On the tiny island of Ikaria, off the coast of Greece, there is much to learn about living a long and healthy life, because a large percentage of the population of this island do so.
During the course of this series on Longevity, I have introduced you to various people who have lived a long and vital life, from the late Joe Rollino, to Jack Lalanne, yoga teacher Bette Calman, Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, and Mimi Kirk (whose three-part exclusive interview with me ended yesterday), among others.
But with the above video, you can be introduced to an entire population of people, as opposed to individuals.
The above video is based on the work of Dan Buettner and the Blue Zones team, researchers who have identified certain regions of the world where people live longer.
They found that in Ikaria, and especially in the northeastern end of the island, that over one-third of everyone in the northeastern end reaches age 90. They suffer 20% less cancer and half the rate of heart disease. And there’s virtually no dementia.
In other words, they’re living the good years many people are missing. Years we could possibly have by just adjusting a few simple habits, including:
1. Wild Greens – Greens are abundant in fields and roadsides, Ikarians frequently eat wild green salads and pies. Some contain more antioxidants than green tea or wine.
2. Herbal Teas – The common herbal teas consumed here contain compounds that lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease and dementia.
3. Low sense of time urgency – Feeling less obligation to one’s schedule and day is shown to lower heart-harming stress hormones.
4. Daily naps – Taking a 30-minute nap at least five times a week can decrease the risk of heart attack by 35 percent.
5. Mountain living – Here, every trip out of the house occasions a mini workout. People get their daily exercise without thinking about it. Studies show the mountain people have lower cardio vascular disease.
6. Strong sense of community – Family and village support create strong social connections, which are proven to promote longevity.
7. Goat’s milk – 80 percent of all people over 90 have consumed goat’s milk many times per week throughout their life. It is rich in blood-pressure lowering tryptophan and antibacterial compounds.
8. Ikarian diet – The Ikarian variation of Mediterranean Diet is high in vegetables, beans, and low in meat and sugar. Uniquely, though, it’s lower in grains and fish, but high in potatoes.
In the U.S., cancer costs almost $250 billion per year, heart disease another approximately $500 billion and dementia yet another $175 billion. If people of the U.S. could live Ikaria’s lifestyle, rates could be cut in half and half a trillion dollars could be saved.
People of Ikaria are clearly living a Low Density Lifestyle, and living long and vital lives because of it. There’s a lot of life lessons for living a long life that we can learn from the people of Ikaria, Greece, if only we can heed the call.
One of the biggest lessons to be learned is that living a High Density Lifestyle will surely affect the quality of your life both in terms of health and your lifespan.