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