Here's some good news if you live in the mountains. In the children's classic book "Heidi", a Swiss orphan gets strong and healthy when she visits her grandfather in the Alps. She eats dark bread, goat's milk and cheese, and she climbs all over the mountains with her friend Peter the goatherd.
Well, Heidi may have been on to something! According to the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, a new study finds that mountain dwellers live longer! Over 1000 Greek villagers were followed for 15 years - they were interviewed extensively, and tested for cardiovascular risk factors. Half of them lived at sea level and the other half in the mountains, and they were all hard-working farmers and herders who ate similar diets. The results? Even thought the highlanders tended to drink more alcohol and had higher blood pressure and cholesterol, they were much less likely to die of heart disease! The researchers believe that walking and working every day on rugged terrain, and perhaps the altitude, had a lot to do with it. If you live in the mountains - this is good news, especially if you walk regularly. But if you're a lowlander, you can make up for it by taking the stairs instead of the escalator, and increasing the incline on your treadmill a notch or two.
Oh yeah and those Greeks tend to eat healthier, too. So take a page out of the Mediterranean Diet book. That includes eating olive oil, plenty of vegetables, whole grains and fish.