One of the greatest desires of man is to live as long as possible. It is the single thing that burns in the heart of men and the famous quest for the elixir of life (the philosopher’s stone) is a testament to this fact. Several factors determine the lifespan of a person. The genetic make-up of the person, the type of diet he takes in, the manner and time in which he or she takes in a meal, and the activities he or she is involved in. You cannot also rule out sudden, unpredictable life circumstances. It’s just a part of life.
Industrialization and technological advancement has also contributed to declining health among adults, especially in developed countries, due to factors like chemicals, pollution, and lifestyle changes. Sedentary lifestyles are now common as people are glued to their cell phones and other gadgets almost every single day. Moreover, junk and artificially processed foods have taken the place of fresh fruits and vegetables in most countries.
However, you will be surprised that there is still a country in this world where people are expected to live up to 85 years! People still grow very old; all thanks to good health practices. The oldest man ever on earth, Jiroemon Kimura died in 2013 at the ripe age of 116 years and 54 days and has been beaten recently by Kane Tanaka, a female who is still currently alive at the age of 119 years, 33days. Interesting, isn’t it?
Do you want to learn how to live healthily? These are eight countries you might want to visit and learn more about.
If you live on that amazing island in the center of the world, you may get the chance to live up to 84 years old according to Statista health rankings. Singapore has the highest life expectancy in Southeast Asia, and the island is well renowned for its quality of healthcare in the region. The public health system is funded by the government and health insurance is compulsory for all Singaporeans. You can rightly call Singapore the island of life!
Singapore has limited space and very ambitious plans to become as self-sufficient as possible. Hence, there’s a huge emphasis on vertical farming using Singapore organic fertilisers so that the population stays healthy and independent.
The Australian medical association has been crucial to the healthy lifestyle of Australians with properly laid down guidelines on good health and diet. Keeping fit is also important – the diverse Australian mountains and amazing coasts contribute to the healthy lifestyle of sporty Australians. Even if you’re not an athlete, knowing how much protein you need also helps to maintain your fitness, as health goes hand in hand with exercise and food.
The beautiful Scandinavian country is known for its ever vibrating pop culture but little is known of its almost perfect Nordic healthcare system. Swedes prefer staying outdoors despite their cold weather. No bad weather, only bad clothing; is a common slogan of the Swedes. Their diet is also rich in fish, grains, vegetables, and fermented foods while avoiding processed foods.
This simple but healthy diet is a contributing factor to their longevity. Don’t look down on what your diet can do, especially with the saying “you are what you eat”.
Switzerland has the world’s best healthcare system and was ranked as the third happiest country in the world according to the United Nations 2013 world happiness report. Surprisingly, diet is not a major reason for the healthy lifestyle of the Swiss. The Santé Suisse system of the Swiss nailed it, with the lowest government budget on healthcare (about 2.7 % of the GDP) and ensuring that every Swiss citizen has transparent health insurance. Each Swiss needs to spend on his/ her health insurance by law, though the government subsidizes the underprivileged. Undeniably, their universal healthcare system is indeed the major factor for their population’s good health.
Nature is well preserved in Japan, and you might want to visit the Okinawa prefecture to appreciate how nature can help prolong a long life. You will be amazed to know that Japan has the highest number of centenarians in the world! Both the oldest man and woman to have ever lived are from Japan, and Kane Tanaka, the oldest woman is still alive at 119 years old.
The staple foods in Japan are diets usually rich in tofu, seaweed, and yam which have been postulated to be a reason for their long lives. Japanese diets also have a peculiar umami taste which is associated with a high protein diet. Culture also has a role to play. The Washoku practice is common among the Japanese and it involves large consumption of fish and soybean products, along with low consumption of animal fat and meat.
In addition to all these, the secret of the Japanese Okinawans lies in their social network called ‘moai’, in which several old people form a social group and look after each other. An excellent blend of diet and regular exercise is what makes Japan reputable for good health. Try out the popular local culture, Hara Hachi bu (eat till you are eighty percent full) and see its effects for yourself.
Winter can be very cold in Iceland, and it is actually one of the coldest places in the world. Why then, do these Icelanders live such long lives?
Physical fitness is one way to battle the harsh winter weather in this country, and most Icelanders visit the gym frequently. Kayaking is also one of their popular leisure activities. Exercise is not the only reason why they live long; Icelanders are also very selective with their diet and consume a lot of seafood.
Italy is not only about pasta and pizza – it might hold the secret to life, with an average life expectancy of over 83 years old and one of the oldest populations in the world.
Italian culture is unique, and a good meal is as important as socializing to an average Italian. The discipline while eating dinner is remarkable; no use of electronic devices while eating and a standard, regular dinner time of 8 pm to 8:30 pm. Mediterranean foods are definitely crucial to their healthy lifestyle as it contains the finest fruits and vegetables the world has ever known, like a modern Garden of Eden. Italian cuisine is a bright spectacle and a delight to the stomach. We may not know what exactly is the secret to the Italian’s long lives, but the food is definitely a factor to behold. Try visiting the country in your own time, enjoy the local cuisine and spectacular historical architecture.
Spain has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, and there’s a popular saying: Keep it fresco! That’s the language of the local La Peil de Toro. Fresco means fresh and many things in Spain are fresh and new. Some of the important ingredients in Spanish cuisine come from the Mediterranean Sea, and cardiologists have postulated that seafood prevents cardiovascular diseases like stroke. The Mediterranean diet is also highly plant-based, and rarely will you see a Spaniard eat refined foods. Spain is also famous for one thing; road-walking. Go to Spain and you will see numerous pedestrians who chose to walk rather than drive. This discourages sedentary habits which are a major reason for most illnesses in the world. The top-notch universal healthcare program by the Spanish government is also a major contributing factor to the healthy lifestyle of Spaniards. Spain is certainly the home of health!
It is evident from these eight great nations that a good diet (rich in vegetables and fruits), healthy relationships with fellow countrymen, doing exercises like an easy hike, and good government health policies are crucial to the health of the citizens of a nation. Simply put, the way you live determines how long you will live.