Recently my wife and I began watching a new series that airs on Sunday nights called The Wonder List. Bill Weir the host travels to areas of our planet that are unique and may not be that way for much longer. In the second episode of the series he visited Ikaria, a Greek island and so-called blue zone. Several years ago I read a great book called Blue Zones by Dan Buettner. Blue Zones are areas where the rate of centenarians is substantially greater than the rest of the world. The original book included four blue zones – Sardinia, Okinawa, Nicoya, and Loma Linda. Ikaria is the 5th blue zone.
So, what did they find on the island of Ikaria?
· 1 out of 3 live to 90 years or more
· Cancer rates are 20% lower than the rest of the world
· Heart Disease is 50% lower than the rest of the world
· Dementia is almost non-existant
But, why??? Science cannot pin it down exactly, but these are cultural lessons that may be part of their secret.
· Goats Milk / Cheese – great source of protein, calcium and potassium. High in the stress-relieving hormone tryptophan. Goats pre-homogenize their milk making it more tolerable to human beings.
· Movement is woven into daily living- daily gardening / yard work /walking to visit neighbors
· Mediterranean Diet – meat only on special occasions and lots of vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains all enjoyed with cholesterol lowering olive oil.
· Herbal Tea when visiting with friends and neighbors – these teas lower blood pressure, are high in anti-oxidants and flush the body of sodium
· The Nap! People who nap reduce their risk for heart disease by 35%
· Fasting – the Greek Orthodox has fasting built in and occasional fasting slows the aging process
· Friends and Family – Ikarians make relationships familial and social a priority
Find ways to intentionally weave these habits into your life and become like one of the Ikarian men Bill Weir interviewed who said, “I forgot to die.”