It is a well known fact that travel broadens the mind. But if you take an annual vacation to the Costa Blanca in Spain this year then you could find that there are numerous other health benefits too. In fact this stretch of Mediterranean coast line in the Alicante province has been voted as one of the healthiest places in the world by the World Health Organisation. There are several geographical reasons for this but also practical lifestyle choices too. Here are a few reasons why a long vacation to the Costa Blanca this year could leave you feeling healthier than ever before. Diet The health benefits of a Mediterranean diet have been proven time and time again in various health studies. This isn’t a diet that is just relevant to the Costa Blanca region, or even Spain in general but to all Mediterranean countries. Each country has different ways of preparing and enjoying food, but the key ingredients of a Mediterranean diet remain the same and they are all very beneficial for the health. One of staple parts of the diet includes ‘plant foods’ – or fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans and whole grains. Packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants these natural food products can help the body fight off disease and provide you with long last energy. In costal Costa Blanca you will also find a lot of fish and seafood products on the menu – usually as an alternative to red meats. Fish is a much healthier option as it is lower in saturated fat and full of omega-3 essential fatty acid which promotes good heart health. Olive oil is another source of ‘good fats’ and is often used instead of high cholesterol butter and spread while full bodied, red wine is often enjoyed with meals and has good anti inflammatory properties. With one study indicating that people who enjoy a healthy, Mediterranean diet can live up to 15 years longer than those who don’t, now seems like the perfect time to start dining in the Costa Blanca.
Sunshine and climate With balmy temperatures and an estimated 320 days of sunshine per year, the Costa Blanca is a warm and cheerful place to be. Moderate exposure to the sun is essential in providing our bodies with vitamin D which the body needs in order to absorb and metabolize calcium for good teeth and bone health. Too little vitamin D and we become prone to conditions such as ricketts and more serious medical issues such as cardiovascular problems and cancer. Natural sunlight is the primary source of vitamin D as it is only found in a select few food products. The long, sunny days are also good at keeping your spirits high and far fewer people in sunny Spain suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder than in other European countries such as the UK. Due to it’s location on the coast, the nearby Crevillente mountain range and the salt water lakes of Torrevieja, the Costa Blanca region has a unique microclimate with low humidity and high amounts of iodine in the air. This climate can help ease the symptoms of people with arthritis, asthma, heart disease and rheumatic illness. Sea water and salt lakes Being on in a hot place on the coast means continuous opportunities to enjoy swimming in the sea but in the Costa Blanca you have the choice between the sea or the salt lake lagoons. The health benefits of salt water (which according to the National Weather Service contains 35g of salt per litre of water) have been debated, many experts now concur that there are several good reasons to enjoy swimming in the sea. The high levels of salt can act as a natural cleanser to clear up skin infections, sores or other wounds and can also help prevent against skin or ear infections. Many people with arthritis like to bask in the salt water lakes (despite the presence of several forms of wildlife including the iconic flamingos!) and enjoy the natural mud baths which reportedly give relief from joint and muscle pain. Inhaling the air around salt water is also thought to improve bronchial and respiratory conditions. Another great way to do this is to take a Mediterranean cruise, many of which travel throughout the Mediterranean ending in the Costa Del Sol and Costa Blanca. This is a great way to experience the health benefits of the sea water in a more luxurious manner and without having to stay solely in the Costa Blanca for your whole trip. And of course, you can’t forget that swimming in itself is great exercise to keep your blood pumping and promote good artery and heart health. Before You Travel Before you travel to the Costa Blanca remember to be prepared. This does not just mean learning some of the language and reading up on travel guides. You should also make sure you are well provisioned for sun cream, travel money including cash and pre-paid travel cards as a backup. While there are many health benefits as outlined above of sun, sea and fresh air, remember to research health warnings such as avoiding sunburn and heat stroke. Whether backpacking in youth hostels or relaxing on a luxury cruise line or perhaps somewhere in between, being prepared for your summer vacation means when you are there you can concentrate on enjoying yourself.