The Hunza people, who’re also known as Hunzakuts are inhabitants of the Hunza valley, which is a remote & mountainous region in Pakistan, have received the attention since the 1970′s when National Geographic published an article on the ancient people.
This is in large part due to their unusually long and healthy lives. The Hunza show little to none of the common degenerative diseases of modern society that we’re all familiar with. The diet of the Hunza people includes several notable and clear characteristics that may contribute to their robust health.
Eating a raw & unprocessed diet
Contrary to some beliefs, longevity has more to do with the lifestyle choices we make than the parents you’re born to. The Hunzas of Pakistan and the Okinawans of Japan regularly live long, productive lives and stay healthy throughout their elder years. Hunza people live to an impressive average age of 90 and remain vigorous until death. The manner in which they have achieved their long and healthy life span, has been the use of organic farming techniques and eating unprocessed foods, which contain no synthetic chemicals. They practised a Spartan form of agriculture, returning all organic matter to the soil. Their food consisted chiefly of raw fruits and vegetables, sprouted pulses, whole grains, nuts milk products from goats, and occasionally a small portion of meat, usually during holidays and weddings. They also eat most of their food raw, due largely to a lack of available fuel, and participate in a ritual yearly spring fast. Eating raw ensures that the natural enzymes remain undestroyed – as happens when cooking and processing is carried out – meaning that the maximum health benefits are gained from they foods they eat.
Other key factors
The Hunza people live in a mountain region that is more remote than most inhabited regions on earth. One proposed explanation for the long lives of the Hunza people lies in the mineral content of the glacier water they drink, which is always on tap thanks to nature and their geographical location. Also, the apricot fruit forms an important part of the Hunza diet and is used simply as a source of food, while they are also pressed to create cooking oil and fuel, for when cooking and heating is necessary.
In short, they most likely avoid this through daily exercise. The mountains where they live is extremely rough terrain and the Hunza people spend their lives moving among the undulating passages and steep ridges – due (unlike those of us in modern society) to necessity and practicality, rather than self-imposition! Incredibly, they are said to be even hardier than even the Sherpa people of the Himalayan region.
Despite the lack of in-depth studies needed to provide sufficient clarification about the longevity of the Hunza people, combined with recent and unfortunate changes in their culture resulting from the encroachment of modern civilization, certain evidence of their incredible health was evident. The Hunzas were clearly lacking in common degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, gout and ulcers.
What should we consider?
Lack of birth statistics and record keeping in that region has meant that confirmation of elderly ages of the Hunzas has been difficult to establish. Also, because of the Muslim faith in the region, the Hunzas do not keep baptismal records to back-up claims of long life. After two thousand years of almost complete isolation , the people of Hunza have made the secrets of their remarkable way of long and healthy life available to the rest of the world through word of mouth. They have evolved a way of living, eating and thinking that has substantially lengthened their lifespan and dramatically reduced susceptibility to most of the illnesses to which modern society is prone. Sadly, since receiving this attention for their good health and long lives, the Hunza valley has been connected to the outer world by a road built in the 1980s thus connecting it to China and other parts of Pakistan, rendering it no longer as isolated as it once was.
A Utopian Paradise
With its long-standing utopian reputation, the Hunza Valley may have been the inspiration for Shangri La – the paradise-like setting for James Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizons. If so there is certainly fact in the fiction: the people of the Hunza Valley, known as Hunzakuts, have been referred to by many over the centuries as ‘the happiest people on Earth’.
It’s certainly food for thought – deep down, I think many of us realise that going back to basics – in various aspects of our lives – would be highly beneficial. Sometimes, this is easier said than done and we certainly don’t want to turn back the clock to eliminate all the comforts we have created! However, taking some of the Hunza practices into consideration and making even minor alterations to our daily diets and routine, can be a step in the right direction.
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