Around one in three Ikarians live into their 90s, have much lower rates of cancer and heart disease, less depression and dementia, maintain a sex life into old age and remain physically active deep into their 90s.
Dr Christina Chrysohoou, a university medical school cardiologist discovered that the Ikarian diet featured a lot of beans, not much meat nor refined sugar, and that Ikarians eat locally garden grown vegetables with high antioxidants. Their exercise is digging the earth.
Ikarians regularly enjoy homemade red wine, potatoes, goat’s milk, herb tea (mint and sage), consume only small quantities of coffee, have a low daily calorie consumption, are largely unaffected by the westernized way of living with low tourism, often have afternoon naps, and sleep well with the window open for fresh air.
Ikarians are warm, friendly people, but not wealthy, as about 40% are unemployed. They are readily generous and share as if everyone is family. Family is a vital part of Ikarian culture with children, grandchildren and older people actively involved in their lives. There is a senior’s home, but it is more for those who have lost all their family.
Studies indicate that the same things that yield this healthy longevity also yield happiness. Happiness comes from a sense of belonging to something greater than oneself, and of helping others to happiness.
Gross National Happiness:
Bhutan, officially The Kingdom of Bhutan is in South Asia at the eastern end of the Himalayas bordered by China and India. In spite of economic struggles, Bhutan is often said to be one of the happiest countries in the world.
The government of Bhutan uses a Gross National Happiness index to measure happiness among its people. Happiness in Bhutan is a major goal, guided by a culture that is rich in spiritual practice and community, a sense of connectedness, and less focus on material possessions. It is the goal of many psychiatrists and psychologists that their patients achieve a state of happiness.