Okinawan Diet – Seven Secrets for longevity; Okinawa, an island of the coast of Japan, is one of the blue zones hot spots where Okinawans reside, a group of the longest lived people on the planet.
Okinawa is known for it's white sugar beaches, crystal blue waters, and reputation as the land of immortals. Is it genetics alone? No. It's location, the traditions, diet and habits of that area. When Okinawans move away from the island and adopt the diet of the new location, they also adopt the chronic illnesses related to that area.
Okinawan men typically live into their mid-eighties, and women to over 90. About 6.5 people out of 1000 live into their hundreds, making this the highest centenarian population in the world.
Not only do Okinawans live long lives, they also live healthy lives. A fifth of the rate of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and prostate cancer. Less than half the rate of dementia as seen in the US.
Seven Dietary Secrets of Okinawan Longevity
Eat whole carbohydrates: 60 % of their diet comes from sweet potato, the imo - a purple or yellow variety related to our orange sweet potato (packed with anthocyanins)
Eat 7 servings of vegetables per day including bitter melon, daikon radish, Chinese okra, pumpkin, burdock root, green papaya
Eat 2 servings of soy - usually in the form of tofu, a fermented soy cake, plus other beans
Eat 2 servings of whole grains per day
Enjoy daily green tea (full of antioxidants)
Eat seaweed - try miso soup, seaweed salad or vegetables sushi
Eat less meat: Okinawans ate very low amounts of animal foods - fish once or twice per week, eggs once or twice per week, pig for a yearly celebration, no dairy
What makes the Okinawan diet so special?
80% of their diet was carbohydrates, lots of soy foods - miso soup at every meal (even breakfast), very little meat - mostly in the form of fish once per week,
What other factors contribute to Okinawan's longevity?
ikigai: The reason for being. There is no word for retirement. People live their purpose and "work" into their 90's, or as long as physically possible.
Moai: A social circle created for you as a child. This group is essentially your tribe for life.
Hara hachi bu: "Okinawans recite this phrase before every meal. It reminds them to eat to 80 percent full, instead of stuffing themselves." - Blue Zones
Are people still living long lives in Okinawa?
Unfortunately, no, the traditional ways of living and eating are being lost to the infiltration of our Standard American Diet; high meat, dairy, egg consumption, fried and processed foods, and sedentary lifestyles.
Today, virtually all of the Blue Zones have been lost, with the exception of the Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, California.
Recipes we think you'll like.
Rich and filling broth, hearty chunks of tofu, fresh herbs and tangy lime.
It’s sweet, spicy and savory with a little kick, and is super easy to whisk together and drizzle over a traditional Gado Gado salad.
Brown rice noodles and fresh veggies and herbs nestled under a delicious peanut sauce.
This sweet, spicy and savory Thai Noodle Salad is delicious and easy to make. It features kelp noodles, crunchy veggies and a tahini sauce.
You may also be interested in our previous post, the Sardinian Diet - Six Secrets for Longevity