Thumbnail for Thanks (in part) to the Mediterranean diet, Spain has been declared the healthiest nation in the world

The renaissance of the Mediterranean diet has prompted many to shake up their usual shopping list to include items Kalamata olives, whole grains, fatty fish, and high-quality olive oils. The Blue Zone-beloved eating plan is a frontrunner in the ongoing fight against inflammation, and now you have one more reason to join in on the hype: The retro regime helped crown Spain the healthiest country in the world.

In a global health index that ranked 169 countries based on criteria like life expectancy and environmental factors, Bloomberg gave Spain the highest health grade: 93 percent (that’s a solid A), while the U.S. came in 35th with a score of 73 (eek, that’s a D…minus). A 2018 review by Spain’s European Observatory on Health Systems observed a decade-long decline in cardiovascular diseases and deaths from cancer, and researchers say the Mediterranean eating plan—which is really just normal eating Spain—might be the reason why.

A study published in 2018 in The New England Journal of Medicine found that 7,447 participants who were are a high cardiovascular risk found that those who ate a Mediterranean diet accompanied with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts had lesser incidence of major cardiac events when compared to a reduced-fat diet. And researchers believe that may well provide evidence for why Spain took the top spot (with Italy in close second earning a health grade of 92).

Apart from taking those health ticker benefits to (*ahem*) to heart, it’s also important to remember that the Mediterranean diet promotes brain health, can help relieve depression and anxiety, works wonders for your gut, and much, much more. So if you’re down to live as healthily as the Spaniard do, go ahead: eat that paella!

Valencia is currently the star of Spain’s wellness scene, here’s why. Plus, how to navigate the Mediterranean diet (and streets of the world’s healthiest country!) if you don’t eat meat. 

Thanks (in part) to the Mediterranean diet, Spain has been declared the healthiest nation in the world

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