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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Why Do People Who Live on This Island Live to Be 100?

Find Out Why People On the Greek island of Ikaria Live to Be 100

About 30 miles off the western coast of Turkey is a 99-square-mile island called Ikaria. It is populated mostly by Greeks. What is truly amazing about this island, besides its beauty overlooking the Aegean Sea, is the fact that people on Ikaria are two and a half times as likely to reach age 90 as Americans.

What is their secret to longevity?

Two researchers were fascinated by this phenomenon and discovered that people living on Ikaria have less depression, about one fourth the rate of dementia, and are less likely to die from cancer and cardiovascular disease. In fact, Ikarian men are nearly four times as likely as American men to reach age 90. As they investigated how the Ikarians live, they noticed a distinct pattern in their eating habits and way of life that may well contribute to their longevity.

Eating habits

The Ikarians eat very little meat. Their diet includes lots of vegetables from their own gardens, including potatoes and greens. Because they grow their own vegetables, they are not exposed to chemicals like pesticides and insecticides. They also regularly drink goats milk and wine and cook with olive oil. Researchers believe the Ikarians reduce their risk of heart disease by eating far less saturated fats from meat and dairy. In addition, the goat's milk contains tryptophan which increases serotonin levels in the brain, the olive oil reduces cholesterol, and red wine helps absorb more antioxidants.

Lifestyle of the Ikarians

The Ikarians appear to have far less stress in their lives. They wake up when they want, take naps during the week, and 80 percent of Ikarian men also have sex on a regular basis, which researchers believe adds to their longevity. With unemployment at 40 percent, they don't have money for extravagances, but they also aren't concerned about this at all. They value the company of others, take life easy, and don't worry about age. Many do not even know for sure how old they are. As one 101-year-old Ikarian woman explained, “We just forget to die.”

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