Who are the Hunza?
The Hunza tribe, also known as the Hunzukuch or the Burusho people, are a group indigenous to the Yasin, Hunza, Nagar, and other valleys of northern Pakistan. For centuries, this remote region has remained relatively isolated from the rest of the world, allowing the Hunza people to preserve their ancient traditions and lifestyle.
A Unique Way of Life
The Hunza people are well known for their distinctive lifestyle, which is firmly based in agriculture and self-sufficiency. They raise a range of agricultural products, including wheat, barley, apricots, and apples, in their terraced fields which they nurture on the steep mountain slopes. They are able to supply their fields with a regular flow of water in this dry area due to of a sophisticated irrigation system known as "kanats."
Hunza villages are typically built on high plateaus, providing breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Their traditional stone houses are designed to withstand the harsh mountain climate and are often several stories high. One of the most intriguing aspects of Hunza culture is their diet, which is believed to contribute to their remarkable longevity. The Hunza people consume a predominantly plant-based diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts. Apricots are a staple of their diet, and they are famous for their longevity-promoting apricot kernel oil. It is said that many Hunza individuals live well into their 90s and even reach over 100 years of age.
The Mystery of Longevity
The longevity of the Hunza people has been the subject of fascination and study for decades. While claims of individuals living beyond 100 years are not uncommon, it's essential to note that accurate birth records in the region are scarce. Nonetheless, several factors are believed to contribute to their extended lifespans:
Diet: The Hunza diet is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. Their consumption of apricots, with their high levels of vitamin B17, has led some to believe it may play a role in their longevity.
Active Lifestyle: The rugged terrain of the Hunza Valley encourages an active lifestyle. Daily activities like farming, walking, and climbing steep slopes keep the Hunza people physically fit.
Low Stress: The Hunza people live in a tight-knit, supportive community. Their low-stress lifestyle, strong social bonds, and close connection to nature may contribute to their well-being.
Clean Environment: The pristine environment of the Hunza Valley, with its fresh mountain air and unspoiled natural surroundings, likely contributes to overall health and longevity.
Learnings from the Hunza
The Hunza tribe remains one of the world's most enigmatic and fascinating cultures. Their remote location, unique way of life, and extraordinary longevity continue to captivate the imagination of the world. While the secrets behind their extended lifespans may remain partially shrouded in mystery, there is much to learn from the Hunza people about the importance of a healthy diet, an active lifestyle, and the significance of community and nature in promoting well-being.