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The Okinawa diet: the secret of longevity of the inhabitants of the southern Islands of Japan

Okinawa is one of the largest Islands of Japan and the so-called “blue zone”. Residents of the area are distinguished by an enviable longevity and good health, not suffering from cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. In fact, Japan has the highest life expectancy among all countries of the world: 90 years for women and 84 years for men (average life expectancy of Russians is 72.7 per year). Scientists of the research center of Okinawa (ORCLS) found out that the main secret of longevity of the inhabitants of the Japanese Islands is a unique diet. SPLETNIK.RU together with the expert explains the principles of the famous anti-aging diet.

Principles of the diet - услуги фрилансеров от 500 руб.

The most important thing you need to know the Okinawan diet, like the Mediterranean — it is rather the type of food, not hard limits. The diet of the Okinawan people is rich in nutrients, but it can safely be called low-calorie. The Okinawans don’t usually eat a lot of meat, dairy products or grains. Their diet is dominated by plant foods.
They view meat as a side dish, not as a main dish, explains nutritionist Tomek flowers.

Thus, it is possible to eat meat and seafood, if you follow this diet, but in very limited quantities. Will have to purchase fresh vegetables: sweet potatoes, yellow and green vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet pepper, bitter melon (it will be hard: is this Asian vegetable that has nothing to do with melons, but it is called bitter melon or MOMORDICA) and algae. They have very few calories, but iron, iodine and calcium abound.
The predominance of yellow vegetables makes this diet rich in carotenoids, which can reduce inflammation and improve the immune system, says nutritionist from new York, Melissa Rifkin.

The Okinawans eat a lot of fermented foods: I love soy sauce, miso, mushrooms, tempeh (a product made from soy beans, popular in Indonesia and other countries of South-East Asia), and tofu. They help to digest food and deliver the cells of the body more nutrients.
But the rice they eat in smaller quantities than traditional Japanese diet, preferring yellow or purple sweet potatoes as source of carbohydrates,— the expert adds.

The second principle of this diet is the 80/20 rule. However, this is not the rule, which you think. The Okinawans try to eat until then, until they satisfy the hunger but not completely saturated (and therefore will be fed by 80 percent).
It’s like eating, but leave room for dessert, but that’s the one dessert you will not be there, — says flowers.


The Okinawan diet is generally considered healthy and suitable for almost everyone. It involves the consumption of whole and unprocessed foods rich in vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and carbohydrates. This reduction of calories and fat can help to lose weight. Okinawans tend to eat about 1200 calories a day, whereas Americans consume about 2000 calories.
The Okinawans do not weigh food portions, they have severe limitations. At the same time, the main thing for them — discipline. In their diet they use only those products that are healthy for the organism. This principle of power is called “gasai” or “medicinal food”,— experts explain.


Since the diet involves a low consumption of meat, dairy products and whole grains, there is a possibility of the lack of certain nutrients, such as vitamins B and D, calcium and iron, says Rifkin.

This diet is also rich in soy. There is contradictory information about safe levels of consumption of soy. Some women with a higher risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian doctors advise you to avoid phytoestrogens, like those found in soy and flax.
Before praising this diet as a kind of health facility, it is important to look at the whole lifestyle of the people in Okinawa. Here play an important role by several factors: nutrition, exercise, attitude towards life and the environment.— says flowers.

People who live in the area make on average from 14 thousand to 18 thousand steps per day, while Americans are only about five thousand steps. If you’re going to eat as they are, and expect the same results, you also need to move less. Rifkin warns that strict adherence to this diet, in particular, reduced calories to 1200, can be quite challenging. However, in the context of the current obesity epidemic, the majority of people reduced energy intake may benefit. Start with 1500 calories— the Council of experts.

Approximate nutrition plan for the day

Breakfast: tofu with yellow pepper and sweet potatoes
Snack: Apple with peanut butter
Lunch: rice with lentils or soy and broccoli
Snack: seaweed salad or miso soup with carrots, shiitake mushrooms, tofu and radish
Dinner: rice with lentils, spinach and pumpkin
Snack: soy milk

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