The Lifestyle Of Longevity On Ikaria

There’s a Greek island off the coast of Turkey, called Ikaria, whose inhabitants live about 10 years longer on average than the rest of Europeans. They also have a better quality of life, with 60% of those over 90 years old being active, as opposed to 20% elsewhere. Levels of depression and dementia are low, and problems like cancer and heart disease arise about 10 years later than normal. Naturally, these facts piqued the interest of researchers, who set out to see what’s different about life on the island. They don’t have a clear answer, but they made a number of observations:

  • The lifestyle on the island is slow-paced and easy going
  • The people are friendly and very sociable
  • They eat a lot of fish, vegetables and goat milk
  • They don’t eat much beef, pork or chicken
  • They use a lot of wild greens and herbs for both food (e.g., tea) and medicine
  • They don’t eat much processed foods
  • Most food is cooked in olive oil
  • They get a lot of fresh air
  • They get a lot of exercise, even just by having to walk through the island’s mountainous terrain
  • They drink a moderate amount of wine
  • Rates of smoking are low
  • Rates of midday napping are high
  • The elderly are given important roles in society
  • There’s natural radiation in the island’s granite rocks

The village of Armenistis in Ikaria

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From BBC, via Neatorama

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