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Greece Longevity Secrets

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Ruth, a.k.a. Elayne Kongaika, was raised in the orchard town of Orem, Utah. She married a Polynesian and has had amazing travel experiences.

Ikaria city - longevity

Ikaria city - longevity

A remote Greek Island reveals the secrets to living longer. It is amazing that one-third of the population of a mountainous, 99-square-mile island in Greece called Ikaria, are 90 years of age and older.

In contrast, current U.S. Census stats indicate that only one in nine baby boomers will reach 90.

Investigations into the remarkable longevity of these Greek islanders have proven very interesting. Not only do they live longer, but they have 20 percent less cases of cancer than Americans and about half the rate of heart disease as well as one-ninth the rate of diabetes. They have virtually no Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

A Greek immigrant to the United States from Ikaria was given only a few months to live after having been diagnoses with abdominal cancer in Pennsylvania. He left his job as a bridge painter and returned to his native island to die. Thirty-nine years later, Yiannis Karimalis had outlived all the doctors who had predicted his death.

What do they have that the states don’t? Most of the villages on this small island are inland, high up on the rocky slopes. There are radioactive hot springs there which are believed to relieve pain and to cure skin ailments and joint problems.

A team interviewed several hundred-year-old Ikarians to determine what they had eaten most of their lives. It was found that besides diet, their lifestyle also played an important part in their longevity.

There are more than 150 varieties of will greens that grow on Ikaria. It was determined that some of them have more than ten times the level of antioxidants in red wine. They love to sip herbalteas like wild mint, chamomile daily.

Ikarians do not worry about time. They get things done on their own time. Because of this, they have much less stress and do not suffer as much from arthritis or other stress related problems. They also rest when they are tired. Most Ikarian villagers take afternoon naps. It has been proven that a regular half hour nap decreases the risk of heart disease.

Because of their mountain terrain, Ikarians walk most of the time, so they get quite a workout when they travel to a neighboring village. They also develop strong social connections, which is proven to lower depression, weight and mortality. Their diet is high in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, olive oil and fish. They eat very little red meat.

Honey from Ikaria contains anticancer, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and is eaten often. Ikarians consume more olive oil that most of the world. After their foodis cooked, they drizzle a bit more oil on it before it is consumed. This restores the oil's healthful properties that heating destroys.

Perhaps another secret is their baked sourdough bread which is high in complex carbohydrates which may stave off diabetes and improve glucose metabolism. They eat fruits and vegetables fresh from their gardens.

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Instead of drinking cows milk, the people of Ikaria drink goat’s milk most of their lives. This milk is rich in antibacterial compounds as well as a blood-pressure lowering hormone called tryptophan.

Most Ikarian residents are religious and they attend church services, another issue that has been linked to longer life spans.

If there is a fountain of youth, it looks like it may be in Greece. We have much to gain from learning more about these interesting people of Ikaria.

© 2009 Elayne


Elayne (author) from Rocky Mountains on October 02, 2010:

Thanks for commenting sligobay. That is a good question - they might live longer is they stay off the internet - and keep walkin' - we could use more, I am sure. Aloha.

sligobay from east of the equator on October 02, 2010:

hello my new Hawaain friend. I'm following you now and appreciate the follow by you. Longevity is a great subject for a great article. The info and photos are terrific. I wonder if they have internet. Cheers.

Elayne (author) from Rocky Mountains on September 20, 2010:

Thanks glendoncaba. Jamaica must be beautiful. Sorry to hear about the high crime. I appreciate your comments.

glendoncaba from Somewhere in the hubverse on September 20, 2010:

Fantastic hub. Makes me appreciate some of the blessings here in Jamaica. Unfortunately, our high crime rate brings on more stress.

Elayne (author) from Rocky Mountains on August 03, 2010:

You and me both CMHypno. Sounds great.

CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on August 03, 2010:

Well I know where I'm going to spend my retirement - hot springs, herb tea and honey. Heaven! Book me a place on that ferry!. Great hub elayne001.

Elayne (author) from Rocky Mountains on March 11, 2010:

Thanks Money Glitch. I appreciate your approval of my hub to be linked to yours. Your the best!

Money Glitch from Texas on March 11, 2010:

This is a great hub elayne001, thanks so much for letting me know about it. I'm glad that you left your url link in the comments of my hub and honored that you've referenced my link here. Thanks again and I'm rating it up for you! :)

Elayne (author) from Rocky Mountains on February 01, 2010:

You are so right Katrina. Life is too short to stress. Let's chill! Or we could move to Ikaria Greece!

Katrina Ariel from The Highlands of British Columbia, Canada on February 01, 2010:


Great hub! Every time I read about a treasured nook on the earth where people live a very long time there are a few things in common: healthy food (homemade, with lots of greens and fresh produce), clean air and water, a natural area that encourages daily exercise, and a laid-back attitude. We in the 'modern' really need to chill out, eh? :)

Elayne (author) from Rocky Mountains on October 13, 2009:

Thanks breakfastpop. I will too.

breakfastpop on October 13, 2009:

Really fascinating hub. Thanks for the information. I try to incorporate some of these secrets into my own life.

Elayne (author) from Rocky Mountains on October 12, 2009:

That's true. If only we would convince ourselves to eat less meat, we might live a little longer.

Liana on October 12, 2009:

Very interesting :). You know...Tongans don't care much about time either :).

isi on October 12, 2009:

I am going to walk every where from now on. My grandfather was a walker and apparently that did not help him live longer because he loved his meat. Yea it is all about our life style and I need to find some new friends who are not as heavy as I am. Thanks for the life saving information. You are a life saver.

Bail Up ! on October 12, 2009:

Really liked this hub. I'm listening to the music as I type - I think my stress level dropped :)

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