Out of all the people in the world, the Japanese are well known for having long lives. Most of them even live for up to more than 100 years. Really, what is their secret?
For some reason, humans have always dreamed of living longer lives. This human desire came to the point where people have thought of different ways just to achieve the longevity they are looking for. So, other than discoveries of medical procedures that prolong our life expectancies, researchers and specialists also thought of diets that can contribute to longer lives. An example of a diet? The Okinawa Diet.
The Okinawa Diet For a Longer Life
In Okinawa, Japan, they have their own diet and lifestyle that is said to be the reason why they have an average life expectancy of 84 years old to about 100 years old. People from other countries started to get amazed with the result of their healthy lifestyles and diet and that is when they decided to copy them by coming up with the Okinawa Diet.
The diet of the people from Okinawa is completely different from the usual diet from other regions of Japan. For them, it is important to keep track of your food by eating more colorful vegetables. They are also not into the typical Japanese tradition of eating too much rice. Rice is already part of the lives of the Japanese people that they eat them almost every day, but for the Okinawans, they prefer eating rice in portions.
The Okinawan Diet from the Real Okinawans
What Okinawans do to their so-called longevity diet is that they prioritize the consumption of colorful vegetables. Orange, yellow, green; they love their vegetables this way. They still do eat rice, but they would rather eat high amounts of purple sweet potatoes that are abundant in most Asian countries; including Japan of course. As for the meat (which includes every animal meat from beef and pork to chicken), the different kinds of seafood, and dairy products; they would eat them in smaller amounts compared to other people. The Okinawans also love incorporating their diets with larger amounts of soy and healthy legumes.
So far, the included foods in the diet of Okinawans are those that contain less sugar and grains. When compared to what the usual Japanese people eat, they consume about 30 percent lesser amounts of sugar and 15 percent less for the grains.
Also, the combination of foods designed by the Okinawans are completely healthy and packed with the most essential nutrients the body can benefit from. Lots of antioxidants, lots of gastrointestinal tract-friendly carbohydrates, and lots of fiber content; you name it.
The Concept of Hara Hachi Bu
Being in a country that was greatly influenced by Confucian teachings, the Japanese people; especially the Okinawans, have always believed in a certain concept called the Hara Hachi Bu. According to this concept, a person must be well aware and careful of his eating habits, thus it became a lot of people’s life teaching and they kept reminding themselves of the importance of knowing when to stop. As said by the Hara Hachi Bu, each and every person should only limit themselves to consuming food until they get full by about 80 percent.
This Hara Hachi Bu is another way of self-discipline that the Okinawans apply to their diet. This gives them more time to analyze the amount of food that they are about to consume, so they know if they had enough or if they need more. Also, this is a way of getting themselves more, one can even say that this is a step to personal development, even if it’s just a little contribution in that matter.
The Hara Hachi Bu concept is probably the main contributor to the Okinawans healthy eating habits. Through this, they also get to learn to limit their calorie intake; which is very important when it comes to having a healthy diet and lifestyle. Because of this, the Okinawans strictly consume an amount of 1,200 calories daily.
Tips on How to be in the Okinawan Diet
It is actually really amazing that the lineup of foods in the Okinawa Diet is very rich in nutrients and at the same time they can satisfy even the hungriest person in the world. The foods are enough to provide daily nutrients and make the person feel full. This just proves that getting yourself starved is not necessary for getting your ideal weight.
So if you finally decide to give the Okinawa Diet a try, be careful and always watch what you eat. Here is a simple guide on which foods should be added in your diet and some of their portions and sizes.
Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, especially colorful ones.
Carotenoids, the pigments found in colorful fruits and vegetables, are known to have many health benefits. First of all, they are capable of reducing inflammation issues in our bodies. This property of carotenoid is already very beneficial since inflammation is said to be the usual cause of other health conditions. The nutritional pigment can also aid in the body’s growth and development and can even boost the function of the immune system.
The Okinawa Diet is mostly focused on this group of foods, so there should be around 30 percent of the fruits and vegetables in the diet.
Limit your intake of meat and seafood; and also grains and dairy products.
Since calorie control is important for the Okinawa Diet, other foods such as meat, seafood, grains, and dairy products are only limited to a few quantities. As much as possible, people are advised to get into an almost vegetarian way of diet by focusing on eating healthy plant-based foods.
However, do not deprive yourself of these foods. You can still eat limited amounts of them, but it is also better to choose healthier kinds. Choose a variety of meat or seafood that contains healthy fats.
Overall, the Okinawa Diet is considered a healthy diet which can also be suitable for people who desire to lose weight. However, it is not always advised to follow each concept of the diet. This means that the diet made by the Okinawans is still influenced by their culture, which does not always work for every person. You can then try adjusting your food choices based on your preference if you are not fully confident with the concept of Okinawa Diet as a whole.