The healthiest places in the world
It’s probably safe to say that right about now is the time most of us will be regretting our Christmas excesses and vow to turn over a new leaf.
With the end of 2017 almost upon us, quite a few of us will be making New Year’s resolutions that will see the gym membership dusted off, the vegetable steamer emerge from the back of the cupboard and, with a bit of extra effort, we’ll reach the heady heights of 10,000 steps a day.
So while we’re searching for #fitinspo, the Flexicover team thought it would be a good idea to look at the world’s healthiest places to see what they’re doing right.
Italy was officially 2017’s healthiest country and no place is that better demonstrated than Sardinia. The glitzy Italian island is home to so many people who live past 100 that it’s become a case study for scientists. They found that many inhabitants walk around five miles a day and eat a natural Mediterranean diet consisting of whole grain bread, fava beans, tomatoes, greens, garlic, local fruits, olive oil and pecorino cheese from grass-fed sheep. Meat is rarely consumed and the local wine is Cannonau, a dark red wine known for containing the world’s highest levels of antioxidants. From the sounds of that lifestyle, we can’t move over fast enough.
Given the sparse population and the incredible scenery, it’s no surprise that as a nation, New Zealanders are the outdoorsy type – three in five like to go on long country walks in its pollution-free environment. Nowhere is ever more than a 90-minute drive from the coast, so water activities like surfing, jet skiing and swimming are as popular as nature-led activities like hiking, camping and fishing. There’s an abundance of organic fruits and vegetables, often grown in spacious gardens or nearby farms. As it’s so easy to enjoy nutrient-dense food and an active lifestyle, it’s led to a high life expectancy and a happier nation.
Japan’s culture of healthy eating, low stress and mindful exercise has helped it to become the country with the highest life expectancy - 85.9 years for women and 79.4 years for men. Okinawa goes one better: it has the world’s highest ratio of centenarians, with around 50 people per 100,000 past 100 years old. Research has shown that their high quality of life can be attributed to their attitude to stress and daily workouts, plus an excellent diet of fish, local fruits and vegetables, tofu and seaweed that help to keep ill health at bay.
When it comes to wellness, Sweden scores high in Gallup’s Global Wellbeing index. It’s celebrated for its excellent welfare state that makes sure of a healthy nation through both prevention and cure. Swedes are also keen on healthy activities - most city-dwellers have second homes in the country for outdoor pursuits, whether walking in the summer or skiing in the winter. And when you consider the capital of Stockholm is one of the most mentally stimulating cities in the world with the highest concentration of museums, it’s no wonder Swedes are physically and mentally nimble.
Antigua and Barbuda
As we reckon true healthiness is about good habits we say a big congrats to Antigua and Barbuda for having the lowest smoking rate in the world, with just 5% of males being smokers, compared to 19.3% in the UK. While the area has been hit with other issues, most prominently the Zika virus and difficulty rebuilding the state after suffering devastating hurricanes, once it’s back on its feet the good news is that its inhabitants really know how to look after themselves.
So wherever your travel plans take you in the New Year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.