What is the Secret of Okinawa Longevity? How people live longer and healthier lives in this part of the world. The people of Okinawa in Japan are known for living longer and healthier lives. Around the world, only 6.2 out of 100,000 people live to be 100 or older. According to their 2017 census, Japan has the highest percentage of centenarians at 34.85 per 100,000. Although even that number was crushed in 1990 by Okinawa, with a rate of 39.5 per 100,000 people.
Although Okinawa is Japan’s poorest prefecture and has the lowest number of physicians per capita, men typically live to an average age of 84, while women live to an average age of 90. The rate of heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease is less than half that of Westerners, and the rate of cancer is less than 20%.
Interestingly, Okinawa has adopted a more Westernized diet in recent years. By 2000, Okinawa longevity advantage had largely disappeared. Even so, it is possible to deduce the former longevity of Okinawa from good data about the traditional diet of the island.

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A traditional Okinawan diet included some meat, particularly pork, as well as a lot of vegetables. Okinawans received 93 percent of their calories from sweet potatoes, according to the oldest existing record of Japanese diets from 1880.
They ate less than 40 grams of protein each day, a habit that endured until 1949 at least. Throughout the day, sweet potato and miso soup were served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with plenty of vegetables.
Traditionally, Okinawans consumed sweet potatoes, vegetables, and some grains, which made up about 80 percent of their diet. Okinawans consumed low-protein, nutrient-rich, and fiber-dense sweet potatoes nearly 70 percent of the time after World War II.
A diet like this is the opposite of the Standard American Diet, which lacks fiber, vitamins, and minerals (particularly potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C).
About 10 percent of Okinawans’ diet was composed of vegetables and legumes, while nearly 20 percent consisted of rice and other grains. Pulses (beans) were consumed 30 percent more than the national average in 1988, as were green and yellow vegetables 50 percent more.
What is the Secret of Okinawa Longevity? How people live longer and healthier lives in this part of the world. The people of Okinawa in Japan are known for living longer and healthier lives.
What is the Secret of Okinawa Longevity? How people live longer and healthier lives in this part of the world. The people of Okinawa in Japan are known for living longer and healthier lives. Source

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Due to the high level of anthocyanin in the Okinawan sweet potato, it ranges in color from red to deep yellow. There are high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants in both types of sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes and fresh vegetables thrive in Okinawa, which is a string of subtropical islands with two growing seasons. During the 1600s, rice grew poorly and was replaced by sweet potatoes as the staple crop.
There are various festivals held by Okinawans every month during which they consume meat, especially pork, and fish. Dairy products and eggs were rare, and meat and fish accounted for only a small percentage of calories. In comparison to Americans who consume 2,500 calories a day, Okinawans ate almost a vegan diet, supplying only about 1,800 calories a day.
There has been an increase in meat consumption over time. The pork was the other common meat consumed by coastal residents. In the West, pigs were raised on feedlots, so they ate wild plants as well as leftover vegetables rather than grains. Thus, free-range pig meat contained more omega-3 fatty acids and less omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
All Japanese cuisine is high in sodium, which is characteristic of the Okinawan diet. Pickled vegetables, salted fish, and soy sauce contribute to the high sodium levels in foods.
The consumption of seaweed kombu is one of the unique features of Okinawan cuisine. The Okinawans eat large quantities of kombu directly, despite the fact that Japanese cuisine uses it to flavor soup. 840 milligrams of sodium are found in each ounce of kombu, a seaweed that grows in seawater and contains fiber, minerals, omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, and salt.

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Okinawa longevity and health were not adversely affected by a low protein intake. We can’t extrapolate these findings to a muscular weight-lifting American due to their smaller stature and lower muscle mass, but they suggest we may not need as much protein as previously thought, particularly if we don’t do intense resistance training.
Post-World War II, Okinawa’s meat consumption steadily increased, and by 1988 it had surpassed the Japanese average. Approximately 90 grams of meat were consumed per person per day along with an equal amount of pulses. Both a low-protein and a high-protein diet were successful for the Okinawans. The average Western culture consumes more than 200 grams of meat per day. Meat may contain significant fat, depending on the type of meat and cut. A gram of meat is not the same as a gram of protein.
The modern Okinawan diet also underwent other changes. Green and yellow vegetables and pulses were consumed at the same level as Japan’s national average. Fat accounted for more than 30 percent of calories. Younger residents, especially young men, are the most likely to have westernized their diets. Champuru dishes often contain pork (generally) or tofu stir-fried with vegetables, which they tend to avoid. Fish consumption is also lower than it was in previous generations.
Okinawa residents, like those in most of Japan and East Asia, drink copious amounts of tea. Kohencha, a semifermented tea, and green tea are the most popular drinks. The Okinawa people often flavor green tea with jasmine flowers and turmeric, in a tea they call shan-pien, which loosely translates to scented tea. Approximately two cups of tea are consumed per day by the average Okinawan.
Hari Hachi Bu is an ancient Confucian tradition practiced by the Okinawans. Unless they are no longer hungry, they stop eating before they are full. Between these two states, there’s a profound difference. It has the same effect as a methodical 20 percent calorie reduction when they deliberately stop eating at 80 percent full. Okinawans practice mindfulness eating in order to stop eating before they reach fullness. You must constantly consider whether you are full if you practice Hari Hachi Bu as the Okinawans do.
If you want to make this deliberate calorie restriction easier, you can follow these guidelines:
  1. When you eat, make sure you eat well.
  2. Don’t eat when you’re not hungry. It is never a good idea to eat mindlessly. Watching TV while eating is not a good idea. Reading while eating is not a good idea. Computers should not be used while eating. Enjoy your meal and focus on what you’re eating.
  3. Stop eating when you are no longer hungry.
  4. Slow down while eating. It takes some time for our stomachs to register satiety signals. A person who eats until they are full is likely to overeat. Take a moment to recall your last buffet dinner. Everything was fine while you were eating. As the satiety signals begin to hit 10 or 15 minutes later, you feel like you’re going to explode. There is even a possibility that you will feel nauseated.
  5. Using smaller dishes or plates will force you to consume less food. Throughout our lives, we have been conditioned to eat everything on our plates. It doesn’t matter how much food we have or how little food we have, we clean our plates. The tendency is to overfill our plates and eat until we are full, regardless of whether we are full. Underfilling our plates instead of overfilling them enables us to empty our plates without overeating, and we must ask ourselves whether we are still hungry before eating more.
Unfortunately, Okinawans are losing their longevity advantage rapidly. The issue become more worst,  after World War II when white rice and white bread began to replace the beloved sweet potato. There has been an increase in the consumption of American-style fast food by Okinawan youth, and many are now overweight. There was an increase in meat consumption and a decrease in green and yellow vegetable consumption. There is a high rate of obesity in the prefecture, which is the highest in all of Japan. The Okinawans’ long lives are probably more a result of their traditional diet than anything else in their environment or lifestyle.
Okinawa Longevity Checklist
  • Hari Hachi Bu is a practice where Okinawans intentionally restrict their calorie intake.
  • Low levels of animal protein are found in the diets.
  • Drinking tea and coffee, is very common among Okinawans, as with all Japanese people.
  • The soy sauce, miso, and kombu in the meals usually add a lot of salt to the meal.
  • Despite fish’s low-fat content, low grains ensure a proper omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, which is an essential part of a healthy diet.
  • There is no vegetable oil usage.

    Secret of Okinawa Longevity
    The Secret of Okinawa Longevity – The rate of heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease is less than half that of Westerners, and the rate of cancer is less than 20%.

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