Elderly people from Okinawa, Japan have among the lowest mortality rates in the world from many chronic diseases and enjoy the world's longest life expectancy AND the world's longest health expectancy. After examining over six hundred Okinawan centenarians and numerous "youngsters" in their seventies, eighties, and nineties, researchers saw certain patterns begin to emerge. Here are some important tips and highlights:
1. Your lifestyle matters. While there are some genetic reasons the Okinawans have longevity, the main reasons are the lifestyle choices they make.
2. Eating fewer calories is a good idea. Okinawans eat fewer calories by eating healthier unprocessed foods and by only eating until they feel 80%?full.
3. Lower your risk for heart disease. If you follow a heart-healthy diet and get plenty of regular exercise you are on your way to keeping your risk for heart disease low, just like the Okinawans. They also moderate alcohol use, avoid smoking and control their blood pressure.
4. Lower risk for hormone-dependent cancers. Okinawans are at extremely low risk for hormone-dependent cancers including cancers of the breast, prostate, ovaries, and colon. Compared to North Americans, they have 80% less breast cancer and prostate cancer, and less than half the ovarian and colon cancers. Some of the most important factors that may protect against those cancers include low calorie intake, high consumption of fruits and vegetables, higher intake of omega-3, high fiber diet, high flavonoid intake, low body fat level and high level of physical activity.
5. Keep your bone density high. Keep your bones in good health with a healthy lifestyle, especially by getting enough calcium and vitamin D, being physically active and eating a diet rich in plant foods.
6. Keep lean and fit. By following a healthy diet and staying physically fit, Okinawans stay thin and in better physical shape.
FMI see www.okinawaprogram.com.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.