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Ikaria: Greek island home to some of the oldest people in the world

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What’s the secret? Is it the mediterranean diet? The relaxed Greek culture? Whatever it is, the world is hanging on to find out.

The island of Ikaria is home to more centenarians that almost anywhere else on Earth. Time magazine placed it in the top five locations with the most centenarians, along with Sardinia, Italy, and Okinawa, Japan.

According to population statistics, 1 in 3 Ikarians to live into their 90s, often free of dementia and chronic disease. “Chronic diseases are a rarity in Ikaria. People living in this region have 20% less cancer, half the rate of cardiovascular disease and almost no dementia,” Blue Zones website claims.

Ikaria. Phot: Shutterstock

Many of the locals attribute it to a commanding sense of community involvement, keeping them active, while also maintaining a relaxed culture. Late bedtimes offset by daily naps allow the elderly to preserve their energy while making sure they are keeping their bodies active.

Accompanied by this is the famous Mediterranean diet — consisting of lots of fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, potatoes and olive oil. In addition to their Mediterranean diet, Ikarians eat a lot of wild greens and drink herbal tea, which is full of nutrients.

But surely a good diet and lots of sleep isn’t the only reason this islands inhabitants enjoy a high quality of life.

Centenarian Ionna Proiou continues to weave bags and clothes to sell in her shop (Photo: Marissa Tejada)

“Do not want more than what you really need. If you envy others, that can only give you stress,” 105-year-old Ioanna Proiou tells the BBC.

“Do something in your life that stirs your passion.

“When my husband died decades ago, I continued doing what I love. Later, someone else proposed to me, but I said ‘no’. I am married to my loom.”

Whether it’s a secret trick or simply a maintenance of routine, the Ikarians continue to live prosperously on their Aegean Island.

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