There exist places in our world where people live a healthy life even after crossing 80 years of age. Quality lives, mind you, that involves a regular 8-hour work and minimal medication.
This can only be possible for humans with near perfect DNA and it is impossible that all near perfect DNA-ed people have decided to live in a certain area of the world.
Here is a look at places where people live the longest, and why. Drink up their secrets — it’s the elixir of life.
This Greek island is admired for its magnificent coves, picture perfect beaches, lushness, mineral springs, steep valleys and rocky cliffs. To the city slicker, it’s almost like God’s villa.
People out here live a peaceful, active and a very, very long life. They are relaxed psychologically, but active physically. But it’s a lazy place where nothing moves, or so it seems. That said, you will be surprised to find 80 year olds working for 8-10 hours every day in this seemingly lazy haven!
They have a near perfect circadian rhythm, they spend time gardening, eating light but very healthy lunches, and leading a friendly social life.
The main factor that blesses Ikarians with a long life is their healthy eating habits. Their meals mainly consist of vegetables harvested from their own gardens, leafy greens, legumes and olive oil. Of course, goat’s milk too — Meh!
Here’re their typical food choices:
Energy Drinks — goat’s milk, wine or coffee, pine honey
Breads and Veggies — whole grain bread, lentils, chickpeas, horta (Grecian wild greens), potatoes, wild mushrooms, high-fiber taro root, acorn, butternut, pumpkin.
Fruits & Munches — Nuts, stone fruits, apples, pears, grapes, figs and squashes
Brews — Mainly Mountain tea and other teas like rosemary and wild mint
Oil — Olive
Herbs — Fennel, oregano and savory
Spices — the regular stuff that we consume
The Ikarians are predominantly vegetarian. Once upon a time they consumed goat meat once in a year, but things have changed. Meat consumption is on the rise these days. Will that make a difference to their lifespan? Time will tell.
Okinawa-nians are very active — Morning walks, gardening, traditional dances, martial arts, and more keeps these people healthy and lean — even at the age of 100. A nice, warm weather and a stress free lifestyle also adds up.
A notion known as “ikigai” or “a reason for being” is all pervasive among Okinawa-nians. It gets them out of the easy chair in the morning to teach karate, give cooking lessons or to pass on age-old traditions to children.
Okinawans face low risk of breast, prostate and stomach cancers and arteriosclerosis (hardening and loss of elasticity in arteries) mainly because of their well balanced diet. Rich in complex carbohydrates and low in fat, it consists of the following:
- Many (around 7) servings of vegetables (Sweet potatoes, onions, bean sprouts and green peppers)
- Whole grains (noodles, brown rice and bread)
- 2 to 4 servings of fruits
- Green tea, seaweed, bamboo shoots and tofu
- Fish on alternate days — as you know, fish is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids
Sardinians principles include keeping family close, respecting elders, walking a lot and laughing whole heartedly with friends. These factors contribute to their longevity.
Their diet is organic plant-based, nutritious and preservative-free. Fresh, locally grown vegetables are prepared with olive oil and served with lemon, garlic and other spices. Meat is consumed once or max twice a week. Popular meats include lamb, lean pork, and fish, which are accompanied by fruits and vegetables.
Wine is indispensable in Sardinian culture and is had along with goat cheese (ricotta).
The Mediterranean climate is very amiable and keeps all men and women in a good, stress-free mood. Sardinian people are honest and always speak their mind which keeps feuds and high blood pressure at bay.
Loma Linda, California
Another longevity hot spot is Loma Linda situated in California. Loma Lindans are affiliated to the Seventh-day Adventist Church community and shun dancing, TV, movies, smoking and drinking.
The longevity of Loma Linda people is attributed to regular exercise, healthy eating habits, a fear of doing wrong, and peaceful & stressless social life.
Loma Lindan diet is mainly made up of grains, fruits and vegetables, with water being the drink of the choice. Spicy foods, coffee, pork, shellfish, caffeinated drinks are taken in small quantities, and are not popular.
Climate is mild but the air quality is not as wholesome as the other longevity regions. But this kind of proves that for living a long and healthy life, all essential factors such as diet, lifestyle, environment, exercise don’t have to be 10/10.
Nicoya, Costa Rica
Finally, the picturesque Nicoya is yet another longevity area. Nicoyans are spiritual and have a deep rooted faith in God, which assures them that a greater power is in charge.
Drinking lots of water that is rich in calcium and magnesium keeps the residents of Nicoya strong and healthy.
Eating healthy food, getting quality sleep (full 8 hours), being active throughout the day and maintaining strong social bonds are crucial to Nicoyans.
Nicoyans follow the notion of plan de vida — a reason for life (something close to what the Okinawa-nians do). They bond with their family, remain close to one another and lead a stress-free life.
Diet in Nicoya is mainly plant based with the mainstay being corn, beans, and squash. Other vegetables consumed include yams, onions, garlic, cabbage, and tomatoes. Nicoyans consume fresh fruits that are grown in their own garden. Maranon (cashew apple), pineapples, bananas, lemons, chico zapote (chicoos), papaya, mango make up the fruits list.
One thing common to places where people live long is that physical activity and socializing comes naturally (walking, gardening, etc.). The life is simple and basic and there’s no need to stress over what will happen next. People live in the present, love what they do, follow a healthy diet and bond with family family and friends.
These factors may seem like common sense, but I guess we urban folks have forgotten how to live a simple life.
Hope this feature jogs us out of our stupor.
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