Iceland Is No Longer the Healthiest Country in the World

Can you guess which country took its place? We'll give you a hint: it wasn't Canada, which came in 16th place.

Healthy food clean eating selection: fish, fruit, nuts, vegetable, seeds, superfood, cereals, leaf vegetable on black concrete background. Flat layVasiliyBudarin/Shutterstock

What is the new healthiest country?

Researchers seem to change their minds every other day about what kind of diet is the best to follow. As one fad diet replaces another, people are left wondering how they should really be eating. Well, according to the 2019 Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index, we should all be eating and living like Spaniards, as the European country has been named the healthiest country in the world.

So what does Spain have that those other countries don’t? A number of environmental and behavioural factors affect the outcome of the Healthiest Country Index, including life expectancy, substance abuse, disease, water quality, etc. Like other top healthy nations in the world, including Italy (which came in second place) and Iceland (which came in third), the citizens of Spain enjoy a very steady diet of fish. The Spanish diet, also known as the Mediterranean diet, also includes copious amounts of olive oil, nuts, and vegetables, and very limited red meat. As a result, the country has seen a steady decline in heart disease over the past decade, as well as a decline in the number of deaths related to cancer, as reported by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. (Check out these healthy lunch ideas from around the world!)

When it comes to healthcare, Spain mainly relies on public health providers and family practices, as opposed to the highly privatized health organizations we see in the United States (which ranked 35th in the 2019 Healthiest Country Index, by the way). While Japan currently holds the highest life expectancy in the world, experts predict that Spain will take the crown from the Asian country in this regard by the year 2040, when the life expectancy at birth for it citizens should hit 86 years old.

Only time will tell if Spain will keep the title of World’s Healthiest Country in the years to come. It is worth noting, however, that out of the 169 countries examined by this study, six out of the top 10 were European nations. So if you want to live a healthier life, try these tips for making your diet more Mediterranean.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest