If you want to live to be 100, then consider eating more like an Okinawan.
Okinawa, the largest island of the Ryukyu Islands of Japan, has the longest life expectancy in the world, inhabiting more centenarians than anywhere else.
Although the general Japanese population is considerably one of the healthiest, it is the Okinawa islanders whose way of living particularly sets them apart from everyone else. Their diet, known as the Okinawa diet, incorporates unique eating and overall, ways of living philosophies. Jiroemon Kimura (below), the oldest man on record who lived to be 116, was said to follow the Okinawa diet.
Here’s what you need to know to start eating like an Okinawan:
- They eat mostly vegan: Okinawans eat little to no meat, dairy, or eggs; however, they do consume fish, for its Omega-3 fatty acids and low-acidity content. Their main source of protein is (mostly fermented) soybean, paired with vegetables — which make up 70% of their meals.
- Their diet is comprised of mostly green, orange, and yellow (GOY) vegetables: Their diet staples — most notably, greens, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin, contain high concentrations of anti-oxidants, vitamins A & C, and calcium, iron, and zinc minerals — all of which help prevent cancer and disease.
- They consume less fat and sugar: The Okinawa diet is composed of just 30% of the sugar and 15% of the grains of a traditional Japanese diet, which decreases their chances of coronary heart diseases and strokes.
- They overall eat less: Okinawans follow the Confucian saying, hara hachi bu: “eat until your stomach is 80 percent full.” This eating philosophy not only minimizes stress on their digestive systems, but encourages the islanders to eat their food slowly and thus, experience more enjoyment from their food.
- They live with purpose: Okinawans have a strong sense of ikigai, which translates to “that which makes one’s life worth living;” they typically choose work about which they feel passionate. As such, they, in most cases, continue working for the rest of their lives, keeping them in physical shape, and intellectually stimulated.