These are the countries in which women have the longest lifespan, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Health Data 2005:
New Zealand 81.1
Finland had the highest rate of deaths from heart disease in the world in the 1970s. It has now reversed that trend by combining a healthier diet and outdoor exercise. Half of women walk or cycle to work and the populace defy sub-zero temperatures to hike and ski.
Although the French diet is higher in dairy fat, they have less heart disease, are slimmer and live longer than most Europeans. Garlic and red wine are thought to be responsible for some of the lower levels of cardiovascular disease.
A combination of beneficial foods including fish, rice, soya and vegetables mean the Japanese have lower rates of heart disease than Europeans. Soya improves bone health and prevents hot flushes and is thought to fight cancer. Antioxidant vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, are also popular. The Japanese also drink green tea which is full of antioxidants
There is less Alzheimer’s amongst elderly people in India than in most Western countries.
Circumin, the active ingredient in tumeric a speice used in curry, has been linked to these lower levels of disease. Scientists at the University of California believe it may slow down the progression of the disease. They discovered that there were half the number of amayloid plaques – the protein thought to be implicated in Alzheimer’s – in people who consumed circumin. It has also been shown to stop the spread of some cancers.