Looking for a little motivation to live healthier? How about this: you can live longer. Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, was on Dateline tonight exploring the long living people of Ikaria, Greece.
Update: Since so many people have continued to search for this article and desire information about the Ikarian way of life I’ve updated the article with information about the Ikarian diet and ways you can eat and live like people in Ikaria Greece. Enjoy!
The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. A New York Times Bestseller! With the right lifestyle, experts say, chances are that you may live up to a decade longer. What’s the prescription for success? National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner has traveled the globe to uncover the best strategies for longevity found in the Blue Zones: places in the world where higher percentages of people enjoy remarkably long, full lives. And in this dynamic book he discloses the recipe, blending this unique lifestyle formula with the latest scientific findings to inspire easy, lasting change that may add years to your life.
There are a few things about their lifestyle that helps these people live longer and healthier lives. So if you would like to still be gardening when you are 93, follow these tips.
8 Longevity Tips From Ikaria, Greece
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. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Embrace community and family. The social aspect of your life is very important. Keeping your family and extended family close is very important to health and it has been proven that social connections help longevity.
Check out the Blue Zones book for more longevity tips from the people living in Ikaria, Greece. Here is to a looooooong and happy life!
There are a few key tenants of the Ikarian diet that you can easily copy yourself.
Drink goat’s milk. The people of Ikaria regularly drink goat’s milk. In the United States it is harder to find goat’s milk since we all drink a whole heck of a lot of cow’s milk. These days it is showing up more often in health food stores and in the healthy food sections of major supermarkets. Start there and if you can’t find goat’s milk in your neighborhood store you can always try whole powdered goat milk that you can buy online.
Eat the Ikarian diet. The Ikarian diet is a variation of a 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. Eating a Mediterranenan diet is not hard but it does take more work when you live outside the Mediterranean because it will not be the normal diet.
If you’d like some help getting a jumpstart on your Mediterranean style diet, try the following books:
Those books will get you started with transitioning to a Mediterranean diet like the Ikarian diet.
Eat lots of healthy greens.
Ikarians consume many different greens that are full of nutrients and some contain more antioxidants than green tea or wine. Ikarians frequently eat wild green salads and indulge in a variety of different greens. This is by far the easiest way to eat a diet like the Ikarians. You can find inexpensive greens at every food market near you. Buy a variety and buy a lot to eat and experiment with in your every day meals.
Ikarian Herbal Tea
There is one thing Ikarians do that is not quite as common in the United States – they 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. Luckily there are now many companies that make many different types of herbal tea. Try some of the following to get started with drinking herbal tea like the Ikarians:
You can also get types of herbal tea to make in a Keurig, if you have one: Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Herbal Tea, K-Cup Portion Pack for Keurig K-Cup Brewers, 24-Count.
Personally I like the Celestial Seasonings brand but there are many different brands for herbal tea that you could try. You can find it in most grocery stores or buy it in bulk through Amazon like I do. :)
Enjoy the Ikarian Lifestyle!
Hopefully these specific ideas for eating and maintaining your own version of the Ikarian diet will keep you living well for many decades to come!
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