Hunza – “arrow” in buroushaski, local language – is a small village at 7800 feet altitude in northern Pakistan. Its 87000 inhabitants, the Hunzakuts, aroused the curiosity of many scientists and researchers because of their eternal youth and their perfect health. Indeed, their life expectancy exceeds 120 years and women can give birth at 65. Not to mention the youth of their appearance and their health without diseases and tumors. So what are the keys to this eternal youth?
As we all know, diet, physical activity and lifestyle are the main keys for a young and healthy body. Let’s analyze the Hunzas and discover their secrets!
Throughout their history, the people of this village have chosen to adopt an autarkic regime based primarily on agriculture and livestock.
Their diet is therefore based on the products of their land and their animals, as well as some wild plants. Essentially that is cereals such as buckwheat, barley and wheat, fruits, including apricots, and vegetables. These are obviously organic and watered with the water coming from the melted glaciers, filtered by vegetation and mountainous rocks, which increases their mineral content and vitamins. As for animal products, they especially prepare ghee, sometimes milk and cheese, but their meat consumption is very restricted and is limited to once or twice a year, in periods of extreme cold.
The characteristics of the diet of people of Hunza are multiple:
- They undergo regular periods of fasting
- They eat mostly raw fruits and vegetables, and sprouted seeds
- The water they drink is pure and naturally rich in minerals
- A major part of their diet is based on apricots, and they follow a course of apricots from two to four months a year, limiting their supply of dried apricot juice
- They do not drink alcohol
- They do not consume sugar, and consume very little salt
The health benefits of apricot
Rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, apricot helps bring the body a lot of nutrients, while protecting against premature aging of its cells. Dried, it has higher sugar content and helps increase the energy level of the body. In addition, several scientific studies have shown that regular consumption of this fruit could slash the risk of several diseases such as chronic gastritis.
Another very important point, bitter almonds contained in apricot kernels are an important source of vitamin B17, known for its powerful anti-cancer effect. This vitamin is composed of two glucose units, one unit of hydrogen cyanide and another of benzaldehyde. By coming into contact with a cancer cell, the latter releases an enzyme known as beta-glucosidase that unlocks the molecule of vitamin B17 and releases benzaldehyde and cyanide, which are deadly poison to tumors without representing any danger to healthy cells.
As mentioned earlier, the inhabitants of this village feed on products of the land and their livestock, which implies rigor and consistency in the work of the fields. They wake at dawn to begin their work and walk, on average, between 15 and 20 kilometers a day. Moreover, even children are accustomed from an early age, to walk barefoot.
This daily and fairly intense physical activity, combined with clean air and unpolluted wilderness around them, helps them keep a healthy body because it improves blood circulation and thus oxygenation of the brain and all the organs and tissues of the body, that way helps eliminate toxins and waste through sweating, and prevents the storage and accumulation of fat in the body. This therefore significantly reduces the risk of various common modern diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
One of the most devastating health plagues currently is stress. But in Hunzakuts, it is not the case. They prefer to stay in harmony with nature, away from the hectic pace of modern civilizations, they are known for their calmness, their smiles and serenity. They also practice meditation and deep breathing exercises and have a motto to live day to day without regretting the past or fearing the future. Thus, they avoid all the health problems and complications caused by stress and increased levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in the body.
In closing, a little anecdote about a Hunzakut named Said Abdul Mobudu, which caused astonishment and amazement at the officers at London Airport. In 1984, while they checked his passport, the officers were shocked to see his date of birth: 1832. Yes, he had 161 years!