Positivity and purpose, a low stress level, a natural diet and an active lifestyle…experts say those factors are three times as important as your genetic makeup when it comes to enjoying a long and healthy life. It’s easier to embrace those elements when you’re in a place where they come naturally. So if you’re keen to kick-start your health, or already a health-junkie not wanting to let good habits slide, where’re the best places in the world to enjoy a healthy holiday?
If you don’t mind the long flight, New Zealand is an incredibly healthy country, offering Kiwi-style, laid-back living, an awesome, pollution-free landscape, nature on every doorstep and an abundance of healthy whole foods, including local, fresh seafood, free-range game (namely venison) and organic fruits and vegetables. Work-life balance here is healthy, plus the New Zealand people are a fit bunch, so there’s plenty for sporty, outdoorsy travellers to get stuck into, from glacial trekking to rugby. Head to adventure capital Queenstown for some of the most thrilling activities the country has to offer – they’ll get your pulse racing healthily, but watch out some of them don’t give you a heart attack! Bungee skydive, anyone?
There are also parts of the world with unusually high life-expectancies, called ‘Blue Zones’. One of these is Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula on the country’s northwest coast, where a surprising number of people live to be 100. Sardinia in Italy is another Blue Zone, with the thought behind this being that it’s a place that values family, social networking, laughter and sunshine…however some locals might argue that the secret’s actually the local wine Cannonau - a dark red with the world’s highest levels of antioxidants.
Incidentally, other countries also convincingly attribute good health and old age with red wine. Despite having a high-fat diet, France has low rates of heart disease, and its people generally live well into their eighties, apparently because of the amount of red wine they drink. High levels of a plant chemical called procyanidin are found in Tannat grapes from the southwest region of France – experts say this is beneficial for blood vessels. And if that’s not a reason for you to overindulge on holiday then nothing is! Other healthy Blue Zones which are also incredibly fun holiday destinations are parts of Japan, Greece and even California.
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