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Ikaria: Sex Life and Longevity

When we discuss health, we often forget to mention sexual health. This concerns both the ability to perform and complete sexual intercourse, as well as desire and pursuit. A common mistake is that we tend to associate sex life mainly with younger ages, when in fact this is one of the factors that ensure healthy ageing, something that in practice was taught to us by the people of Ikaria.

Ikaria is famous for the longevity and good health of its people, since it officially belongs to the top 5 locations in the world in these areas (Blue Zones) for a decade now. Health as a whole, both physical and mental, and sex life are interrelated, as evidenced by an official study conducted on the island in 2009 (Ikaria study). Specifically, according to the professor of cardiology Mr. Stefanadis and his collaborators, who conducted the research, the Ikarians tend to be sexually active even in the age group of 65-100 years, with satisfactory results! In the context of the study, while evaluating this area, 60% of the people in this particular age group expressed at least moderate satisfaction, while 50% stated that they successfully completed sexual intercourse. Only 20% reported a complete absence of sex life. And while it is now known that life in Ikaria is governed by a lack of stress and an active social life, it is impressive that this sector contributes significantly to the pleasant and relaxed mood of the locals. Undoubtedly, it is one of the reasons for the good mental health that the same study showed in these people. Of course, the existence of these results is not a coincidence, since good health allows good sexual performance, and the latter induces the maintenance of the former.

The next step is to inspect this result under the prism of nutrition. Nutrition is a very important factor that affects the secretion of certain hormones and certain processes on which performance ultimately depends. According to some studies, maintaining a normal body weight and adhering to a Mediterranean-style diet has been shown to protect against erectile dysfunction. The latter depends primarily on a hormone called testosterone, which, however, tends to decrease with age. The deceleration of this reduction is in itself an indicator of good health and longevity, while, more specifically, it goes hand in hand with improved cardiovascular health. Similarly, previous studies have shown that increased body weight and a Westernized diet increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and low testosterone levels, which ultimately lead to erectile dysfunction. The Ikarian nutrition, consisting mainly of plant-based foods and small quantities of animal products, protects against cardiovascular issues (cholesterol, sugar, blood pressure) and certain types of cancer, thus promoting the overall functioning of the body, and, among other things, maintaining good testosterone levels, even at older ages.  In addition to the previous, the Ikarian lifestyle includes exercise, in the context of everyday life, which also contributes to the aforementioned. We conclude then, that the Ikarian nutrition, in addition to normal body weight and health indicators, is able to maintain a prosperous sexual ability.

To investigate the correlation on food level, we must first look at what exactly the Ikarian nutrition consists of. Essentially, it is a model based mainly on the consumption of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, olive oil and legumes, as well as daily consumption of red wine and a variety of herbal beverages, and limited amounts of animal products, with emphasis mainly on fish. It is no coincidence that this diet protects against cardiovascular disease, as it seems that its ingredients reduce inflammation and enhance good blood circulation, functions that regulate sexual health. There are some studies that link the consumption of fruits and vegetables with good erectile function, while the consumption of nuts, especially walnuts, seems to have a stimulating effect. While the effects of alcohol have not been fully elucidated, it seems that daily consumption of small amounts promotes good sexual function in both sexes. Finally, a variety of herbs, which in Ikaria are consumed as decoctions (mint, cinnamon, rosemary, fennel, sage, etc.) have been shown to increase libido and improve sexual performance. It is therefore obvious that the Ikarian nutrition as a whole is designed to promote sexual health.

Sexual desire and ability is not taboo, it is normal for all bodies and all ages and should be treated as such. The people of Ikaria have already realized this, and they do not stop chasing, and achieving, sexual satisfaction. We have to admit that overall, the Ikarian lifestyle is capable of maintaining an organism young even after 65. Their nutrition is very easy to adopt, with the right guidance, giving the opportunity to anyone to achieve similar results in terms of body function. Unfortunately, for the secrets of local flirting, a trip to Ikaria is required.

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