The ikaria diet is a diet for longevity. It is simple and filled with variety. Moreover, foods are in moderation and fresh. Additionally, meat intake is limited. Why is this diet so? What are its benefits for health?
Ikaria diet is a diet of the people living in Ikaria in Greece. This region is isolated and underdeveloped. Hence, people here learned to fend for themselves alone. They had to do so with scant food supplies available there. And the trend continues even today and the diet is almost the same as it was many years ago.
Most of the food is locally grown. There is none or minimal import of foods. Hence the foods are freshly available for everyone. It was only on special occasions and festive days that meat was eaten. Other unhealthy foods were similarly only consumed as treats occasionally.
The people are mostly self-sufficient and are aware of healthy foods. They respect the available foods knowing quite well that it is scarce there. The diet is healthy and Ikaria falls in the blue zone for it.
The foods are of the Mediterranean style. They are fresh and nutrients dense and whole. Processing is absent. Hence its ill effects are not visible here in people. The diet is rich in dietary fiber, healthy fats including omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Therefore, body inflammation is kept under control leading to healthier and longer lives of the inhabitants.
This diet promotes overall health. Moreover, it remarkably reduces the incidence of chronic diseases of heart, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, stroke, and such metabolic illnesses.
The diet stresses on moderation. It reveals that one should eat to live and not live to eat. Have foods in variety but in limited quantities. Do not overstuff yourself to the extent that you cannot move. Ikaria has 10000 residents and is known for its natural beauty and long lives of people.
Meal details and options
The residents do not consume too much of meat or fish. The largest contribution of proteins in their diet is from locally raised beans and legumes. It is a simple but varied diet. People there have fruits, yoghurt with honey, sourdough bread, or almonds. They use extra virgin olive oil.
At breakfast, most consume oatmeals or oat waffles. To this, they add almonds and maple syrup. Some have granola made from oats, or millet porridge or nuts.
Moreover, they have at lunch and dinner legumes, wild greens, potatoes, fruits, and honey. They also eat some fish and drink goat milk. The wild greens are ample around. There are 150 varieties of them on the island.
Besides healthy diet, the Ikarians live longer because of the stress-free lifestyle with daily exercise and adequate good sleep. And they celebrate but life moves at a slow pace for them. They have longer lives and it is a good quality life too. The incidence of depression, dementia, heart disease and cancer is low in the residents.