In the Pacific Ocean lies a small Japanese island of Okinawa, lived for over a million people. For some time now, the eyes of the whole world have been looking in that direction. Why? As the women who live there go through the menopause more gently, the blood of the inhabitants shows low levels of free radicals, dementia is detected in a small number of people, and most importantly, Okinawa has the largest number of people in the world over 100 years of age. So what is the secret of the islanders and what can we learn from them?
Longevity of the Japanese has been the subject of many studies on life expectancy for years. The subject was mainly dealt with by Makoto Suzuki from Ryukyu University, who began researching the issue in the 1980s. In 2011, together with his colleagues (J. Willox and C. Willox), they published The Okinawa Program .
Scientists analyzed the lifestyle, genes and diet of the oldest people living on the island. The results of the research turned out to be surprising – it is not the genes themselves, but most of all the way of life, that is crucial for longevity . The secret of the inhabitants of Okinawa is mainly based on plants, low-calorie diet and an active way of spending time.
Odżywcza „wyważona” dieta
Most Okinawans are vegetarians. The diet, although low in calories, contains a large amount of nutrients from vegetables, algae, seaweed and shitake mushrooms. Importantly, Okinawan centenarians know moderation and never overeat. Their motto is: Hara hachi bu , or eat until you feel almost full . By not overeating, Okinawans do not overload their digestive system. In addition, they also have a different food culture to us. In Okinawa , meals are served on several small plates . So it seems that the food is abundant, and as a result, Okiners consume small portions.
Residents also know what diversity means. Studies have shown that they consume an average of 11 different foods a day , eating five portions of vegetables and fruit, and supplementing the rest with cereals. If they eat meat, it is mainly in the form of fish.
They eat over 200 products , 35 of which are the basis of the diet, and the rest are used interchangeably. Thanks to this, the inhabitants of the Japanese island do not have problems with a shortage of nutrients – explains Katarzyna Błażejewska-Stuhr, clinical nutritionist and psychodietician, author of the blog kachblazejewska.pl
Interestingly, the island does not drink milk or eat cheese, and yet Okinawans do not lack calcium. In addition, their diet is low in sugar and fats . Makoto Suzuki has shown that Okinawans consume only a third of what other Japanese regions eat. Instead of dessert, they choose to drink healthy green tea or royal gynostemma , which plants have a beneficial effect on our health. For this they believe in the power of spices. Every day they diversify their diet with ginger, turmeric or mugwort .
Air, sun and movement
It sounds like an advertisement for a vacation, but these three aspects are very relevant to Okinawans. They spend most of their time outside , soaking up the sun’s rays, which triggers the body’s production of vitamin D. Thanks to this, their bones are strong, the circulatory system is functioning smoothly and their well-being is perfect.
Even the elderly inhabitants are physically active. Unlike our 80-90-year-old seniors, the Japanese get up early and go for morning walks . After the meal, they put the gardens in order and are in constant motion. Take Seikichi Ueahara, the famous Okinawan karate master, who was still practicing sports at the age of 97, for example.
Peace of mind and Ikigai
Probably, just behind the diet, lack of rush is one of the key secrets to Okinawan longevity. Residents attach great importance to the celebration of daily rituals. They celebrate meals by eating them slowly and carefully, and decorating them with flowers.
They also take care of the length of sleep, which always ranges from seven hours. In addition , they are willing to meditate , thanks to which they lower the level of cholesterol and stress.
Ikigai , i.e. having a life goal, plays a very important role in their lives . It is an important aspect of life for many people, just like having a passion in your life, not necessarily spectacular. The little things that add variety to our everyday life count.
Is the diet and lifestyle of Okinawans the secret of longevity? Everything points to it. So let’s take care of your health now and take a look at your plate and your lifestyle. Your changes will be supported by the 90-day Medere Anti Aging program, which includes ingredients that are found in the diet of Okinawans on a daily basis, such as reishi mushrooms, royal gynosemma or green tea.
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