Thursday, September 15, 2016

10 Longevity Secrets from the Greek Island of Ikaria

On the Greek island of Ikaria, people forget to die.

For the most part, they also forget to get sick — the island’s many nonagenarians experience relatively little cancer, cardiovascular disease or dementia.

This small island in the north Aegean Sea has been the subject of much study by researchers across the world. Every outsider wonders: What is the secret to a long and healthy life?

1. Drink goat’s milk. The people of Ikaria regularly drink goat’s milk.  It is rich in tryptophan which is a natural anti-depressant.   80 percent of all people over 90 have consumed goat’s milk many times per week throughout their life.

2.  Live in the mountains. Living in a mountainous region leads to a more active lifestyle.  People naturally complete more physical activity which maintains weight and lowers risk of heart disease.

3.  Eat the Ikarian diet. The diet of these islanders is a variation of the Mediterranean diet that focuses on whole grains, veggies, fruits, olive oil,  beans, and low in meat and sugar. Uniquely, though, it’s lower in grains and fish, but high in potatoes.

4.  Eat lots of healthy greens. A major part of the diet is the consumption of many different greens that are full of nutrients and some contain more antioxidants than green tea or wine.  The greens grow abundantly in fields and on the side of the road, and Ikarians frequently eat wild green salads.

5.  Eat less. Stop eating when you are 80% full.

6.  Drink herbal tea. People in Ikaria regularly drink herbal tea.  The consumption of many herbal teas give the residents a boost in all the nutrients contained in herbal tea, which contain compounds that lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease and dementia.

7.  Get plenty of rest. They nap regularly on the island.  Napping 4 times a week for at least 30 minutes helps lower risks for diseases and helps keep your body primed to work during the best hours.

8.  Dip into a hot spring. Radium is a nasty word in America, but the Ikarians have sworn by radium-rich hot springs since the 4th century. Reduction in joint pain, stress, and skin irritation are often cited as benefits.

9.  Take your time. Time is not a priority on Ikaria.  There is no sense of urgency and people routinely fudge times and show up whenever they feel.  Remember there is no reason to rush and taking your time lowers heart-harming stress hormones.

10.  While many Ikarians attribute their long lives to the clean air, some will tell you:  “We just forget to die.”

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