On the isolated, jagged, and sometimes blustery island of Ikaria, Greece, the locals routinely live to the age of 80 with little to no health problems, and many others often get close to or over the age of 100. The island and its traditions are old. Old enough to be mention in Homer’s epic, The Iliad. Life is slow and relaxed on this mediterranean island, where scientists and tourists are routinely coming to experience the cuisine and the culture.
The two biggest parts to the longevity of the locals are the healthy local mediterranean diet, and a good amount of physical activity though other factors like socialization and isolation come into play. The Mediterranean diet (by which most accounts are referring to Greek) has long been said to be one of the healthiest in the world.
Generally speaking, most of the residents of Ikaria have their own gardens, get plenty of rest, drink in moderation, eat fresh and local products, and eat smaller amounts of dairy, meat, and sugar. Vegetables, wild greens, and herbs are very important to the Ikarian diet. It just goes to show that healthy and fresh food combined with lots of rest and exercise are the best ways to lead a long and healthy life. Just ask Stamatis Moraitis.
Stamatis originally came to the US as a Greek War veteran in 1943. He eventually married a Greek-American woman, had three children, bought a house and a car and essentially achieved the American Dream. But in 1976, he noticed he had trouble breathing. He was falling short of breath, and climbing stairs were becoming a chore.
Some X-rays and ten doctors later, Stamatis received a diagnosis of lung cancer. The doctors gave him nine months to live. Unable to afford an American funeral, he and his wife decided to move back to his native Ikaria in Greece and live the rest of their days in peace.
After moving to Ikaria, something strange happened. He started to feel stronger – strong enough to plant some vegetables in the garden. He never thought he’d live to harvest them, but he enjoyed spending time in the outdoors. Nine months came and went. He didn’t die. Instead, he reaped his garden.
The months then turned into years. The lung cancer just went away. He actually went back to America about 25 years after moving to Ikaria to see if the doctors could explain it to him. They were all dead.
Stamatis Moraitis passed away in 2013, at the ripe old age of 102. It was well over 40 years past the time he was supposed to die. He never went through therapy of any sort. All he did was move home to Ikaria.