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Wellcome to the Greek Blue Zone, You can stay forever...!

Posted by moodhacker on August 28, 2013 at 11:30 AM

                                                  


 Despite the Crisis some Greeks remain Nonagerians, a world-wide paradox that has raised the  global interest on How they do it.



                                                


It’s a mind and body combination of factors on a lifestyle that takes place away from big cities, driven from our ancient ancestors’ roots on Medicine, and kept alive since then, on the island of Ikaria especially. Recent Research popped up Ikaria among the least on the world countries of the Blue Zones

 

The News that made headlines globally , started some years before by the publication of a scientific unique study of the Cardiology Clinic of the University of Athens and the professor Christodoulos Stefandadis on the scientific journal «Cardiology Research and Practice» , a study that literally mapped some vital secrets that manage to bring the inhabitants of Ikaria among the "blessed" people of Earth who have the pleasure to live many, many years.

As it seems , the longevity cocktail is based on a fourfold -package of lifestyle choices that contribute to mind and body wellness that is long way introduced on this island as the inhabitant’s psycho synthesis and a local tradition .These are

exercise,

healthy diet,

family cohesion

and the "relaxed" view of things – a wisdom of “beyond being” on the stressful matters of life , which brings, for example, the Ikarians to recognize the foreigners among them by checking if they wear a watch. If yes, they are definitely NOT Ikarians.  Not a local trend, at all!

Time is looong on this isle .

                                                           


On the head of the studies Professor of Cardiology of the University of Athens who is also the Director of the First Department of Cardiology at Hippocrates Hospital, Christodoulos Stefanadis, explains that daily activity, basic elements of the Mediterranean diet, the socializing factor by the feeling of not being alone, keeping positive and optimistic way of thinking and behaving in life ,and , may be, finally… a Greek coffee (!) , this cocktail could probably contribute to a maximum of lifespan beyond the 90+ years, happy and joyful as it happens in Ikaria.

 


Wellcome to Blue zones, this is Ikaria           

                               

                                                                         

                           


Ikaria raised on the top of the world regions with the highest percentages of elderly, along with

Sardinia,

Loma Linda , Mexico,

the Nikogia in Costa Rica and

Okinawa, Japan,

As has been shown by the demographic data of the Greek National Statistical Office, (paradoxically to the rest of the European countries where only 0.1% of the population is reported on age over the 90 years), Ikaria this brings a tenfold figure ( more than 1% of Ikarians are 90+) accompanied by an impressively good quality of life.


The study reports for the average life expectancy in Greece the 79.78 years, and the percentage of people 80 years and older are a little less than 5%.

Globally the percentage of people older than the 80 years represents a slightly more than the 1% of the population.

In North America, as in Europe, this is around 3%

(among European countries Sweden holds the top of percentage of longevity habitants by a 5%),

Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean 0.9%

and Africa less than 0.4% of the population.

 

           Professor Stefanadis - who is an Ikarian himself - explains that "Previous research groups and publications in the international press brought to a focus on Ikaria, saying this is one of the regions of the world with the greatest longevity."


The Blue zones longevity


The Greek island is now considered a member of the group of "blue zones" longevity which also have a place Sardinia, Okinawa in Japan, Loma Linda in California and Nikogia Peninsula in Costa Rica. In all these areas the percentage of residents over 90 years old is much higher compared to the average years of life in developed countries.

It is worth adding that there’s a common profile of the people of "blue zones " International researchers have concluded all these people, residents of the blue zones on globe do share , despite the different races and nationalities, common characteristics, such as

family cohesion,

avoidance of smoking,

diet based on vegetable fibers,

mild and daily physical activity,

participation in social activities in which people of all ages are actively integrated into the whole. "

 

 

 

                                                                  


The 2013 presented data on Ikarian Nonagerians


On July 2013 , the 10th scientific meeting on Ikarian longevity took place on the island, and the research data presented showed that the lifestyle of the inhabitants of Ikaria acts as a safeguard against the cardiovascular and neoplastic diseases.

It appears that the long term food consumption of the Mediterranean diet elements in combination with an active in exercising lifestyle that finally curbs stress , play an important role in adding years to the life span.

The exact mechanisms have not yet fully been demonstrated, so the First Department of Cardiology of the Univ. of Athens launched a registry study on the clinical and paraclinical characteristics and the lifestyle habits of the inhabitants of Ikaria Island in middle and advanced age to bring out the most of the Ikarians longevity secrets on their mind and body longevity map .

The aim of the study over the full medical examination is to assess the overall cardiovascular risk in middle-aged and elderly residents in a prospect observation of 10-years. A team of trained doctors cardiologists and physicians visited Ikaria early June and offered full medical and cardiological examination including echocardiogram, electrocardiogram and biochemical control to better assess the health status of residents of the island. There are more than 300 parameters, clinical, biochemical, psychosocial and dietary that are scientifically assessed .

It looks as , finally , longevity is not a coincidence, as some speculate, but the result of a long-term adoption of an alternative way of life and view of life.

It is described scientifically, the common sense that a man dies when life has no purpose for him anymore . This seems to come true in Ikaria, where life continues to have its purpose , even for the lonely ones in life( habitants left with no kids or spouse). To stick together with friends and neighbors, to care one for each other, to drink their wine, to go to the church…..


                                               


By the research analysis, THE SECRETS


Gender (female), age, the consumption of olive oil (30% increase in survival), the lower heart rate, ejection fraction of the left ventricle, the better renal function and lower triglyceride levels were associated with better survival at a four year monitoring

Also, the weekly consumption of beverage tea seem to reduce the likelihood of death by 38% for each cup of tea a week.

The daily fruit consumption is found to reduce the same risk by 18%, and further intake of 100 g of fruit a day reduces mortality by 40%,

while increasing the consumption of fresh vegetables (salads) at 100g per day reduces mortality by 50%

Important also was found to be the role and size of food portions, which, indeed for the Ikarians is in a small plate reduces the risk of death by 70%.


The facts and Stats

As shown by the new data, 1.6% of men and 1.1% of women who participated in the study of Ikaria was over 90 years old.

It is important to be taken under scientific consideration also, that this special group of today’s Greeks, and Ikarians Nonagerians that “still ... live and reign“, as the local expression says, are born in the early years of last century when life expectancy was up to maximum of 55 years. They lived through the historical Greek moments to survive, passed through famine, wars, the countrie’s occupation by the Germans , unemployment and public fear , struggles to be and stay, human , and Greek!

Dear Ikarians, thank you for the heritage!

 

                                                          

GO  ALSO TO OUR Greek Centenarian Menu Page  


 

Categories: Health Travel &Travel Health in Greece

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