Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Miracle Diet

Spectacular waterfalls abound in Iceland.

It's official. Icelanders are the longest living people with the lowest incidence of infectious disease in the world. Experts surmise it has little to do with the weather which, surprisingly, is not as cold as you think. In fact, on our last visit there we learned that a Boston winter is typically colder! Despite the fact that they eat small amounts of vegetables and really enjoy their liquor on the weekends (we'll reserve our stories on that for another time) they live longer than people anywhere and also enjoy one of the lowest rates of heart disease for men in Europe.

So what's the secret? Doctors concur it is their diet and work ethic. It also helps that Iceland is a non industrialized nation, free of pollution for the most part. Iceland also forbids the import of any livestock and their own livestock production is strictly regulated with the use of antibiotics and hormones illegal. Their diet is heavily concentrated on seafood rich in omega 3 oils, such as salmon, free range eggs and a popular snack called Skyr, a thick, fat free yogurt.

A relaxing soak in the mineral rich Blue Lagoon Spa doesn't hurt either.

I have always been a huge fan of salmon and eat it two to three times a week. In Ireland I actually enjoyed salmon for breakfast, lunch and dinner several days. On our last trip to Reykjavik I really enjoyed the skyr which requires two to three times more milk than regular yogurt as most of the water is strained away. A mere six ounces has 17 grams of protein! It fills you up without making you feel stuffed and is often mixed with fresh berries and other fruits, great for breakfast. Lamb is also a favorite, reared entirely outdoors and with a natural pasture diet that includes willow, sedge, thrift and berries. We dined at Madonna restaurant during our stay and enjoyed what was truly the best lamb dinner we've ever had, albeit outrageously expensive.

The famous Icelandic health tonic: Porskalysi

We also brought back a few bottle of the famous Icelandic tonic "Porskalysi", which is loaded with omega 3 oils. There is no palatable way to take this folks. We've tried mixing it with everything and it still tastes like fish oil but it's incredibly good for your heart health.

If you are interested in learning more about the Icelandic diet and lifestyle here is a short video from the Gregory Mantell Show:

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