Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

7 Countries With the Healthiest People

They live well into their nineties and often times up break  the hundred year mark. Their existence is healthy but  the  underlying reasons are often cultural. In fact, it’s not just that   individuals take care of themselves; it’s a country-wide phenomenon  that’s  based on lifestyle choices.

Why are certain countries home  to the world’s happiest, healthiest people on Earth?  What do they  eat? What daily habits are different from other societies?

I set out to answer these questions and along the way I found some  striking  similarities between these fit nations, spread far and wide  across the  globe.

1. Iceland

Due to a smaller population, Iceland is one of the least polluted  countries  in the world. But clean air isn’t the only reason why  Icelanders are so  healthy; they also like to hit the gym. Due to chilly  weather much of the year,  Icelanders workout in order to beat the winter  blues. The country enjoys one of  the highest life expectancies (72 for  men and 74 for women). It also has one of  the lowest infant mortality  rates at 2 deaths per 1,000 babies. Forbes  Magazine ranked it the healthiest country in  the world.

2. Japan

The World Health Organization (WHO) calculated the countries where  people  live to full health the longest and Japan came out on  top with 74.5 years. Much of this is due  to diet.

“Every meal in Japan looks like a piece of art. Food is so beautiful  and so  delicious and so simple,” fitness expert Harley  Pasternak said to Empower News Magazine. “They are the  largest consumer of fish in the world and of whole soy and of  seaweed  and green tea. When they are about 80 percent full, they stop and wait   for about 10 minutes, then decide whether to keep going. And most times,  they  are full so they don’t need to keep eating more.”

3. Sweden

Government policies promote a healthy way of life including positive   work/life balance. The population also loves to play outside and with a   stunning landscape full of rolling hills, mountains, and glacial lakes,  it’s  easy, according to National  Geographic. Additionally, because of their location they eat a  diet  that’s high in fish and omega fatty acids. Their cooking methods  also reflect  that of a healthy population. Rather than using an  abundance of oil they poach,  ferment, smoke, and dry their foods.

4. Okinawa

Okinawa is a Prefecture or sub national jurisdiction of Japan.  However, it’s  worth mentioning it separately because it’s widely  believed to have the  healthiest people on Earth. According to the Okinawa Centenarian Study,  centenarian ratios may be  the world’s highest at approximately 50 per  100,000 people. The country is also  home to many super centenarians,  people that reach the age of 110 years old.  Okinawans attribute their  not only long, but healthy, happy lives to eating  tons of local  fruits and vegetables, as well as large quantities of tofu and seaweed.  Their lives also include rigorous daily activity  and relatively low  stress.

5. New Zealand

Similar to Iceland, a lower population and lack of pollution make New   Zealand a great place to call home. New Zealanders love outdoor  activities like  hiking, camping, and fishing. All and all it’s just an  easier place to embrace  a fit lifestyle. No matter where you live you’re  not but a 90 minute drive from  the ocean.

“Plus there’s an abundance of healthy whole foods. We eat fresh  seafood (we  often catch it ourselves) and local organic fruits and  vegetables. Everyone  grows something here and neighbors all put out bags  for purchase by anyone. We  get fresh lettuce from the kids’ school,  avocados from our tree, and kiwis,  apples and plums from our neighbors,”  says Jill  Chalmers who moved to New Zealand with her Kiwi  husband.

. Sardinia

Sardinia is an autonomous region of Italy that’s home to a large  population  of centenarians. There’s a real sense of community in  Sardinia. People are  close knit and the elderly often live with their  families. The men are often  shepherds, walking about 5 miles per day and  the diet  consists of “whole grain flatbread, fava beans,  tomatoes, greens,  garlic, various fruits, olive oil and pecorino cheese from  grass-fed  sheep (high in Omega 3).”

7. Finland

According to Forbes  Magazine, Finland was plagued with one of the  highest death  rates from heart disease just 30 years ago. As a result, the  nation has  worked vigorously to encourage a healthy lifestyle among its people.  Smoking has been reduced significantly and fruit and vegetable intake  has more  than doubled. It shows that if you make an effort to change,  you can.

While many factors lead to a long, healthy life, these countries have  a lot  in common. Many of them lack pollution and make a healthy  work/balance and  controlling stress a high priority. They also eat meat  very rarely if ever and  find protein in fish and tofu while loading up  on local fruits and  vegetables.

By Sara Novak, Planet Green

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the  environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the  planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two  robust websites,   PlanetGreen.com and TreeHugger.com,  offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve  to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery  Communications.

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