I came across a fascinating article where the inhabitants of the Greek island of Ikaria, live long and happy lives well into their 80s and beyond. It was found that many reached the age of 95, two and a half times the rate that Americans do. One of the locals joked that they just forget to die !
Here are some of the interesting facts they uncovered about the Octogenarians on Ikaria:
1. It wasn’t just a healthy diet, it seems being socially active was just as crucial. They laughed often and had regular social interaction.
2. They consumed 2-3 glasses of wine per day.
3. They had a coffee each day (10 oz).
4. Most have a daily nap.
5. They are physically active and most say they have sex regularly.
6. They start the day with a dose of honey, which they believe has medicinal value and consume herbal mountain tea throughout the day, again which contains medicinal properties.
7. Breakfast was usually goats milk, mountain tea, bread and honey. Lunch was usually some form of beans (garbanzo/chick peas) lentils along with Horta (wild greens) and potatoes or seasonal vegetables. Dinner was bread and goats milk. Special occasions like Christmas and Easter involved a meal of meat, usually pork.
8. All dishes were cooked with liberal amounts of olive oil. Food was prepared and served the same ways as they have for hundreds of years. They eat very little refined sugar and white flour. The flour used is stone-ground wheat and honey is used as a sweetener.
Having been lucky enough to spend a bit of time in Greece, I see a lot of these behaviours in many of the older Greeks on the islands, and live from the land.
Sadly the younger generation tend to be taking a more modern approach to eating and living – consuming a diet of white sugar, refined flour, fast food, soft drinks etc. Perhaps the story of the people of Ikaria can inspire the Greeks to re-visit the old ways their parents, and their parent’s parents lived so successfully.
It is a fascinating read, here’s the link to the whole article.