Embracing The Okinawa Diet to Live to 100
A long, fulfilling life isn’t guaranteed, even if you do everything right. However, your chances of living long into your twilight years and even reaching the centennial mark are likely increased if you adopt the Okinawa diet principles. Read on to learn more about this amazing way of eating and discover how it could positively impact your life:
What is the Okinawa Diet?
This particular way of eating comes from the people who reside on the island of Okinawa, which is located off the coast of Japan. The island is situated between the Philippine and China Seas. Okinawa is known as a blue zone, which means the people who reside there tend to live extraordinarily long lives when compared to regular populations. Many experts believe the longevity experienced by the people of Okinawa is primarily a result of their diet. This unique way of eating is a cultural preference of the Okinawa people and the result of food availability or limitations in the area. Overall, it involves eating foods that are high in carbs yet low in fat and calories. It promotes soy products and vegetables. Rice, noodles, fish and pork are also consumed, but in smaller amounts.
The Okinawa People Think Differently About Food
While we as Americans often think of food socially or choose our diet based on what tastes good, the Okinawa culture categorizes food differently. To the Okinawa people, food is medicine. Their diet consists of spice and herbs like mugwort and turmeric, which have been proven to provide health benefits. The foods are nutrient dense and are high-antioxidant foods that promote proper body function.
What The Okinawa Diet Looks Like
Below is an example of the Okinawa diet:
- Vegetables: (58-60%): Most of the Okinawa diet consists of vegetables. Green papaya, pumpkin, Chinese okra, carrots, cabbage, bitter melon, daikon radish, bamboo shoots, kelp seaweed and sweet potato are all examples of vegetables enjoyed in this diet.
- Grains: (33%): The other large portion of the Okinawa diet is made up of grains, including noodles, rice, wheat and millet.
- Soy Foods: (5%): This includes edamame, natto, miso and tofu.
- Seafood and Meat (1-2%): This includes a great deal of white fish and seafood with the occasional pork. Meat in this diet encompasses all cuts and organs.
- Misc: (1%): This includes dashi or broth, spices, tea and alcohol. It’s important to note, though, that jasmine tea is consumed liberally by the Okinawa people.
What Should be Avoided on the Okinawa Diet?
It seems there are always some no, no’s to avoid on any diet, and this one is no exception. The following are foods that should be avoided:
- Legumes: The only legume allowed is soybeans.
- Processed foods: This includes processed cooking oils, snacks, breakfast cereals, grains and refined sugars.
- Animal products: Yogurt, butter, cheese, milk and eggs are considered bad on the Okinawa diet.
- Meats: Poultry, beef and other processed meats, such as sausage, hot dogs, salami, ham, bacon and additional cured meats are to be avoided in this diet.
Of course, sticking to such a restricted diet can be almost impossible in our culture. Thankfully, you can make some of the changes, without incorporating all the changes outlined and still yield positive results.
The Okinawa diet is basically comprised of plant-based, nutritious foods, especially sweet potatoes. This diet promotes an ample supply of fiber and foods with antioxidants. This diet, which embodies the cultural and dietary preferences of the Okinawa people, is one to aspire to, even if you can’t follow it exactly. Embrace the Okinawa diet to increase your chances of making it to your 100th birthday!