Sweden is best known for its impressive architecture, great natural beauty and fresh, clean air. Largest of all Scandinavian nations, Sweden has gained repute for one other thing – health. Nordic countries like Sweden are known to be the healthiest countries in the world. Sweden has a low rate of health problems and life expectancy is one of the highest across the globe.
Sweden has adopted dietary guidelines based on a high-fat diet as a means to achieve optimal health.This decision was based on research, which maintained that foods high in fats such as butter, olive oil, cream and bacon are not harmful, but actually beneficial for those who wish to lose weight. The study also went on to say that there is no connection between high fat consumption and heart disease. Butter consumption is rising in Sweden and has more than doubled in the last few years. There are no reports of any corresponding rise in heart disease. On the contrary, some studies maintain that the increase in butter consumption is actually making the Swedes healthier!
Healthy Swedish ingredients
Many Nordic ingredients are known to help in reducing bad cholesterol levels and protecting against cardiovascular disease. Knäckebröd is a staple in the Swedish diet. Made from rye flour, this crispbread is packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytoestrogens. Filmjölk is Swedish yoghurt that contains folic acid, lactic acid and important bacterial cultures. The humble potato is one of the main features of Swedish food and is surprisingly quite effective in aiding weight loss. It is low in calories, high in many vitamins and minerals, and has a high water content that causes satiation quickly. Swedes continue to eat many of the foods their ancestors used to eat such as fermented food and dried or salted seafood. Fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids that are beneficial for the immune system and nervous system. Fermented foods are known to help in breaking down fat and regulating blood pressure.
Sweden’s healthcare system adopts a holistic approach. It is funded mainly by the government and advocates healthier work environments and evening walks to boost wellbeing. The Swedish healthcare system is used as a model by many other nations as even though it doesn’t spend as much as some other countries, it still delivers high-quality services and also manages to achieve low infant mortality and high life expectancy rates. Healthcare is available to both native residents and expats. The benefits of this system include shorter hospital stays and limited waiting time for pre-planned treatments such as cataracts and hip-replacement procedures. The waiting time cannot exceed 90 days and if it does, the council pays the bill and the cost of travel for the procedure.
Harmony with nature
Expats relocating to Sweden are often in awe of Sweden’s spectacular natural beauty. The closeness to nature may be another reason why Swedes enjoy healthier lives. The lush wilderness, clean water and fresh air contribute to a life of wellness and harmony. The country also has much to offer when it comes to outdoor activities. Sweden’s ski resorts are among the best in the world. Their northerly latitude ensures that there is snow between the months of December and April. For those who enjoy hiking, there are about 400 trails that run across the country. These are well maintained by the Swedish Tourist Association and provide hikers with all the necessary resources. Sweden is also a bike-friendly country and has an efficient network of cycle paths and well-defined cycle routes.
The Swedish lifestyle is based on the philosophy that happy people are healthier and also more productive. This is apparent at workplaces where there is emphasis on attaining a healthy balance between work and personal life. It is common for people to take off on Friday afternoons for weekend trips. Those who work on hourly shifts can swap their shifts in case they have personal commitments. Employees receive 5 to 7 weeks of paid vacation and stay completely cut off from the workplace during this time. The coffee or fika break is an important activity at the workplace where employees and managers get together and have an informal chat about work and life.