Not only do the Spanish live longer than Americans, but they live longer than Canadians and everyone else in Europe giving them the longest lifespan in the western world. They are second only behind Japan for life expectancy on the planet:
Lifespans for Men & Women in Years, by country:
As you are reading this blog, I am sailing across northern Spain with my wife Nicole, visiting ports and villages along the way. Not only are many of the towns gorgeous and loaded with history, the people are beautiful and healthy looking as well.
What are eight key reasons that make people live longer in Spain?
1. People walk more. They often walk to work, to shop for groceries, and to get around the neighborhood. They are far less dependent on their cars.
2. Their food is typically unprocessed. People buy real food with basic ingredients and that makes their food taste better. And they are exposed to fewer toxins and hormones in their food than we are as well. They cook, instead of buying prepared meals. They do have prepared food, but it is relatively more expensive than in the US.
3. Eating is a pleasure. People don’t eat alone in front of a TV, or at their desk. They socialize over meals and enjoy food with family and friends.
4. They follow a Mediterranean diet, with more vegetables, fruits, beans, and seafood, with lots of spices and herbs, and of course, plenty of olive oil. They enjoy fresh fruit daily, although one area even the Spanish need to improve on is to eat more green leafy vegetables daily—only half of the Spanish eat a green leafy vegetable every day, but that is double of what we do in the US. Eating one serving of green leafy veggies daily makes your brain 11 years younger than someone who doesn’t eat them.
5. They also appear fitter and more active than the average person in the US, with more than 60% of people reporting exercise beyond walking. They also enjoy being outdoors, and they walk extensively. They even eat their meals outside, soaking up some sunshine and making more vitamin D.
6. The Spanish have one third less obesity than we have in the US, (2016) with only 23.8% of the population listed as obese, compared to 36.2% of Americans.
7. Spain also has very good health care. Far more people have access to good quality health care; only 1% of the Spanish report that their medical needs were not met, compared to the US where 59 million Americans do not have health insurance.
8. Having traveled across many areas of Spain, they generally seem happy. In fact, they have one of the lowest suicide rates in the world.
When you add it all up, it’s no wonder they live longer.
I wish you the best of health!
Steven Masley, MD
Thanks for your blog. I love hearing about your insights about the
Longevity of the Spanish and other countries. It is not a surprise to me but it does reinforce the ideas that we in America can better implement into our lives.
I am happy you and Nicole are enjoying a working vacation.
As we say in Hebrew, Kol Hakavod, all honor to you.
I’m rather shocked with your findings because every time I’m in spain i notice most adults over 40 overweight!!
also i notice they eat massive amounts of cheese bread & sausages!!! i don’t see a huge variety of veggies but I’m only in major cities!! they also eat late at night!! so they must have the lack of stress going for them‼️👍‼️
Yes, in the bigger cities there are more people who are overweight, yet far less than we have in the US.
Excellent to the more obvious concrete elements; however, it might be enlightening to also consider the level and confidence individuals have in “trust” within and across their relationships. Decades of experience with and in business, clinical and personal relationships, convinces me that joy and contentment, and yes a longer, fulfilled life, emanate from trusting commitment and a sense of covenant between bodies and souls.
Overlooked comenting on the obvious —- .. as you “sail across Northern Spain with your wife, Nicole….”
The joy of sharing life- with your love and (probably) best friend- undoubtably tempers and guides choice of personal behaviors (unconscienciously or not), selecting those that lower “risk” and extend the days and cherished time together of those who truly care for one another.
So happy for you and your wife to be enjoying this trip. PBS just ran your Brain series, but since I own it on DVD, I can watch it whenever I choose to!
Thanks for sharing your travel adventure. I look forward to hearing more.
Thank you, I send a new blog almost every Tuesday.
We found the same in Italy. More access to healthy food that is organically grown. People walked more and long distances, or rode their bikes. In the evenings people were out in parks and on the trails walking with their families, not sitting in front of a TV. So no wonder they were more healthy too.
Dear Dr. Masley.
Thank you for your updates and info.
You are welcome!
Every year I walk the camino to Santiago de Compostela, often the camino del Norte along the North coast. I see a lot of tiny plots of land, way too small for applying fertilizers, pesticides. I would say that the milk, cheese, yoghurt, meat and veggies (not so much) must be organic. Few cars in the narrow roads. I sometimes pity the people that have to do all their walking on really steep streets up and down.
Yes they have to walk more, but think how healthy it keeps them. Glad to here that you follow the Camino to Santiago de Compostela yearly, that is an amazing trail. Steven Masley, MD
Hi Dr. Masley, I agree with your observations. I spent a semester studying in Spain. With the good and walking everywhere, I lost at least 15 pounds. Maybe I need to go to Spain again. Enjoy your trip! And I enjoyed reading this post.
I am 89 1/2, so guess I must be doing something right, or I have very good genes! I have been taking your “Heart Supplement Combo” for over a year and am pleased with the results.
Thank you Doris you are a valued customer!!
I lived for some months in Spain, and I knew their foods are not only healthy but the best in the world, and the variety of them is also noticeable.
How embarrassing for Americans. We are the wealthiest country in the history of the world yet expect to live nearly 6 years less than poorer countries that realize the importance of providing health care to it’s people. SAD