Monday, January 7, 2013

The Greek island of old age


The most comprehensive work on Ikaria has been done by the University of Athens, whose researchers studied islanders aged over 65. On average, the 8,000 residents live 10 years longer than most Europeans and in much better health to the end.
There are many significant factors about the islanders' lifestyle which might contribute to their longevity.
Even compared to a typical Mediterranean diet, Ikarians eat a lot of fish and vegetables, and relatively low levels of meat.
Six out of 10 of people aged over 90 are still physically active, compared with about 20% elsewhere. Most food is cooked in olive oil. Large quantities of wild greens and herbs are gathered from the hillsides for both food and medicinal purposes.
Many older people make a daily brew of mountain tea from dried herbs such as sage, thyme, mint, and chamomile, and sweeten it with honey from local bees. "It cures everything," claims Stamatis.
Many of the wild herbs are used by people all over the world as traditional remedies. They are rich in antioxidants and also contain diuretics which can lower blood pressure.
The researchers believe other elements of lifestyle are also significant.

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