Greek islanders live on and on

People of Ikaria believe they know the secrets to longevity

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THE SIMPLE LIFE: The Greek Island of Ikaria.

THE SIMPLE LIFE: The Greek Island of Ikaria.


The islanders credit a simple, low stress lifestyle for their health and longevity.


THE 8,500 people of the little Greek island of Ikaria in the Aegean Sea, say they have more healthy residents who are 90 years of age or over, than any other place on earth percentage-wise.

And they say they can thank being insulated from mechanised conveniences and gadgets and the fast-food culture of modern society elsewhere, for helping them preserve age-old customs and lifestyle habits.

Plus the fact that a daily 30-minute afternoon nap is a cherished custom of Ikarians in reducing stress and decreasing the chance of heart-attack.

They also say few of them wear watches, and that showing-up late is both socially acceptable and a help in reducing stress and wrinkles.

The Ikarians’ diet is high in vegetables and beans, low in meat and sugar, and with extensive use of Extra Virgin Olive Oil whose antioxidants, they say, lower the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Those who live to 90 or above also drink goat’s milk almost weekly as it is said to be easier to digest than cow’s milk, and is high in tryptophan, reducing stress and lowering the risk of heart disease.

They also use goat’s milk to make cheese and incorporate some 150 varieties of wild- growing green vegetables rich in antioxidants in their general cooking.

They drink teas they make from herbs they grow themselves to lower blood pressure, further lowering the risk of heart attack and dementia.

And they say that living in the mountains means they get plenty of daily exercise without thinking about it.

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