Now researcher Dan Buettner and his team have discovered a new blue zone, the tiny Greek island called Icaria located in the North Aegean Sea. 1 in 3 citizens of Icaria live to the age of 90, the highest such concentration in the world. They also have a 20 percent lower rate of cancer, 50 percent lower rate of heart disease, and no dementia.
Our life spans are about 20 percent dictated by our genes, Buettner says. The rest is lifestyle. People in Icaria live in mountain villages that necessitate activity every day. "They have gardens," he says, for example. "If they go to church, if they go to their friends' house — it always occasions a small walk. But that ends up burning much more calories than going to a gym for 20 minutes a day."
"They also have a diet that's very interesting," Buettner continues. "It's very high in olive oil; it's very high in fruits and vegetables." It's also very high in greens; about 150 kinds of veggies grow wild on the island. "These greens have somewhere around 10 times the level of antioxidants in red wine."
And though they live on an island, Icarians don't eat much fish. Buettner says pirates pushed the culture up in the highlands and villagers couldn't depend on the sea as much as might be expected.
Particularly unusual to this new blue zone are the villagers' drinking habits. Tea drinking, that is. Icarians drink herbal teas every day, morning and night, Buettner says. This seems to be one of their secrets to longer living
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