Do you fancy a holiday that not only boasts beautiful sunshine, but could actually help you live longer? Then head for Ikaria in Greece.
A small mountainous Greek Island in the Aegean, the residents there tend to reach an average age of 90. The remote island has long been intriguing scientists, who have been trying to find out why there are more healthy people in their 99th year than anywhere else on earth.
Apart from sunshine, which does wonders, here are a few reasons Ikarians live so long.
- Eat your greens Ikarians obviously listen to mum’s advice about eating their greens. There are over 150 varieties on the island, and most of what they eat they grow themselves. There are lots of veggies and beans and little meat and sugar. As well as that, their diet is dipped in extra virgin olive oil, which holds lots of natural antioxidants.
- Goats Researchers found that most of the people aged over 90 have been drinking goat’s milk almost every week. It’s easier to digest than cow’s milk and is said to be high in a hormone called tryptophan which reduces stress.
- Herbal teas the Ikarians are famous for their herbal teas which contain ingredients to lower blood pressure and even reduce the risk of dementia.
- Walk this way Ikaria is a mountainous place – so by default residents get lots of daily exercise by simply walking around, strolling to meet a friend for coffee, or heading down to the beach.
- Siesta Ikarians love a nap. A little mid afternoon snooze is said to decrease the chances of a heart attack and make you look and feel younger. So, not only are Ikarian’s a healthy bunch, but good looking to boot! Sleeping-in is a big priority too; people don’t really begin to start their days until around six in the evening.
- Laidback That phrase, ‘so laidback they are horizontal’ could have originated here. They don’t wear watches and there’s no hurry… anywhere. If you ask for the time, you won’t get an answer as most Ikarians don’t know, or care. Even other Greeks know it as a laidback island. If for example, you go to a restaurant be prepared to wait… and wait… and wait. If the baker doesn’t want to open up, then he won’t until he is good and ready.
- Hot Spring Ikaria has radium bearing hot springs that have been in use since way back in the 4th century BC. It won’t turn you into Superman, but a dip is likely to relieve joint pain and skin conditions, keeping you feeling fit and healthy.
- Dancing the night away Ikarians do love a party. Make sure you go to one of the famous feasts, where you can drink the special wine which Homer called “Pramnios oinos” and where you can learn traditional Ikarian dances.
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