Did you see the New York Times article about “the island where people forget to die“?
The Greek island of Ikaria is home to one of the largest population of centurions. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that its elderly remain remarkably sharp and active.
One notable chap, Stamatis Moraitis, was diagnosed with terminal cancer at age 60, at which point he moved back to Ikaria and has since lived a happy, productive life. He’s currently 85.
So, what’s the secret of these death defiers?
Well, there isn’t one, but based on the Ikaria lifestyle, here are 10:
How to Live to 100
- For breakfast, eat yogurt and honey, preferably from your 90-year-old beekeeper neighbor. Barring that, eat local and skip the carbs.
- For dinner, eat greens from the field and veggies from your garden baked into savory pies. A homemade veggie-bean stew is a suitable alternative.
- Garlic and olive oil are your friends.
- Relax and enjoy the meal and the company, even if it’s lunch at work. Food should be paired with leisure and conversation whenever possible. Sue would be a big BIG fan of this one.
- Nap regularly, at least three days weekly. This may reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by 37%! Now I have a valid excuse …
- Drink two to four glasses of wine a day. Check and check.
- Exercise by doing things around the house, not a forced fitness routine. Hallelujah!
- Don’t retire. Early retirement in industrialized economies has been proven to reduced life expectancy. I’d say this is the toughest one.
- Find your lifelong sense of purpose. As Dr. Robert Butler of the National Institute on Aging stated, “Being able to define your life meaning adds to your life expectancy.”
- Live in a supportive ecosystem that encourages all of the above. As the author of the article, Dan Buettner, creatively surmised:
“The power of such an environment lies in the mutually reinforcing relationships among lots of small nudges and default choices. There’s no silver bullet to keep death and the diseases of old age at bay. If there’s anything close to a secret, it’s silver buckshot.”
How does your life differ from the lifestyle of the Ikarians? Is there anything you’d change? Would you even want to live to 100 or beyond?