The Hunza river valley (the border of India and Pakistan) is called the “Oasis of youth”. The inhabitants of this valley – the Hunza people – have an average life span of 120 years and in some cases, they live up to 160 years. They look young and beautiful even in the later years of their life. Hunza women can give birth until the age of 65. Surprised? Read on!
Who Are the Hunza People?
The Hunza people live in the Hunza Valley in Northern Pakistan. They speak the Burushaski language that has been classified as a language isolate.
Although their origins are unknown, it is likely that the Hunza people were indigenous to northwestern India (current-day Pakistan) and were pushed into their present homeland by the movements of the Indo-Aryans who migrated to the subcontinent in 1800 B.C.
The Hunza people believe they are descendants of Greek soldiers, who have settled in the Hunza area after they fled for Alexander the Great.
They are beautiful, slender, extremely peaceful, and hospitable.
The water they drink is known for its healing properties, and they eat almost no white flour, sugar, or salt.
Their religion, as many claim – is a special kind of Islam, of a secret nature. The Hunza don’t even have minarets, which is why they are criticized by other Muslims.
In 1963, a French medical expedition visited the Hunza Valley. Its census found that the average life expectancy of the Hunza people is 120 years, which is twice as long as that of Europeans.
In August 1977, the World Cancer Congress in Paris made the statement that according to the data of geocancerology (the science of studying cancer in different regions of the world), the complete absence of cancer occurs only among the Hunza people.
The Hunza people became world-famous for their longevity in 1984. In that year, a member of the Hunza community, Said Abdul Mobudu, confused the immigration officers in London because his passport stated that his birth year was 1832. Everyone was stunned since Said Abdul didn’t look that old. Back in his village, they met with other Hunza people, who all claimed to have an old age.
Researchers have now found the secrets behind the long life, good health, and youthful look of these people.
A comparative analysis of lifestyles of longevous mountain peoples around the world has shown that in addition to the fresh high-altitude air, the qualities they all share are a modest diet containing lots of seasonal fruit and vegetables and not much red meat, following the circadian rhythm, high physical activity, a stress-free life with pronounced social awareness, an unpolluted environment, and potable water rich with minerals and antioxidants.
Here are some longevity secrets based on the Hunza lifestyle.
#1: Physical activity
The Hunza people have boundless energy. Every day they work hard on physically demanding tasks for long hours. Their daily routine involves climbs up steep mountain paths. A 20-30 miles walk is considered quite normal for them.
#3: Mental strength
The Hunza people are emotionally balanced. They never get angry or complain, they don’t get anxious or impatient, they don’t quarrel, and they take physical pain, trouble, problems, and life challenges with complete peace of mind.
Hunzas are inspired by achievements. They think that it’s a good thing to be old!
This is very different from our modern standards: we tend to say that people are “too old” to get a certain job, while they are just the right people with all the knowledge, experience, and wisdom.
The Hunza developed the practice of identifying age with wisdom, experience, and achievement. They believe that how competent a Hunza is and how much he or she has already done can be judged by age: the older person is, the more achievements he/she has. Therefore, Hunzas are never stressed about their age but, on a contrary, are proud of their experience and achievements.
The Hunza diet mostly consists of raw food including nuts, fruits, and seeds added with yogurt. For dinner they usually have the cooked meal, daal included with chappati.
The Hunza Diet
Hunzas have a period when the fruit is not yet ripe — it is called “hunger spring”. This period lasts from two to four months. During these months, they eat almost nothing and only drink an apricot drink once a day.
#2: Food with low protein
Their protein intake, which mostly comes from plant sources, is quite low, between 20-50 grams per day.
#3: Low calorie food
They eat a diet high in complex carbohydrates but low in calories-about 1600-1800 calories a day, unlike most Americans who eat between 2500-3000 calories a day, mostly from refined carbohydrates and sugar.
They eat some kind of probiotic food every day – either in the form of kefir or fermented vegetables.
#5: Zero percent consumption of sugar or refined carbohydrates
Today, we know that the main causes of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes can be found in the standard American diet, which consists of a large number of refined carbohydrates, sugar, animal fats, hydrogenated vegetable oils – all ingredients that are missing from the longevity diet. In other words, the standard American diet is the exact opposite of the Hunza diet.
#6: Lots of fresh, often raw, fruits and vegetables
All the fruits and vegetables that the Hunza people eat are local and grown in a good ecological environment.
#7: Very moderate salt intake
The Hunza people don’t eat too much salt. As you know, eating too much salt can contribute to high blood pressure, which is linked to conditions like heart failure and heart attack, kidney problems, fluid retention, stroke, and osteoporosis. The Hunza people don’t have such health problems!
#8: Only natural organic foods
They eat foods rich in trace elements and taste, thanks to their methods of fertilizing the soil with carefully grown organic compost. They don’t use pesticides. Hunzas eat only natural whole foods, unprocessed and untouched by additives.
They grow apricot trees everywhere, so apricots, apricot kernels, and apricot seed oil are an important part of their diet. They eat fresh, dried, mashed, juiced apricots. They mix them with glacier water, and even mix them with snow to make “ice cream”.
Dried apricots are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which protects the fat part of our cells from free radical damage and can thus help prevent cancer.
#10: Living Water
The water flowing from the Ultar glacier rising above the Hunza Valley has particular qualities. It more closely resembles water found in living organisms than ordinary potable variants. For this reason, it may be called ‘living water.’
This water is closer to distilled than plain tap water. It does not consist of mainly ions of various dissolved minerals as ordinary water does, yet it is exceptionally rich in minerals and elements in traces, which are not decomposed; they exist in the form of stable, very small minerals – colloids – suspended in the liquid.
The water is cloudy and for this reason called ‘glacial milk.’ It differs from ordinary potable water in many physical and chemical properties.
Decades of research have led to the discovery of two intertwined, key characteristics of the Hunza living water:
- it contains quartz (silica) minerals in particularly small, colloidal form;
- it has antioxidant properties.
To learn more about Hunza water, read Dr. Iztok Ostan Summary of Research Studies “HUNZA WATER and its re-creation by means of the FHES mineral powder”.
What We Can Learn From the Hunza People?
If you can take anything from their knowledge, let it be these things:
- Eat more raw fruits and vegetables
- Choose natural whole foods, unprocessed, and untouched by additives
- Eat just enough, but not too much, as this is ideal for optimum health
- Get a daily dose of beneficial essential fats from nuts and seeds and their cold-pressed oils
- Eat more apricots and their kernels – choose organic and preservative-free
- Snack on fresh fruit rather than chips or candies
- Choose organic whole wheat flour and sprouted bread
- Drink plenty of water, preferably mineral water or filtered water, or invest in a water purifier which alkalizes and ionizes the water for added health benefits
- Exercise daily
- Stay positive