Secrets to longevity in Okinawa, Japan–Okinawa is the Ryukyu Island between Kyushu and Taiwan; it is well known for having one of the highest longevity prefectures in Japan. We are going to explore some of the reasons why this might be true. 

Okinawa’s eating habits and lifestyles quite different when compared to other regions in Japan. Many who live there, are over-100-years-old. The older generation of people who live on the island engages in activities that keep them happy and sustaining enjoyment well into old age. Surprisingly, they do not prioritize medicine. But they might not need to. Generally, they do not suffer from Alzheimer dementia, diabetes, cancer — and when they do, they are well into their 90’s. It is not uncommon for a person living there to reach 100 years of age and enjoy optimal health.

SOULSCAPE takes a look at some secrets of their lifestyle.

Well balanced Okinawan food: If Okinawan eating habits are a testament to what we should be doing, the world in trying to listen.

 

Eighty percent of the vegetable islanders eat is grown locally. Twenty percent of their diet is made up of fish and a little bit of pork.

Twenty percent of their diet is made up of fish and a little bit of pork.

Their nutrient-rich vegetables come from local farmers.  Meats and fish are hormone and additive free. Okinawa is a subtropical climate. Those living there enjoy high-temperatures and high-humidity throughout a year. In this way, it is very similar to Singapore! Local vegetables grown in this climate tend to be antioxidant-rich and contain an array of vitamins and minerals. A balanced diet leads one to a healthy body and eating healthy prevents and cures disease. That idea is called Ishoku dougen (医食同源) and people in Okinawa firmly believe that idea.

A balanced diet leads one to a healthy body and eating healthy prevents and cures disease. This idea is known as Ishoku Dougan (医食同源). The people in Okinawa firmly believe this is true.

Secrets to longevity in Okinawa, Japan: Bitter ground

Secrets to longevity in Okinawa, Japan

The bitter ground is a widely recognized vegetable in Okinawa. It is pack with nutrients such as Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, and Iron. It is said that bitter ground can prevent diabetes and improve liver function which makes it considered by many to be a Superfood.

On the island it is widely believed is believed that a popular traditional dish called Goya Chanpuru is responsible for the incredible longevity of Okinawans. Goya Chanpuru is a mixed, stir-fry dish typical of the Okinawan diet. ‘Chanpuru’ which means ‘something mixed’ in the Okinawan language. ‘Goya’ refers to a bitter ground. Goya Chanpuru itself is a variation of the dish, with Goya being an ingredient used prevalently in Okinawan cuisine. People in Okinawa enjoy this type of dish almost daily since it contributes greatly to their health and longevity. Goya Chanpuru is not only highly representative of the traditional Okinawan diet way of eating but is also a major part of the Okinawan centenarians’ diet.

Goya Chanpuru is a variation of the dish…Goya is an ingredient used prevalently in Okinawan cuisine. People on the island enjoy this type of dish almost daily because of the belief that it contributes greatly to their health and longevity.

Secrets to longevity in Okinawa, Japan: Eat until you are 80% full

Not only people in Okinawa but also in Japan, people eat moderately to stay healthy. In Japan, one says, ”Hara hachi bu.”  The idea is by eating nutritious food one does not have to eat much. Eating too much can be a burden to digestive organs in your body. Eating moderately is not only good for the diet but also for your skin, hair, anti-ageing.

Hara hachi bu, means eat only until you are 80% full, plays a role on this habit of eating in moderation and consuming an antioxidant-rich plant-based diet. Stopping at 80% capacity is actually a very good strategy to avoid obesity without going hungry because the stomach’s stretch receptors take about 20 minutes to tell the body how full it really is.

Secrets to longevity in Okinawa, Japan: Exercise well

People in Okinawa do exercise for keeping calm and it leads you to stay healthy and happy eventually. They enjoy regular, life-long physical activity: Tai Chi, walking and gardening are common forms of exercise.

Exercise improves muscle mass and tires one out which allows for relaxation and restful sleep. It also stimulates the secretion of growth hormones, reduces the amount of glucose in the blood, slows down the ageing process and is great for stress relief.

Secrets to longevity in Okinawa, Japan: Be positive

Their way of thinking is upbeat: Nankuru naisa is an Okinawan word and ways of expressing, “Everything is going to be all right.” They are really good at releasing their stress!

Stress, worry and anxiety ruin your health. Okinawan owe their lust for life and happiness to

Okinawan also owe their lust for life and happiness to stress relieving techniques like deep breathing and meditation. Deep breathing and meditation can help burn calories, improve energy output all while relieving stress.

That must be not all of their secrets, but it is a good start!