Red wine, olive oil and garlic. These are all staples in the Italian diet, and, in addition to being delicious, they could also hold the key to a long life.
According to the Bloomberg Global Health Index, Italians have been named the healthiest people in the world, and many of the reasons for this are attributed to their diet. Rich in healthy fats, nutrient-dense leafy greens and antioxidants, the Mediterranean diet boasts many benefits for anyone who consumes it.
The average diet of a person in Italy is abundant in olive oil, leafy greens and lean protein sources, as well as in-season fruit and red wine. While these foods all have their own particular benefits, more is not always better. Portion sizes in Italy and the rest of Europe are traditionally much smaller than regularly served American portions. It is not only the foods themselves, but also the amount of foods that Italians are eating that makes them such a healthy people. In fact, one of the few things Italians eat more than Americans is healthy extra-virgin olive oil.
The Mediterranean Diet has caught on as a health fad in many countries as the benefits of consuming such a diet continue to surface. One study shows that the risk of mortality significantly decreases when consuming a Mediterranean Diet, and that’s not all. Many people experience lower cholesterol, decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes, and less likelihood to suffer from cancer or neurodegenerative diseases.
While the power of diet is definitely a strong factor in the healthfulness of the Italian population, there are lifestyle factors that come into play as well. For example, Italy has one of the highest ratios of doctors to people. For every 100 people, there are 38 physicians. In contrast, the average number of physicians per 100 people worldwide is between 20 and 30. In some third world countries, there are as little as eight physicians per 100 people. With so many physicians available in Italy, the average person can visit one regularly for ailments, aches and pains that people in other countries may not.
Italy may not have the best economy, the highest levels of job satisfaction or the lowest stress levels, but one thing is certain: they have the healthiest people in the world. The Bloomberg Global Health Index bases their findings on life expectancy, health risks, causes of death and access to clean water and healthy foods. Italy is currently thriving in all of these aspects, making them the healthiest country in the world. The full list of countries ranked by Bloomberg can be found in the Global Report, published every year with the latest statistics and research from over 163 countries across the globe.
For more about elements of Italians’ diet, keep reading here: