Ikaria in Greece is one of the areas in the world where people live longer than average. Residents sleep often, drink herbal tea and value family.
Ikaria, located in the Aegean Sea, is one of the many islands of Greece.
And what sets this region apart is how long its residents live.
Known as the Longevity Island, one in three residents reach their 90s, and rates of dementia and some other chronic diseases are very low, according to the Blue Zones website.
The island is one of five “Blue Zones” in the world, which are regions of the world where people regularly live about a decade longer than the US or Western European average.
In Ikaria, people also tend to have lower rates of cancer, heart disease and depression than in the US, The Guardian reported.
The first Blue Zone, Sardinia in Italy, was identified by researchers Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain, and the concept was built on by Dan Buettner, who named four more and has been exploring the habits and lifestyles of people in all five countries for 20 years The last.
About one in three residents there live into their 90s
Ikaria is a small island located about 50 kilometers off the Turkish coast with a population of about 8,400
Staying active into your 90s is common there, as is staying sexually active into old age.
A study on Ikaria by the University of Athens showed that 80% of men between the ages of 65 and 100 were still having sex.
Icarians follow the Mediterranean diet
Ikarians follow the Mediterranean diet, which focuses on fruits, vegetables and whole grains and limits meat, processed foods and refined sugar.
Centenarians on the island typically eat a lot of potatoes, beans, olive oil and fish, according to Blue Zones.
Locals also drink goat’s milk, which contains potassium and the stress-relieving hormone tryptophan.
People drink herbal tea every day
Ikarians drink a lot of homemade herbal tea – using staples like oregano, sage or rosemary.
In addition to containing antioxidants, as Greek nutritionist Elena Paravantes says, they are low in calories.
Dr. Ioanna Chinou, one of Europe’s leading experts on the bioactive properties of plants and natural products, told the New York Times that many of the teas Ikarians drink are traditional Greek medicines used for ailments such as digestive problems and to improve blood pressure.
Exercise is part of everyday life
The longest-lived Ikarians in history have tended to inhabit the island’s highlands, according to the Blue Zones website.
Through gardening, walking to neighbors’ houses or visiting friends, exercise is incorporated into their daily lives.
A centenarian from Ikaria told The Guardian that he made the journey of about 1.5 kilometers to his favorite cafe and back – twice a day, which amounted to a daily walk of about six kilometers through the mountainous terrain.
Relationships with family and friends take priority
Icarians spend a lot of time together and have a collective mentality.
Dr. Ilias Leriadis, one of the island’s few doctors, told the New York Times: “It’s not a ‘me’ country. It is a ‘we’ country”.
There are frequent religious and cultural holidays there, and people pool their money to buy food and wine, Leriadis said.
If there is anything left, it is donated to someone in need, Telegraph reports.
People usually end their day by sharing a cup of herbal tea, followed by a few glasses of red wine with friends.
Spending time with family is also a central element of the culture there, with residents typically living with their children and grandchildren rather than in a nursing home.
A nap is common
Taking an afternoon nap is part of the daily routine of most Icarians.
This may be a factor in the island’s remarkable longevity record.
A recent study involving people aged 40 to 69 showed a modest link between daytime “napping” and the brain shrinking at a slower rate with age.
The researchers found that the brains of people who napped regularly were two to six years younger in terms of brain volume than those who did not.