A recent study has declared Spain as the healthiest country in the world. For some time, this country has been consistently among the top 5. Indeed, the ageing Iberian population is remarkable as they are not only numerous but also keep very active well into their 80s.
As we celebrate World Health Day, at WabiHost we decided to reflect on why this is so and whether we truly are doing that well. As we know, food in Spain is quite a big deal so let’s start with the basics: our beloved Spanish food.
Eating in Spain
Spain is rich in traditions and food is no exception. Old-fashioned dishes across the Peninsula include beans, nuts, large amounts of fish and seafood, season vegetables and varied fruits. These have always been regarded as superfoods, e.g foods that contain an exceptional amount of nutrients. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Spain is one of the countries that suffer less from heart disease in the world.
However, Spaniards also consume high quantities of meat and cold cuts which are deemed unhealthy. Furthermore, fried dishes like calamari, croquettes, cachopos and fried potatoes are also extremely popular. So how can we be so healthy?
Well, most nutritionists will surely agree that a balanced eating habit is key. Spain certainly ticks that box with its Mediterranean diet. Seasonal dishes and traditional flavours remain very popular. Millennials are increasingly preoccupied with what they eat and where food comes from. But we must be careful for people are consuming more and more processed foods in industrial quantities. Advertising campaigns and low prices might trick us into buying unwisely.
We ought to review what we have been doing in the last decades and save the good stuff. Our grandparents used to cook at home with what they had at hand, not far from their doorstep. That’s how they gave birth to amazing nutrient-packed dishes that made them live long happy lives. Follow a balanced diet, prioritise quality over quantity and respect nature. These are key pieces of advice that they have for us. Visit your local market, ask what’s in season and try new things.
Food is not the whole story
Back in the day, people used to break from work and have lunch with their families before heading back to the office. This is a lovely tradition that we should not abandon so easily. Increasing number of people around the world eat at their desks. Meanwhile, in Spain even in a big city such as Madrid you can see workers eating together at the local bar. After eating, they sometimes have something called “sobremesa” in Spanish. Although this word is difficult to translate in other languages, we can understand it roughly as “the time we spend socialising at a table after a meal”.
We have to eat with good company and share our food. Because it’s not just food that we share over a meal, but also words, thoughts and feelings. We express ourselves and feel liberated, understood, not alone.
Spaniards are not afraid of speaking their minds. People here often talk about their experiences and opinions and by doing so, they cope with pressure and stress.
“The healthiest country in the world” is a title anyone can get and easily lose. If we are to live long happy lives, there is much we should learn and remember. WabiHost is committed to showing real food from Spain, buying from responsible sources and bringing people together. Join our Spanish table and be part of a healthier world.
Click here to book a Foodie Walking Tour with us and learn everything about the real Spanish food.