Portugal among the best 15 tourism-friendly countries

According to the World Economic Forum, Portugal is the best 15th country to visit as a tourist.

The organization ranked 141 countries across 14 dimensions on their ability to receive tourists giving each dimension a score from from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest).

Portugal’s overall score was 4.6.

Portugal received the highest scores in the following dimensions: Safety & Security, Health & Hygiene, Tourist Service Infrastructure, and Prioritization of Travel & Tourism, which placed the country among the best 15 countries in the entire world to travel to as a tourist.

In the dimensions of Safety & Security and Tourist Service Infrastructure Portugal’s overall score placed the country in the 10th place. Meaning Portugal is one of the safest countries to travel to and that there are plenty of tourism infrastructures to help and support tourists needs. Portugal is placed at the 17th place in the dimension of Cultural Resources & Business Travel, implying the country it is a great option for those who travel looking for Culture and History and for those who travel for business. The country ranked number 12 for the number of World Heritage (UNESCO) cultural sites. Regarding the sub index of Infrastructures, Portugal got the 1st place for Quality of Roads meaning the roads are considered efficient and extensive by international standards.

For Health & Hygiene, Portugal got the 1st place in the sub dimensions of Access to Sanitation and to Drinking Water, with a score of 100% meaning, the entire population is covered by those two basic needs. For physician density per 1,000 people, Portugal is in the 20th place of the whole ranking.

Overall the report classifies Portugal as a safe destination with good infrastructures for tourists and prepared to welcome them and give them the support they need.

The first place in the report is occupied by Spain. Read the full report here.



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Botox injections – 5 things to know about wrinkle treatment

Aging is transversal to every human being. Some wish to get around those visible signs of by doing dermo-cosmetic treatments, in order to look younger and better about their appearance.

The face is usually the most visible place where signs of aging appear. The face is exposed to several external factors that accelerate the process of aging like gravity, sun exposure, and environmental damage, among others.

The application of Botulinum Toxin is one of the most common treatments used to relieve the visible signs of wrinkles and expression lines. Differing from wrinkles caused by sun exposure, expression lines in the face have their origin in muscular contraction, a voluntary or involuntary reflex of the way we convey feelings.

A common brand of this toxin is called Botox, although many other brands are authorized to produce Botulinum Toxin in order to soften expression lines.

Before considering having this rejuvenating treatment abroad, here are 5 things you should know:

  1. Ensure you’re getting to treatment done by a medical professional.

    This is a medical procedure that should only be performed by a medical professional, neither by a cosmetic expert nor by a nurse.

  2. The application of Butolinic Toxin should be done in certified facilities in which the patient can have total confidence.

    Ask for certification references.

  3. Make sure the communication between you and the medical staff runs smoothly and start the treatment only when all your doubts are clarified.

    Usually a pre-assessment consultation is the best way to know the doctor and to get the doctor to know you.

  4. The treatment isn’t permanent.

    You should repeat the injections every 3 to 4 months.

  5. The three most common areas for injections are in the glabella (the space between the eyebrows), the area around the eyes known for “crow’s feet” and the forehead.

    This treatment can also be applied to the entire face and neck.

This anti-aging treatment is performed through small injections in the skin muscles with a fine needle. When injected in the muscles, it blocks the nerve activity, smoothing the appearance of hyper-functional lines. Through the inhibition of neurotransmission between the peripheral nerve endings and muscle fibres, Botulin Toxin weakens or paralyzes skeletal muscle. The procedure takes around 20 minutes and no anesthesia is needed.

By partnering with the top private facilities in Portugal, Medical Port ensures to its customers access to the best medical care. Hospital Lusíadas Lisboa and Hospital Lusíadas Porto are two of the most modern health care providers in Portugal, with accreditation by Joint Commission International plus an experienced Dermo-cosmetics Team. This way we make sure your Botox treatment benefits from the bests professionals in the field, an adequate medical follow-up and appropriate facilities, facts that contribute decisively to successful results.



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Best places to retire in Europe for Americans

American news website U.S. News listed the 15 best places for Americans who dream to retire in Europe and how affordable it is to fulfil the dream.

Ordered by the average cost of houses per square meter, from the cheapest to the most expensive in Europe, Portugal ranks number 4. Meaning Portugal is one of the best places for Americans to retire.

The article refers many advantages to why Portugal is a great place to retire:

“This Old World region has been attracting foreign retirees for decades and is home to more than 100,000 resident expat retirees. Thanks to its 3,300 hours of sunshine per year, more sunny days than almost anywhere else in Europe, the Algarve has a longstanding reputation as a top summer destination among European sun-seekers and a top winter retreat for those looking to escape Northern Europe’s coldest months.”

The average cost per square meter in the southern region of Algarve, Portugal is $1,345. Much cheaper than France ($14,724) or Spain ($5,213) and those who chose the Algarve aren’t likely to be disappointed:

“The Algarve’s 100 miles of Atlantic coastline are punctuated by jagged rock formations, lagoons and extensive sandy beaches, many awarded coveted blue flags from the European Blue Flag Association. The water off these shores is azure, and the cliff-top vistas are spectacular. In other words, you could fill your days here at the beach swimming, sunning and boating. In addition, the region boasts 42 golf courses in less than 100 miles and is generally recognized as a top golfing destination in continental Europe.”

Retire in Portugal is a great option for those who enjoy the sun, the sand and golf. Mild temperatures all year round, especially in the Algarve area make it possible to enjoy outdoor activities even during winter months.

Read the full article here.



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There are 6 types of obese people, according to new study

A new study published in the Journal of Public Health from Oxford University classifies 6 types of obese people. This study aims to help healthcare providers to better understand obese patients and the differences between them.

The study starts by analyzing a group of people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) higher than 30, which are considered obese. The limitation of BMI is that it considers everyone with a BMI over 30 to be obese and doesn’t take into account the heterogeneity of such group.

Researchers wanted to create subgroups within obese people that would take into account the differences between them: “BMI is a classification of weight and height, not of people, who are only similar in terms of their BMI category. Using a single classification for obesity will fail to recognize the variation between the individuals who are obese.”

To study and classify types of obese people is important because, according to the researchers: “Failing to acknowledge the population-level heterogeneity among those classified as obese may restrict the effectiveness of interventions or treatments offered by clinicians, since approaches may need tailoring depending upon the health practices associated with individuals involved.”

Six different types of people with a BMI <30 were identified:

  1. Heavy drinking males: these are less likely to manage their weight well;
  2. Young healthy females: who are more likely to take weight loss steps;
  3. Wealthy healthy elderly: these people tend to have higher blood pressure;
  4. Physically sick but happy elderly: people with a good mental health and a good sense of well-being;
  5. Unhappy anxious middle aged: mostly women who may suffer from psychological issues and;
  6. Poorest health: this group has de highest prevalence of chronic health conditions and doesn’t engage in healthy behaviors.

The goal of the study was to show that within obese people there are major differences: different attitudes towards life, well-being notions and behaviors, and predisposition to take action to lose weight. This study more than identifying and categorizing obese people, tries to show the importance of understanding the reason for the excess weight and the entire context around obese people to better help them achieve a more healthy weight.

Our weight-loss programs are designed to specifically understand the underlying reasons for excess weight and based on that decide the best approach for an effective and long term weight loss. If you would like to know more about Medical Port’s weight loss programs, click here.

Read the full article about the 6 types of obese people here.



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Porto in Portugal is in the news all over the world

For the past few months news articles about Portugal’s second largest city, Porto, have been written all over the world. From the newspaper Los Angeles Times, the American fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar to the Australian newspaper Herald Sun, Porto has been highlighted for its natural beauty, magnificent monuments and great food.

The LA Times emphasizes that Porto is full of art, history and architecture and everyone must see at least 4 places:

São Bento Railway Station

“Visitors who travel to Porto by rail are rewarded with murals of 20,000 hand-painted tiles depicting naval battles and other historic scenes.”

Church of Saint Francis

“Every tour book highlights the 15th century Church of St. Francis and its altars, statues and other religious icons supposedly gilded with more than 400 pounds of gold.” 

Lello Bookstore

“This bookstore, rated third best in the world by Lonely Planet a few years ago, has a stunning stained-glass ceiling, a red-carpeted wooden staircase and a banister crafted in the Gothic style.” 

Serralves Museum

“This 45-acre site, about a 15-minute taxi ride outside Porto’s historic district, attracts more than 300,000 visitors annually.”

Harper’s Bazaar talks about Porto in an article about the “10 underrated European destinations”, uncrowded cities that make a perfect European vacation.

“It’s hard not to fall in love with Portugal’s romantic second city, Porto. Located on the coast of the Rio Douro, the portside town is a melting pot of colors and architectural styles; from the pastel townhouses to the medieval bell towers, the extravagant baroque churches to the classical beaux-arts state buildings. Wine aficionados come here for the growing number of wine caves and cellars open for tastings, while music-lovers travel for the Primavera Sound festival every June.”

Herald Sun advises travellers to Porto not to pack tight clothes because it’s hard to walk in them after eating so much great food “pack plenty of elastic-waisted clothing because the food and wine are irresistible”. The Australian newspaper describes the city as “(…) an elegantly tarnished city with a rich history that dates back to the Romans. Its chipped wall tiles, peeling paint and rusty ironwork are part of its charm, and it is extremely charming. Its colorful Ribeira (meaning riverside) district is a UNESCO World Heritage Site”.



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Reduce sugar intake should be a nutrition priority

Last week we discussed the importance of reducing salt intake for a better health and nutrition. This week’s post is about reducing sugar intake.

The World Health Organization has recently updated the recommendations on the amount of sugar adults and children should consume every day. The intake of free sugars should be less than 10% of total energy intake per day.

Free sugars are monosaccharides like glucose and fructose and disaccharides like table sugar that are added to foods and drinks and are naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices. Sugars present in fresh fruits, vegetables or milk aren’t part of this recommendation as there is no reported evidence of adverse effects of consuming these sugars.

The way we consume sugar is disguised in the processed foods present in our diet. For example, 1 tablespoon of ketchup contains around 1 teaspoon of free sugars. And a can of soda contains up to 10 teaspoons of free sugars.

In the words of Dr. Francesco Branca, the Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, “We have solid evidence that keeping intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake reduces the risk of overweight, obesity and tooth decay”.

The consumption of high amounts of free sugars leads to increased weight and to higher rates of dental caries. It is also believed that the consumption of free sugars increases the overall energy intake, reducing the need for foods that provide more nutritionally adequate forms of energy.

The discussion about the health benefits and the disadvantages of sugar isn’t new and many myths appeared over the years. The following video from Business Insider deconstructs 5 myths of sugar: artificial sweeteners are healthier, sugar brings satisfaction, the sugar present in foods is bad, organic sugar is healthier and sugar free diets are the answer. The video is quite educative and answers many relevant questions.


Read the entire WHO recommendation here.



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Portuguese hotels awarded for their rooms, design and cleanliness

Vacation search website Edreams asked their users to vote for the best hotel in Europe, and a Portuguese hotel got the second place, hotel Marquês do Pombal in Lisbon.

The remaining top 10 best hotels in Europe are hotels in Spain, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The study was conducted by analysing more than 74000 hotel reviews from users all over the world. Voters were asked to rate their favourite hotels in 6 categories: best service, rooms, quality/price ratio, design, meals and cleanliness. Hotels were then rated by their accumulated score in each category . Ratings range from 0 to 5. The overall score of the hotel Marques do Pombal was 4,769. Edreams describes the hotel as being:

“This 4-star boutique hotel not only offers rooms each uniquely decorated, but also offers additional services including a gym with trainers, turkish bath and a sauna. The hotel is located in the heart of Lisbon, next to one of the main avenues, Avenida Liberdade.”

Looking at each category in separate, Lisbon hotels have another awards, namely best “Design/ Style”, “Cleanliness” and “Room” in which Hotel Sheraton Lisboa & Spa got the first place, among many other European hotels.

“Hotel rooms that are clean, comfortable and have a nice view are all part of the criteria in the category for hotel with the best room. The 5-star Sheraton Lisboa Hotel & Spa in the capital of Portugal surpasses the competition, with the number one position and a score of 4.929.”

Regarding design and style of the hotel, voters evaluated the surroundings of hotel amenities and services and Sheraton Lisboa Hotel & Spa because of “not only are the luxurious rooms convincing, but the restaurant, cocktail bar and rooftop, boasts amazing views of Lisbon, giving this hotel a deserved score of 4.857.”

To read the full Edreams study on the best hotels in Europe, click here.



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Dangers of consuming too much salt

Salt is present in almost every single ingredient in the food we eat. There is the very bad habit to enjoy overly salty foods or to add salt for extra flavour. And adding too much salt can be harmful for your health.

According to the World Health Organization “1.7 million deaths could be prevented each year if people’s salt consumption were reduced to the recommended level of less than 5 g per day”.

Salt’s main component is sodium, a mineral essential to human health that “helps to regulate fluids by letting the body know when it’s time to replenish or dispose of water”, according to a Medical Daily article.

Salt can harm your health in many ways, from the brain, kidneys, bones, heart and skin. Salt can increase blood pressure and risk of heart disease, leading in many cases to death.

“Sodium plays a key role in balancing the levels of fluid in our bodies by signaling to the kidneys when to retain water and when to get rid of water. A high-sodium diet can interfere with this delicate process and reduce kidney function. The result is less water removed from the body, which may lead to higher blood pressure.”, according to Medical Daily.

The World Health Organization recommends reduce salt consumption by not adding salt or other salty sauces to food preparation, nor having salt on the table and limit the consumption of salty snacks. The organization also states “people are often unaware of the amount of salt they consume. In many countries, most salt comes from processed foods (e.g. ready meals; processed meats like bacon, ham and salami; cheese and salty snacks) or from food consumed frequently in large amounts (e.g. bread).” Most of the people aren’t aware of this, resulting in high daily salt intakes per person, including children.

If you would like to know more about how to sustain a balanced and healthy diet and to prevent future diseases, Medical Port can help you. Contact us to know more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Read the full World Health Organization recommendation here.



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Professional Golf Association names Portugal one of the 5 great golf destinations

Golf lovers around the world have their dream golf trip, a place where they can practice their skill, enjoy the good weather and meet fellow golfers for exciting games.

According to PGA, most golf players will name Scotland and Ireland as their dream golf trip, as they “provide some of the world’s most treasured golf experiences”.

The golf association wanted to give golf other options of great places to play golf around the world and they named the best 5 places to do so: New Zealand, Canada, Wales, Portugal and Spain. These are the golf destinations “For those who want to broaden their horizons and venture to other parts of the world, there are several enticing locales that offer spectacular courses and scenery and a plethora of off-the-course activities and pursuits.”

In a short description why Portugal is one of the great golf destinations, the article highlights the “Stunning postcard-like settings, superbly designed golf courses, exceptional cuisine and fine wines”. Also says that in the Algarve there are more than 50 golf courses along the 250-mile coastline, surrounding the golf courses by the white sand beaches, turquoise waters and the cliffs. Besides the Algarve, there are a series of golf courses around the country, most of them along the coastline also.

The fact that Portugal enjoys more than 330 days of sunshine per year and the temperatures are mild all-year round (including mild winters without snow) makes it a great destination golf lovers. Famous golf course designers like Robert Trent Jones Jr., Joe Lee, Ronald Fream and Rocky Roquemore have designed courses in Portugal attracted by the scenery and design possibilities.

For those who are still not convinced to choose Portugal the Professional Golf Association article adds: “Inland, the coastal plains are dotted with fig, olive and eucalyptus trees. When you place more than 20 golf courses amidst this awesome backdrop, you’ve instantly created one of the most desirable places in the world to tee it up.”

Read the full article here.



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