A typical Hunza Girl

The mystery of Hunza Valley: Where people never grow old and sick

Across the Hunza river near the border between China and Pakistan, there lies a series of towns known as the ‘oasis of youth’, and for more than one reason: people here live on average around 120 years old, rarely get sick and appearance is invariably young.

With respect to the neighboring nations, the people of Hunza are highlighted by an appearance very similar to that of the Europeans. They speak a language called Burushaski and are mostly Ismailis – a sect of Islam.

Attabad Lake Hunza Valley

Attabad Lake

However, the most striking aspect of this small nation is its extraordinary ability to stay forever young and healthy. Its inhabitants take baths in icy dip to 15 degrees below zero waters, play sports to be 100 years of age, women over 40 have the appearance of a teenager and is common for a woman to give birth at age 65. During the summer, people are fed with raw fruits and vegetables, while in the winter, eat dried apricots, sprouted beans and butter.

Hunza Girl

A young Hunza girl pictured in Autumn.

Robert McCarrison, a Scottish physician, was the first to analyze and describe the inhabitants of this ‘Happy Valley’, emphasizing on their consumption of Hunza proteins. On any regular day, their daily food averages 1900 calories, including 50 grams of protein, 36 grams fat, and 365 grams of carbohydrates.

Hunza Girls

Hunza Girls pictured in summer, 2004

It is precisely this privileged diet which, in the opinion of McCarrison, enables remarkable longevity of the Hunza people. With regard to neighboring countries, sharing the same climatic conditions, but do not eat the same way, the Hunza not know the illness and have a life expectancy twice.

The people of the nation of Hunza do not hide the secret and openly recommend a vegetarian diet, working and moving constantly. Moreover, they add that, among many other benefits, lifestyle allows carrying always in a good mood, without nerves or stress.

Hunza boy

A Hunza boy

Disclaimer: This is an article written a few decades back. Hunza has changed a lot since then. Some of the facts mentioned in the article might not longer be valid today.

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A Spanish version of this article was published on History Latinoamérica