The mild winters of Spain are definitely tempting to many instead of the long, snowy winters and sparse summer days we tend to have in the UK. Without a doubt, this single difference is often a reason why many will at least contemplate moving abroad. However, there are great healthy reasons why Spain is a good choice. One of those is indeed the sunshine; the other is the classic Mediterranean diet.
Arthritis & the Sunshine
The sun can heal, prevent health issues, and as most of us know these days, it can also create health issues. While sitting in the hot Spanish sun for hours or leaving off the sunscreen is not a healthy choice, scientists find that 15 minutes of sun a day can be very beneficial. How? Why?
The latest figures disclose that around 400,000 people in the UK have arthritis. While some foods contain vitamin D, our body primarily manufactures it from direct sunlight, which is our primary source. Professor Alan Silman, investigating for Arthritis Research UK, said: “Many people with arthritis have low levels of vitamin D, and this can affect the types of immune cells which may cause this condition.” Another study done by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health, recently published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, also linked this disease to the body’s ability to manufacture vitamin D.
While too much sun, particularly without sunblock, is known to provoke skin cancer, experts say just a fifteen-minute dose of sunshine will boost vitamin D manufacture without causing damage. If one thing is virtually inevitable, in Spain, you will get that 15 minutes a day!
The Mediterranean Diet
Olive oil, fish, fruit, and vegetables are primary ingredients in the Spanish diet. Popular dishes which include oily fish such as mackerel and sardines can provide essential vitamin D. In addition, research presented to the American Chemical Society in Boston revealed fruits and vegetables rich in anthocyanins have compounds that slow down the growth of colon cancer cells, in experiments in laboratory dishes or inside the body. Red and purple vegetables were among the highest levels – Ingredients that play an essential part within r Spanish/Mediterranean diet, such as aubergines, tomatoes, and red peppers.
Other studies, carried out in the last ten years, have also discovered the Mediterranean diet could be associated with a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes and reduce the risk of dying from cancer by 6%. The heavy consumption of olive oil in the Mediterranean diet is also thought to lower the risk of developing cancer.
For those who might be considering the benefits of a Spanish lifestyle, this research gives some definitive, pro-active health reasons actually to make that move.