oil and tomato.

I have taken on this habit also. I eat my toast with olive oil and really like it. Be it with eggs, cheese, salami, and honey or marmalade. It took a while to get used to but now I love it. Olive oil and eating nuts and seeds seem to be very beneficial to avoid cardiovascular problems.

 

grandparents retirement in the sun

Grandparents retirement in the sun

 

Olive oil has a very old history

The origin of the olive tree seems to be Asia Minor or ancient Greece but other sources state it could be Syria or sub-Saharan Africa.  It is documented that in 6000 BC, olives were turned into olive oil and since then Its properties have helped individuals to remain healthy.

It is especially true that the first press, which delivers the extra virgin olive oil, has these properties. In old times a man and his donkey would travel the villages with big amphoras tied to the donkey’s sides. The man would sell the freshly pressed olive oil, which had a strong aroma and often a light green color. Nowadays one buys the extra virgin olive oil in the supermarket. The price is still very good as one pays less than 4 Euros per liter.

 

extra virgin olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil

 

Olive oil for your health

Olive oil is helpful for many things and I list here a few of its benefits. It reduces bad cholesterol levels, the elderly have a smaller risk suffering from a stroke, the use of olive oil lowers blood pressure and prevents hypertension. It improves brain memory, which is especially important as one gets older. Different cancers like colon, breast and pancreatic may benefit from olive oil. Your skin and hair and also digestion will improve. The list is long, have a look

.

The biggest producer of olive oil in the world

Data from the year 2000 documents that Spain had around 36% of the world production followed by Italy with 24%. Other countries included Turkey, Syria, Morocco, and Portugal with 4% to 1.6%. Recently, it was reported that a horrible plaque called Xylella Fastidiosa has decimated the olive tree in many Mediterranean countries. Data from 2016/17 period show a total world production of 2586 thousand tonnes of olive oil. That is 18% less than in the previous period. Even with the plague on olive trees, Spain’s contribution is 50% of the total in production. Turkey, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Syria, and Tunisia are the other countries.

So there has been an increase in Spain, still, one should not forget Global Warming. Spain is lacking water and even if the olive tree is very sturdy it can neither survive forever without rain.

 

 

What is the Mediterranean diet?

Olive oil is an important ingredient. You can eat your fill on vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, bread (non-GMO of course), herbs and spices, fish and seafood. Poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt are things which are allowed, but in moderation.

 

 

The list of things you should really avoid (I do not think some of these are a surprise) includes soda pop and similar drinks. They are out of the question due to loads of sugar contained in these beverages. The list also forbids processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and one can say all man-made foods in general.

 

the many colors of a market

The many colors of a market

 

An afterthought

The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets worldwide. If you follow the guidelines you will experience better health up to old age. Like that you will certainly reach the happy age of 86 and more. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me.

 

 

Source: Newspaper Sur in English, March 2019. Wikipedia.

Photo Source: Pixabay

 

What we eat has an impact on our health but also on our planet. Perhaps you care to also read the following post.

Your Diet Has An Important Impact On The Planet

Comments

AV2001

Hey Taetske,

I’ve really enjoyed reading this article as its fun, informative, and interesting. When I visited Spain for the first time back in 2014, every single restaurant over there uses Olive Oil. Olive Oil is probably the only oil which is healthy and 100% natural. Ever since I came back from Spain, I’ve been using the Olive Oil. 

From my point of view, I tend to think that the weather is cooperating. Spending the summers in Spanish beaches can help you increase the amount of Vitamin D in your body.

Thanks a lot for taking your precious time in writing this article. Keep up the good work!

Mar 28.2019 | 05:29 pm

    Taetske

    Good afternoon Anirudh,

    Thank you for leaving a comment on my website. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?
    Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a very good bet when one thinks about health. The extra you use for your salads and on your bread but you should not use it for cooking.
    Another very healthy oil is Coconut, give it a try you might really like it.
    The weather helps a lot with your mood and does increase the amount of Vitamin D in the body. Whenever the weather is nice I will sit outside for 15 to 20 minutes and eat my oranges.
    In case you should visit again do not hesitate to contact me, I love to meet the readers of my posts.

    Regards, Taetske

    Mar 28.2019 | 05:49 pm

Alex

Wow. Thank you for writing this great post. I had no idea Spain has a lot of good potentials. I have heard about Japan before but I think I like Spain more now.  Thanks for recommending the olive oil. I’m going to get it for my parents and send this post to them. I guess I’ll start saving up for vacation with my family. Thanks once again for this great post

Mar 28.2019 | 06:21 pm

    Taetske

    Good evening Alex,

    Thank you for visiting my website and leaving a comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    Spain is a lovely country no doubt about that. If you come on holiday do not hesitate to contact me. I love to meet the readers of my website.

    Regards, Taetske

    Mar 28.2019 | 07:51 pm

Alblue

Oh thank you for writing about the healthiest country. My country wasn’t included in the top 10, but I can certainly get inspiration from those countries. Japan is my inspiration for healthy daily life habit (for example, they use to walk everywhere they go. Same with Singapore). 

I love foods with olive oil because its taste is unique for me. Since you’re from Spain, can I ask if there are a lot of foods there cooked with olive oil? I think Spain should be in my travel bucket list. I love to check and experience myself how healthy to live there 🙂

Mar 29.2019 | 01:33 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning Alblue,

    Thank you for your comment on my website. I hope you have downloaded your free PDF?

    Spain is my guest country. I came here in 1975 and since 1981 I live on my organic farm. I have adopted the Spanish way of cooking. I use olive oil for everything. The extra virgin olive oil on my bread and for salads. The normal one for cooking. 

    Regards, Taetske

    Mar 29.2019 | 07:23 am

Md moinul Islam

Hi,  

I have always wanted to go to Spain.  But I didn’t know anything about Spain earlier. I have read the article of yours.  I didn’tknow about the Bloomberg list. Spain is on top of the list.  That’s a great thing. I’m going to Spain as soon as possible.  I will  recommend my friends to go too.  

Thanks for sharing the information.         

Mar 29.2019 | 11:37 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning,

    Spain is a great country for having a holiday. As it is big you must choose the region you will find most interesting. I came to Spain in1975 and have never left.  Since 1981 I live on an organic farm 8 km away from the coast. There are still many places I have to visit, probably one lifetime will not be enough. Culture, great nature, lovely food, and a quite relaxed atmosphere especially in the south.

    Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    Regards, Taetske 

    Mar 29.2019 | 11:50 am

Richard Brennan

I can identify with what you say about both Spain and the Mediterranean diet, Taetske, as my Wife is Spanish.

We don’t live out there currently, as she has lived in the UK since she was 2, but I hope and intend that one day we will.

Olive oil with warm, crusty bread and tomatoes with finely chopped basil over them is a wonderful way to start the day and even when have something else for breakfast I always take a dessert spoonful of extra virgin olive oil out of the bottle.

It’s good to see how Spain has moved on in terms of looking after it’s environment. It used to be quite an untidy country not so long back and the unchecked development of the mass tourist industry was doing a great deal of harm. Tourism is still developed and promoted heavily but it is now done so in a way that is far more sympathetic, with accommodation especially being more ‘in-keeping’ with traditional Spanish architecture rather than the high-rise concrete blocks of yesteryear.

I enjoyed reading this article very much and it has convince me even more that Spain and Spanish food are definitely the future for me.

Jun 20.2019 | 11:31 am

    Taetske

    Good afternoon Richard,

    Thank you for your visit and leaving a comment.

    I remember those times well as I have lived here for many years. The construction boom did spoil big parts of the coast. In Fuengirola, they build so close to the beach and the buildings were so high that when the sun moved in the afternoon those buildings would throw a shadow onto the beach, not clever. Similar situation in places like Benidorm etc. 

    I use olive oil for cooking and for salads and on my breakfast bread. In old times I thought it would not taste good with honey or marmalade but now know that is not true, it is just a question of trying, insisting a bit and after a couple of days, one is used to it.

    Regards, Taetske

    Jun 20.2019 | 03:02 pm

Adyns68

Hi Taetske

I can only understand why Spain is at the top of the list. What not to like about that country? You get great food, people are very friendly, the architecture is awesome, the football is vibrant, the countryside is beautiful and more,… I have also noticed that Spain became greener in the past years. The bio-agriculture is really booming. And now Spain supplies most of the bio food in Europe.

Great post! thanks for sharing.

Jun 20.2019 | 11:32 am

    Taetske

    Good afternoon Adyn,

    From your comment, I take you are quite a fan of Spain. A lot of great food is grown here and when you visit the local market it is a delight to see, colorful displays of vegetables and fruits. Spain has improved a lot and has become cleaner and a lot more careful with the environment. What remains very sad is that every year there are huge fires

    Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    Regards, Taetske.

     

    Jun 20.2019 | 02:52 pm

Ally

Hi Taetske

In some ways I’m really not surprised that Spain is top of this list because of the diet and the sunshine and the general laid back approach to living, once you are outside the big cities like Barcelona which can be very hectic of course!  I absolutely adore cold pressed virgin olive oil with bread.  I live in the UK, but I still enjoy eating this with certain meals such as salads and a simple pasta dish, it makes a refreshing change to butter (which I confess I also love).  It is well-known that the Mediterranean diet is amongst the healthiest in the world as well as the tastiest and it is my preferred way of eating too.  I only wish I could get my partner to eat more Mediterranean veg because I love aubergines and peppers but he does not like them.  I keep trying!

We hear in the UK that there is high unemployment in Spain so I wondered what your view is on this because if its true then I would have thought that the stress of being jobless would cause health problems.  It seems to me that you have a wonderful lifestyle living in Spain.  

 I look forward to reading more about life on your organic farm, it’s sounds quite heavenly to me!  I would love to read about what you produce there.  Best regards, Alison

Jun 20.2019 | 11:45 am

    Taetske

    Good afternoon Ally,

    Thank you for your visit and leaving a comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    I have been in Spain since 1975 and have seen many positive changes. More conscious about environmental issues and nicer to animals both these things are important to me. I am an animal and nature lover.

    Michael is doing the vegetable garden and every year he is getting better. This year there are some gigantic Zucchinis, quite amazing.

    On this website, I have a recipe for organic orange marmalade. I also have another website, motherearthstreasures and there you can find a few posts on my farm and pretty places in Andalucia.

    Regards, Taetske

    Jun 20.2019 | 02:44 pm

Paul

Dear Taetske,

Thanks for the article I enjoyed it and I must say I found your post highly uplifting and educational.

Really felt bad to see my country is not in the list of 56 countries on the Bloomberg Healthy Nation Rankings.

To be honest, after reading your article I want to settle in Spain (lol) and people living in Spain are really blessed. In the part of the world where I live people are struggling and waiting in queue for water. Air, water, soil everything is polluted I am writing this with a heavy heart.

Thanks a lot for sharing about Olive oil, it’s history and benefits. I have read about Olive and it’s benefits in the past. Even used it once in our cooking (250 ml) because of the high price we can’t afford it. However, it’s on our list once we start earning good money from our blog. 

I can tell you I have taken some great insights from this article and the video you embedded is very insightful. I am determined to in take Mediterranean diet going forward.

With Gratitude,

Paul

Jun 20.2019 | 11:59 am

    Taetske

    Good afternoon Paul,

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. It is always nice to see you again.

    It is sad to read your country is struggling so much with environmental problems. Clean water and air are human rights but often are not achievable because of economic and or political issues.

    I must confess I love Spain. I have seen many positive changes over the years. The problem I see coming to Spain is the lack of water. I have 2 private water sources. I am happy that I taught my garden to survive well on twice water a month. The flower pots get once a week and the orange trees are on a drip system.

    Taking good care of one’s health pays out. I hope to keep going for at least 20 more years and reach 90 in a healthy shape. 

    Regards, Taetske

    Jun 20.2019 | 02:31 pm

      St Paul Severe

      Why 90? Please go for 100 Amen!

      Thanks for your helpful reply and Spain is Awesome! Sorry to hear about the water problem, it’s becoming a great challenge and struggle. And happy to hear you have two water sources.

      Much Success!

      Jun 21.2019 | 12:44 am

        Taetske

        Good afternoon Paul,

        You made me smile for sure. I promise I will do my best and try to reach 100. Lots of olive oil, nuts and seeds, and fresh air might do the trick.

        Regards, Taetske

        Jun 21.2019 | 01:56 pm

nasrin19

What a nice post you wrote! I’ve really enjoyed reading this article as it’s fun, informative, and interesting. Your post is full health-related. I have always wanted to go to Spain. But I didn’t know anything about Spain earlier. I didn’t know about the Blomberg list but now I know it through your post. Thanks for recommending the olive oil. Olive oil is probably the only oil that is healthy and 100% natural. I love food with olive oil because it’s taste is unique for me.

Again thanks to you now I am sharing your post to my friends.

Jun 20.2019 | 12:35 pm

    Taetske

    Good afternoon Nasrin,

    Nice to hear you liked my post and found some useful information. Even if the extra virgin olive oil is one of the best ones, do not forget coconut oil, walnut or sesame oil, and another very special oil is argan oil. But argan oil is very expensive. Here in Spain, the price you have to pay is still very reasonable.

    Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    Regards, Taetske

    Jun 20.2019 | 02:08 pm

Adrian Holland

I love Spain, but i was a little surprised to find it on top of the Bloomberg register given the fact that it currently has the highest number of smokers per capita outside of China.But honestly it had to go to one of the Mediterranean nations purely on climate and diet.

 

Jun 20.2019 | 12:55 pm

    Taetske

    Good afternoon Adrian,

    Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    I am happy I do not belong to the smokers club anymore. I stopped 1 week before Christmas of 2015. Just now on Spanish tv during the news a warning for a hotter summer than usual. Climate change is here and I might end up with a garden full of cactus. I have been in Spain since 1975 and on my farm since 2081. I must say I like it here.

    Regards, Taetske

    Jun 20.2019 | 03:02 pm

Stella

What a privilege you have to live in a clean and organized country. Viva sunny Spain!  Spain has come a long way and are on the way to the top. 

The food is unique and very tasty, full of flavour. and to get that accolade from Bloomberg says it all!

Thank you for a wonderful article full of valuable interesting information about your country.

Stella 

Jun 20.2019 | 04:33 pm

    Taetske

    Good afternoon Stella, 

    Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    Spain has adopted me many years ago. The country has improved on many levels. Politically it is a bit muddled lately as in the past there only were 2 parties. It would go from Socialists to Conservatists and back again. Then, not so long ago suddenly there were 2 new parties to choose from and the Spaniards got a bit confused. 

    Yes, the food is lovely the same as nature and culture. In total a good place to be. The only big problem is not enough rain and it will get worse in the future.

    Regards, Taetske

    Jun 20.2019 | 04:49 pm

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