Ikaria in Greece is a Blue Zone, where people generally live longer and stay healthy even at an old age. This is linked to their diet and lifestyle. In this article, we discuss the benefits of following an Ikarian diet.
The Characteristics of the Diet
1. Goat’s milk. This is very high in calcium and potassium. It also contains tryptophan. This is a hormone that’s known to relieve stress. Special about goat’s milk is that it’s generally tolerated by people with a lactose intolerance.
2. The Mediterranean diet. Lots of fruits and vegetables, grains, beans, are all part of the daily diet. They also use a lot of olive oil, which is known to lower cholesterol.
3. Drink tea. Tea without sugar and milk contains a lot of important anti-oxidants. Green tea is known to be a winner when it comes to this, but herbal tea contains these elements as well.
1. Make sure to live an active, but relaxed life. Ikarians walk a lot, but also work a lot on the land or do chores at home. It’s all about moving, but never putting too much stress on your body.
2. Take your time to nap during the day. This is a very important aspect. It’s been proven many times that napping lowers stress and leads to a longer life. This is linked to the fact that napping provides a moment of rest for your body, where it can repair itself.
3. Fasting. Because of their strict religion the inhabitants of Ikaria fast for almost half of the year. Fasting has many proven health benefits. We talked about intermittent fasting here. Calorie restriction is another practice. This is where you cut out around 30% of your daily calorie-intake. Fasting and calorie restriction are so far, the only practices that have been proven to slowdown the ageing process in mammals.
4. Be social and love your family. Just like in all Blue Zones, the Ikarians spend a lot of time with their family and friends. These social activities are linked to better and prolonged brain health, which might be one of the reasons that Alzheimer’s is one of the diseases that are very rare in this part of the world.
5. Memory games. The Ikarians love to play games, especially ones where they must remember things, which boosts their memory and protects it against decay.
6. Relax! Live a slow-paced life, with no longer worrying about the time.
The Ikarians show how important relaxing and eating healthy are. But they also show how important the abstinence of food is for your mental and physical health. Enjoy your life and eat, but make sure to sometimes enjoy your life, without eating!