Each Blue Zone group enjoys longevity and health due to a combination of factors including what they eat, physical environments, routines and a sense of purpose.
Ikaria is a remote island and the residents have stuck to their traditions and avoided the modern western diet. Food seems to be the key factor to a Blue Zone way of life. However, the Ikarians eat an “extreme and unique version of the Mediterranean diet”.
Top longevity foods from Ikaria Greece:
- Olive oil-may protect Ikarians from heart disease
- Wild greens-arugula, dandelion and purslane are rich, dark, wild greens that a great source of minerals
- Potatoes-Ikarians eat potatoes almost every day
- Feta cheese-added to salads, vegetables and stews to boost gut-friendly bacteria with anti-inflammatory and anti cancer properties
- Black-eyed peas-actually beans that are rich in protein and fiber
- Chickpeas-also eaten like a snack, dried and salted
- Lemons-Ikarians put lemon juice on almost everything
- Mediterranean herbs-rosemary, marjoram, and mint in herbal teas and in cooked dishes
- Coffee-2 to 3 cups of strong Turkish-style coffee
- Honey-dark, thick, and rich and stirred into coffee and tea
Fat accounts for more than 50% of the daily calories of the Ikarian diet and more than half of those calories come from olive oil. The herbs added to their tea and cooked foods are filled with antioxidants that protect against chronic diseases. Taken from National Geographic’s “The Blue Zones-The Science of Living Longer”
The Ikarians do not eat processed foods and consume very little sugar, white flour, or meat. Look at the above list and if these foods are not already a part of your regular diet, put a few of them on your grocery list. Pictured is rosemary I used in mussels steamed in a broth of white wine, shallots, and apples along with ginger I add to my green tea:)