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Posts Tagged ‘organic food’

A couple of years ago I was asked to look over a book manuscript and to make editorial suggestions, as well as answer some questions on self-publishing, an activity I had been involved in for many years. As it turned out, I enjoyed the task very much, and I found the manuscript of great personal interest; I knew immediately that many others would also find it both interesting and relevant to their own lives. The manuscript soon became available in book form as They Live Longer, subtitled “The Secrets of Healthy and Active Ninety-Year-Olds.” The authors, Harry Mouratidis, an organic chemist who has worked as engineer, educator, and environmental consultant, and Dr. George Price, a certified internist and rheumatologist who taught clinical medicine at UBC’s Faculty of Medicine for many years, carefully weigh many factors in an attempt to answer a single question: What is it that accounts for the fact that many individuals within certain communities seem to enjoy a significantly greater vitality and longevity than the general population?

Mr. Mouratidis and Dr. Price focus their attention on ten small communities of the “youthful elderly” in Greece, France, Italy, and Spain, and interviews with the nonagenarians themselves constitute much of the basis for the authors’ answer to the question. Stories from the lives of these youthful elderly people are intertwined with photos and details of their diet, environment, and way of living. The answer to the question the authors pose does not, of course, reduce to a simple magical formula, such as a vegetarian diet, or clean air, or regular exercise. Rather it turns out that there is a host of factors, most of which are present in each of the longevity communities examined but which are for the most part absent in the general population outside those communities. The authors summarise the key longevity factors in a Longevity Pyramid, a diagrammatic schema that encapsulates the lessons the authors distil from their engagement with the subjects of their investigation.

Interestingly, I was recently sent a link to a video of an amazing youthful elder living on the Greek island of Ikaria, which turns out to be yet another pocket of longevity. According to the BBC News, the people of Ikaria live, on average, ten years longer than those in the rest of Western Europe. The island, located just off the Turkish coast near Samos, the island from whence came Pythagoras, is home to many active nonagenarians, among whom is Stamatis Moraitis, who forty-five years ago was diagnosed with lung cancer and given six to nine months to live. Being unable to afford a funeral in the United States, he and his wife decided to move back to Greece, where at the age of 98 Stamatis continued to lead an active life, and in the video he reveals some of the factors that he believes account for his good health and longevity, among which are good organic food and wine, good company, and a peaceful environment with clean air and water. Stamatis Moraitis passed away in 2013 at the age of 102 years. (More about life on Ikaria, as well as that of other longevity communities, can be found in the Financial Times article at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/d3986dfa-d7fb-11e2-b4a4-00144feab7de.html#axzz2aw5RR3Ps .)

In the final analysis there is, of course, no single factor accounting for health and longevity among the people in these communities, but there are common elements in their lives (as summarised in the Longevity Pyramid). Mr. Mouratidis and Dr. Price do a splendid job of abstracting and summarising the relevant commonalities, and, in doing so, illuminate for their readers the path not only to better health and longevity but to a happier and more meaningful existence.

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