If a pharmaceutical company could find a miracle remedy for people to live over 100 years old, they will probably be the richest company on earth by now. Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist yet.
However, today we are living longer than ever before. During the 20th century, life expectancy has increased dramatically among the world’s wealthiest populations from around 50 to over 75 years. This can be attributed to a number of factors including improvements in public health, nutrition, medicine and physical activity.
According to Global Health Observatory Data Repository (2015), Japan is the best place on earth for the healthy aging, more specifically the island of Okinawa. In fact, the Okinawan people have:
- more people over 100 years old per 100,000 population than anywhere else in the world (typical Okinawan may live for about 110 years of healthy productive life);
- the lowest death rates from cancer, heart disease and stroke (the top 3 killers in the US);
- the highest life expectancy for both males and females over 65;
What do they eat differently from us to stay healthy over time?
Scientist researchers have been following and studying Okinawan centenarians since 1976 to have a better understanding on their diet and longevity. They collected their data and they observed similitude features of Okinawa diet:
- Low in salt, fat and sugar;
- High anti-oxidants: they eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers;
- They get mostly their protein from tofu and seafood, which also provides omega-3 fatty acids;
- They consume alpinia zerumbet, commonly known as shell ginger, which is rich in resveratrol;
- Although they consume more soy (60-120 gr. /day) than almost any other population on earth, it is not GMO soy as grown in the US. Soy is high in flavonoids and is healthful when not genetically modified;
- Calorie restricted diet: Okinawan don’t overeat so that they are stuffed like most of us. They have a practice called hara hachi bu. The basic principle is at the end of each meal, the stomach should only be satiated at 80%.
Others factors to take in consideration for their longevity
Keep in mind that the secret of Okinawan longevity doesn’t reside only on their diet, but also because they:
- exercise daily (no matter how old they are);
- are close to their family;
- have affordable health care systems that focus on PREVENTION;
- are generally unstressed and maintain a positive outlook on life.
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Bird Smith C.
http://www.observatoire-des-aliments.fr/ (photo 1)
About Health. The Okinawans – Japnanese Longevity and Healthy Aging. [Online] http://longevity.about.com/od/healthyagingandlongevity/a/okinawan_aging.htm (Page consulted on august 9 2015)
Beare, Sally. (2005). 50 Secrets of the World’s Longest Living People. Da Capo Press; Rev., Expanded Ed edition. 320 p.
Bradley J. Willcox and al. (2002). The Okinawa Program: How the World’s Longest-Lived People Achieve Everlasting Health and How You Can Too. Harmony Edition. 496 p.
Bradley J. Willcox and al. (2005). The Okinawa Diet Plan: Get Leaner, Live Longer, and Never Feel Hungry. Harmony Edition. 432 p.
Global Health Observatory Data Repository: Life expectancy – Data by country” (CSV). Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Statistics 2015, World Health Organization, WHO. 2015. Retrieved 2015-05-21. the technical health information is based on data accurate with respect to the year indicated (2013)
Natural Society : Transform your health naturally. Longevity Secrets : 6 Reasons Okinawans Live To Be Older Than 100. [Online] http://naturalsociety.com/longevity-secrets-okinawans-live-older-100/ (Page consulted on august 9 2015)
Royal Geographical Society. Who wants to live forever? – Why are people living longer? [Online] http://www.rgs.org/OurWork/Schools/Teaching+resources/Key+Stage+3+resources/Who+wants+to+live+forever/Why+are+people+living+longer.htm (Page consulted on august 9 2015)