Okinawa, island of the oldest people: a lifestyle and diet for longevity

"The Okinawa way isn’t a magic diet or exercise plan – it’s a lifestyle. There’s nothing complicated about it. Okinawa’s enjoy simple lives and they eat from the earth. That’s it. No plan, no time limit, no weighing, no beginning and no end. Okinawa’s have remarkably clean arteries and low cholesterol. Heart disease, breast cancer and prostate cancer are rare. This can be attributed to the Okinawans mostly plant based diet that includes fish and soy foods with a variety of vegetables and a moderate amounts of good fats.
They consume locally grown vegetables and large quantities of tofu (high protein, low-fat, calcium, vitiman E) and seaweed (higher in vitamin and minerals than land vegetables). In addition, they also enjoy regular physical activity, a low-stress lifestyle, as well as strong community and social support. They also take pride in their health and maintaining their independence. " (http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/171392/live_to_be_100_dietary_recommendations.html?cat=51)


  • To improve longevitiy, consume, at least, nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day
  • Grains, in servings no less than 10 per day, will provide for improved health and longevity
  • Rather than eating three meals per day, consider eating several snacks as a way to boost health
Forget meals and move to a concept of snacking on the health supplements required to keep the body moving and functioning

And, finally, supplement your diet with vitamins and minerals as needed. (http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1456577/what_habits_should_i_change_as_i_age.html?cat=25)
“Another tip from centenarians is not holding grudges or not holding onto bad feelings. Stress can seriously affect your health. Most centenarians allow everything to simply roll of their backs.” (http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1382068/new_year_new_you_9_healthy_habits_to.html?cat=51)

“Determine your life's purpose. What do you truly enjoy doing? Knowing and practicing your life's purpose can add many good years to your life.” (http://www.okinawa-lifestyle.com/en/omega-3-6-9.html )

"Protective lifestyle factors that may play a role here include high calcium intake by Okinawans in both food and their natural drinking water, high vitamin D levels from exposure to sunlight, increased physical activity, especially at older ages, and high intake of dietary flavonoids (estrogenic compounds from plant foods)." (http://www.okicent.org/study.html)

"The diet plan is based on four groups of foods that are categorized according to their caloric density:
  • Featherweights e.g. green tea and asparagus
  • Lightweights e.g. fish and brown rice
  • Middleweights e.g. hummus and lean red meat
  • Heavyweights e.g. fried foods and desserts
The concept of the diet plan is on limiting calorie intake by emphasizing high volume, high nutrient foods with a low caloric density so the featherweight and lightweight foods will make up the majority of the diet.

It is important to restrict the tendency to overeat as occurs in Western diets. One of the major principles of the Okinawan approach to eating is to only eat until 80% full. If after 10-20 minutes you are still feeling hungry it is acceptable to eat more of the recommended foods if desired." (http://www.everydiet.org/diet/okinawa-diet)

“Serving sizes:

  • 7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day – emphasis on dark green veg
  • 7 servings of whole grains a day – noodles, bread, and rice (mostly wholegrain)
  • 2 servings of soy products a day – tofu, soy beans, soy flour
  • Fish 3 times a week – especially omega-3 rich fish
  • Low intake of dairy and meat
  • Seaweed
  • Plenty of water
  • Green tea
  • No alcohol
  • Eat slowly and stop before feeling full” (http://www.dietriffic.com/2009/02/06/longevity/)


"The Okinawans not only eat more tofu and soya products than any other population in the world, their diet also includes a vast range of different vegetables and fruit all rich in anti-oxidants. Scientists refer to it as a rainbow diet. " (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7250675.stm)

""Nowhere is a strong sense of purpose more acute than in Japan, where the concept has its own name: ikigai. You see it over and over again: People who are living a long time have a reason to get up in the morning," said Buettner." (http://news.softpedia.com/news/World-039-s-Hot-Spots-of-Longevity-84255.shtml)

"We know that people who make it to a hundred tend to be nice. They drink from the fountain of life by being likable and drawing people to them. Nicoya Peninsula has the lowest middle-age mortality in the world. A 60-year-old in Costa Rica has more than a fourfold better chance of making it to 90 than a 60-year-old in America. They spend 20% the amount we do on public health, but they spend it in the right places," said Buettner.

The study made by Buettner neglected factors like infant mortality, which can decrease life expectancy in some areas. Genes make just 6 and 25% of how long we live, but the way we can control the rest is still a matter of research.

"Set up your life, your home environment, your social environment, and your workplace so that you're constantly nudged into behaviors that favor longevity," advised Buettner, pointing to low calories diets and a more veggie lifestyle.

"You look in the blue zone in Okinawa, these people are consistently eating off of small plates. One of the cues for fullness is an empty plate, so stock your cupboard with smaller plates. The research is really quite overwhelming in showing the longevity and health benefits in reconnecting with your religion and investing in your family," he added.(http://news.softpedia.com/news/World-039-s-Hot-Spots-of-Longevity-84255.shtml)

"most of them practice karate, kendo, dancing, walk daily several kilometers, and even work on vegetable gardens and after that sell the products." (http://news.softpedia.com/news/World-039-s-Hot-Spots-of-Longevity-84255.shtml)


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