Quite recently, nutrition scientists as well as regular individuals who are conscious about their health have been talking about the Okinawa diet. It is not really surprising.
Jiroemon Kimura, the oldest man to have ever lived passed away to set a new record of 116 years old. He lived in Kyotango, which is near Kyoto. Before him, Misao Okawa held the record as she was alive for 115 years. According to the United Nations, the Japanese have the most number of old people in the world – most of them living at least 100 years old.
So what is their secret? We all know food has something to do with their long lives. This is why many people are curious about the Okinawa diet. Okinawa is an island in Japan that holds the record for having the greatest proportion of centenarians all over the world. Now, what comprises the famed Okinawa diet? Find out below:
1. Low in Calories
Okinawans eat foods that are low in calories, usually 20% lower than average Japanese people. They eat one calorie per gram and not more than that. On average, their body mass index (BMI) is 20. It is believed that restricting the amount of calories you consume can provide several benefits, including:
- Improved health
- Slowed aging
- Smart use of energy
2. Rich in Antioxidants
Okinawans eat vegetables that can be categorized as GOY, which stands of green, orange, and yellow. This means they eat fruits, roots, tubers, and vegetables with the colors mentioned above. GOY foods contain many antioxidants, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Beta carotene
3. Low in Sugar and Fat
Sugar and fat are known culprits for deteriorating health. This is why the Okinawa diet is low in both. In fact, they consume only 25% of sugar and almost the rest of their diet (75%) is for grains. This aids them to avoid stroke and heart diseases.
4. Vegetables and Seafood
Most of the Okinawans are vegetarians. Some also eat seafood because they are in the island. However, they eat small amounts of fish and focus on the greens, especially low-calorie veggies. These include legumes and bitter melon. They also try to avoid meat, dairy products, and eggs as much as possible. Fish, though, are a part of their diet, because these are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, including DHA, ALA, and EPA.
Most Okinawans love soy, generally in the form of tofu. This is a good source of protein and also comes with other nutrients. All in all, the Okinawa diet is all about discipline when it comes to selecting the foods to eat.