Ikaria: The Incredible Blue Zone Greek Island of Long Life

Located 10 nautical miles (19 km) southwest of Samos, the magical Greek island of Ikaria is in the Aegean Sea. It received its name from Icarus, in Greek mythology, the son of Daedalus, who fell into the nearby sea. Ikaria was featured on CNN, Oprah, several best-selling books, magazines such as Men’s Health, numerous newspaper posts, and on many sites ionline.


So, why is this Greek island so magical? What makes Ikaria island so incredible? On this 99-square-mile island, one in three residents live to the age of 90 years and older. Gregoris Tsahas, in the feature photo, is 100 years old and smokes a pack of 20 cigarettes a day. The U.S. Census, on the other hand, reveals that only one in nine baby boomers will hit 90.

Ikarians have 20% fewer cancer cases than Americans and about half of the heart disease rate and one-ninth of the diabetes rate. They have absolutely no dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Here’s an impressive real life case: a Greek immigrant from Ikaria to the United States was given just a few months to live in Pennsylvania after being diagnosed with abdominal cancer in 1970.

As a bridge painter, he quit his work and returned to Ikaria to die and be buried there. Yiannis Karimalism, 41 years later, miraculously outlived all the doctors who had expected his death. Now 75 years old, he lives in Ikaria. What are the main factors that influence their longevity?

The Environment and Lifestyle

Radioactive hot springs are thought to ease discomfort and heal skin conditions and joint problems.
Over 150 types of will greens grow on Ikaria that have more than ten times the level of antioxidants than red wine. Sipping herbal teas like mountain tea and chamomile is a daily routine for locals.

The lifestyle on Ikaria island plays a very important part in their longevity. Ikarians stay active by walking most of the time which lowers depression, weight and mortality. Their diet is high in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, olive oil and fish. They eat very little red meat.

One older gentleman Yioryos Stamoulos is 102 years old. He is featured in the documentary video above.
Ikarians do not worry much and take daily afternoon siestas. A thirty minute nap may not be ideal for those of us living in North America or other parts of the world, however lowers stress hormones and is recommended by doctors.

Instead of drinking cows milk, the people of Ikaria drink organic goat milk most of their lives. This organic milk is rich in antibacterial compounds as well as tryptophan. Most of the cows milk we drink today is pasteurized and filled with many growth hormones.

Most Ikarians are religious and frequently attend church, statistics show that people who attend church services weekly live 3-4 years more than those who never attend.

Could this island be the fountain of youth? Let’s all move there and find out!

By Staff Writer: Telis Lianos