The Bloomberg Health Index declared Spain the healthiest country in the whole wide world a few weeks back and it came as little surprise to those of us lucky enough to live here.
The study takes into account a variety of factors such as life expectancy at birth, sanitation and health services. Britain came in at nineteenth, presumably after factoring in our national passion for beating each others brains out on a Friday night and the quaint Scottish custom of deep fat frying unsuspecting Mars bars before consumption. Actually, nineteenth looks like a jolly high ranking when you begin to think about it.
Anyway, back to Spain. I had some salad the other day for reasons I still can't fathom and, to tell the truth, it wasn't half as bad as I recalled, having last pushed a bit of lettuce past my reluctant lips in about 1872. That's not to say it won't be a good while before I indulge in the rabbit food option again simply because there are so many more tasty options to enjoy. Let's face it, anyone who chooses water cress and sweetcorn over pie and chips might be healthy of body but is certainly not sound of mind.
That's the thing though, our fine Spanish hosts eat salad with everything, dousing it unmercifully in vast quantities of olive oil and vinegar. Clearly, you're going to live to be three hundred if you do this every day. Three times. That's not to say humungous slabs of meat aren't consistently present but the old salad/oil combo soon puts paid to any devious plans a steak might have to scupper a bloke's health.
The siesta has got to be one of the best inventions known to man and a massive contributory factor to Spain's number one health spot. I always indulge, even if I only got up at midday. It's a marvellous custom, made all the more enjoyable by the weird and wonderful dreams a good afternoon sleep inspires.
Compare and contrast with the ludicrous American offering of the power nap. No wonder the US came in at number 35 on the Bloomberg list. Their sandwiches the size of Vesuvius and farm buckets of Coca Cola may also have had some influence on their position.
Spain's health service is second to none. In my - thankfully - limited experience, I've been met with nothing less than the highest level of professionalism at all times. Hats off.
To recap, then. We live in the healthiest country in the world and this fact should grant us the liberty to keep all those intolerable salads at bay without having to worry too much about it.