For the past 10 years, I’ve lived on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. This expat life has plenty of frustrations — missing friends and family, struggling with the language, many long flights toting a grumpy kid — but one thing that’s undeniable is that it’s way easier to live a healthy lifestyle here than back in the States.
Supermarkets brim with local, fresh ingredients at reasonable prices. A slower pace of life makes it easier to fit in exercise and hobbies. And the tight-knit culture here makes it hard for anyone to become profoundly lonely. Having beautiful beaches nearby certainly isn’t bad for stress levels either.
All of this might prompt the U.S.-based to reply: Good for you, but what does that have to do with me? Americans want to live longer, healthier lives and have more energy to devote to their companies and passions. But cfew can pick up and move to the Mediterranean.
Does that mean that folks living in other parts of the world have to just throw up their hands and admire the Mediterranean lifestyle from afar? Not according to a new study from researchers out of Harvard and their Spanish collaborators. The recently published research looking at data on more than 100,000 Britons concluded that even people living in far colder and busier climes can see big health benefits when trying to live like a Mediterranean.
What happens when you live like a Greek in Glasgow?
Britain, with its dreary weather, fish and chips, and more introverted culture (trust me on this one, I lived in London for years too, so I have some basis for comparison) is a long way from sunny Spain and convivial Italy. Can even people in the land of pub food and the stiff upper lip manage to emulate a Mediterranean way of life in such a way that it makes a significant difference to their health?
To figure this out. the researchers looked at a huge database on the lifestyles of more than 100,000 Brits over the age of 40. How many fruits, veggies, and whole grains did they eat? How much rest did they get? How much social interaction? After giving each individual a MEDLIFE score, which measured how Mediterranean their lifestyle was, the researchers followed how…