Monthly Wrap: The world’s healthiest countries in 2019

Currencies Direct December 7th 2018 - 3 minute read

As we hurtle towards the New Year, many of us are starting to think of resolutions to embrace over the next twelve months.
Typically a lot of these resolutions will be health related and focus on things like diet and exercise.
As your environment can be just as important as your willpower when it comes to sticking to a healthy lifestyle, we’ve taken a look at some of the healthiest countries in 2019. A move abroad might not be an option, but embracing some habits from overseas might help you succeed with your resolution this year!


Okinawa, Japan, is often called ‘the land of immortals’, and for good reason. Many of the residents are over 100 years old, and in Japan as a whole, the average life expectancy comes in at a whopping 83.9 years old.
Okinawa also has a substantially lower-than-normal risk of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s and arthritis. The plant-based oestrogens (phytoestrogens) are said to help protect against hormone-dependent cancers, such as breast cancer. 
One of the reasons Japan has one of the highest life expectancies in the world is the national diet,  which contains a lot of fish (good for your heart) that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids can range from helping to fight depression and anxiety, age-related mental health decline and Alzheimer’s disease to fighting autoimmune diseases.
The traditional diet consists largely of fresh and unprocessed foods, containing little sugar.
The diet also includes fermented foods such as miso and natto, which are supposed to support a healthy digestive system, with natto having a probiotic action that has been shown to help reduce IBS.

Hong Kong

The average life expectancy in Hong Kong is 84.2 years of age (just beating Japan) with women living to an average age of 87.66 and men 81.70 years.
Priority healthcare for the elderly, easy access to walking routes via footbridges and lifts, a preference for fresh fish, fruits and vegetables, a strong minded population and regular socialisation through family get-togethers are all attributed as contributing to the high life expectancy.


Switzerland also has a very high life expectancy, with an average of 83.3 years. One of the reasons used to explain locals’ longevity is the sense of community within the culture. 94% of people in the country said they had at last one person they could depend on in a time of need when surveyed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Loneliness is believed to have a negative impact on health. A lonely brain is said to be restless, and always on the lookout for social threats, and is more susceptible to depression. Studies have also found that while obesity increases your odds of early death by 20%, loneliness can increase your odds by 45%.


Another country that has a high life expectancy is Spain, where (on average) you could live to 83.1 years old – the most impressive lifespan in Europe.
Spain is said to spend about 10% of its GDP on healthcare.
Studies have suggested that Spain is on track to overtake Japan (in terms of being one of the healthiest countries in the world) by 2040, and one of the reasons for this is said to be the Mediterranean diet, with fruit, vegetables, fish and meat playing an important role.
A Mediterranean diet is full of healthy fats for the brain and can be great for preventing dementia and cognitive decline. It also strengthens your bones, helps manage diabetes, fights depression, protects against cancer and reduces your risk of heart disease.


Australians tend to live, on average, to 82.5 years old. As wealth is increasing in the country so is life expectancy, with better healthcare the result of a thriving economy.
Australian data shows that people born in the country between 2011 to 2013 are now expected to live around 33-34 years longer than those born between 1880 to 1890.
Smoking rates in the country have also declined faster than in other countries, such as the US, thanks to better public health campaigns.
After reading the benefits of the lifestyle and diets in these countries, what new habits will you pick up in 2019?   

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