It has become a topic of conversation, gaining fame like a movie star with every passing second. And the figures revealed by a public health study are conclusive: in the region of Galicia, the life expectancy for women is more than 84 years and around 80 for men.
After analyzing this information, nutrition experts didn't take long in finding a link between this healthy longevity and eating habits. They now believe that people born in northeastern Spain have a prolonged life expectancy because of the Atlantic diet they follow, which is considered to be just as healthy as the Mediterranean.
Thanks to the proximity of tidal inlets and the sea, the Atlantic diet is basically made up of “good” proteins coming from seafood and fish, both loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which are ideal for a healthy heart and brain.
Aniceto Charro, Head of the Department of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Nutrition at San Carlos Hospital in Madrid, believes the eating regimen his compatriots follow reduces the mortality rate of any disease by 25%. That's why in his best activist style, he urges Galician politicians and nutritionists to familiarize the world with the advantages of the Atlantic diet.
Is there a secret? "Everything is consumed fresh," explains Charro. Fish is fresh, and it's very common to eat vegetables straight from the garden. "In addition to being healthy, products practically don't go through any type of processing," he emphasized.
In light of the prolonged life phenomenon in the region, the World Health Organization (WHO) has become intensely interested in this type of diet comparing it with diets in Japan--a country that is home to the largest number of healthy, hundred-year-old elders on a global scale along with the island of Dominica--and in places where raw fish seems to have significantly influenced an increase in life expectancy.
The department head highlights that there exists "a very strong foundation which allows us to prove our eating habits are excellent and just as good as those of the Mediterranean diet." Furthermore, the longevity of the region of Galicia surpasses that of the Mediterranean by a few months seemingly thanks to the Atlantic diet.
To complete the Galician nutrition pyramid, Charro lists some "positive" foods such as veal because it has "very little fat" and even a Galician stew "which we know as the walking olive tree because the fat it contains is similar to that of olive oil”.
Moreover, Galicians consume legumes, which contain "excellent" vegetable proteins, as well as milk and cheese. Although the latter two contain saturated fat, Charro assures they're beneficial because they possess "an enormous amount of minerals and calcium which are excellent for strengthening bones especially in pregnant women, kids, and elderly people."
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