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Ikaria Exploration Lessons

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Ikarians have woven the recipe for longevity into their culture and lifestyle. Follow these common practices to cultivate your own centenarian lifestyle.

Drink some goat’s milk

Adding some goat milk to your diet could provide a great source of calcium, potassium, and the stress-relieving hormone tryptophan. It’s also hypoallergenic and can usually be tolerated by people who are lactose intolerant.

Mimic mountain living

The longest-lived Ikarians tended to be poor people living in the island’s highlands. They exercised mindlessly by just gardening, walking to their neighbors house or doing their own yard work. The lesson to us: Engineer more mindless movement into our lives.

Eat a Mediterranean-style diet

Ikarians eat a variation of the Mediterranean diet, with lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, potatoes and olive oil. Try cooking with olive oil, which contains cholesterol-lowering mono-unsaturated fats.

Stock up on herbal

People in Ikaria enjoy drinking herbal teas with family and friends, and scientists have found that they pack an antioxidant punch. Wild rosemary, sage and oregano teas also act as a diuretic, which can keep blood pressure in check by ridding the body of excess sodium and water.

Nap

Take a cue from Ikarians and take a midafternoon break. People who nap regularly have up to 35 percent lower chances of dying from heart disease. It may be because napping lowers stress hormones or rests the heart.

Fast occasionally

Ikarians have traditionally been fierce Greek Orthodox Christians. Their religious calendar called for fasting almost half the year. Caloric restriction – a type of fasting that cuts about 30 percent of calories out of the normal diet – is the only proven way to slow the aging process in mammals.

Make family and friends a priority

Ikarians foster social connections, which have been shown to benefit overall health and longevity. So get out there and make some plans.

Categories: Explorations | Exploration Lessons | Explorations | Ikaria, Greece