The latest in a string of studies by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has again concluded that Spain has the one of the longest life expectancies in the world, much higher than in the UK.
British newspaper, The Times, has asked the question however why these figures are so universally reported as the Spanish love to drink and smoke.
The figures partially back this up, in Spain the amount of alcohol consumed per head is 8.6 litres per year on average whilst in the UK the figure is 9.5 litres.
Smoking figures are dramatically higher however with Spain ingesting 1,533.5 grams of tobacco per head whilst the UK sits at only 643.9 grams.
So why if Spain has such an apparent unhealthy lifestyle, are they living the longest out of almost any country?
The answer is making other key lifestyle choices to combat the harmful effects.
Firstly the Spanish day is organised much different to other countries, especially the UK. Siesta’s in the middle of the day and longer working hours but more breaks offer huge benefits. Just 26 minutes of sleep in the middle of the day can improve memory, productiveness and concentration. Also regular coffee breaks stimulate both physical and mental effects that help make the working day much more relaxed.
Secondly diet, the Mediterranean diet comprises of some of the key ingredients that lead to a healthy life. Fresh fish, vegetables, fruit, and olive oil is all readily available and locally produced. According to reports Spain also has a low rate of eating processed foods, only 20%, whereas the UK has the highest figure in Europe.
The times the Spanish eat as well has a huge effect of health. Large lunches and small Tapas on an evening improves digestion late at night and reduces the effects of lack of exercise after large quantities of food.
Exercise is also a huge part of the older generation’s lifestyle, so much so that the Spanish dictionary has awarded the phrase, “el paseo” noun status. 76% of the elderly walk at least four days per week, whilst among the younger generation, over 37% walk or ride a bicycle to work.
Lastly the Spanish have more and better sex than their European counterparts. According to a survey of 15,000 women, Spanish people have sex on average 2.1 times per week while in the UK they only have sex 1.7 times. Also in the survey, it was noted that Spanish men make the best lovers.
Health professionals have regularly noted that regular sex can reduce the risk of brain and heart disease as well as type 2 diabetes.