The longest living community is the Okinawans who are found to live on the island of the southernmost area of Japan.
These people first came to world attention due to the huge number of centenarians, which is reportedly the highest in the world. Modern science began to study and learn the ‘secrets’ of this community.
The study focused on the lifestyle and dietary customs of this Japanese community – the things medical professionals attribute to the Okinawans’ famously long and healthy lives.
The Practice of Hara Hachi Bu
The rough English translation of the Japanese phrase, Hara Hachi Bun Me is, "belly 80 percent full" or "eat until you are 80 percent full”.
This is an inexact method of calorie restriction. Unlike most Western cultures, where high caloric intake and overeating are common, this Japanese community practices self-imposed caloric restriction. Doctors discovered that Okinawans regularly consume approximately 1,800 to 1,900 calories a day, which is a few hundred calories less than what is prescribed for the average healthy American. This lower calorie intake results in lower Body Mass Index (BMI) scores, and may be a major factor contributing to their exceptional health and longevity.
The Okinawan Diet
The unique lifestyle of the Okinawans has attracted great interest in the West and has been the focus of many scientific and social studies. The remarkably long lives of Okinawans can be verified in the family registry system of Japan, known as Koseki, which is assiduously maintained for over 130 years.
This Japanese community not only has the highest longevity but are evidently healthier than any other people in the world.
So what do they eat?
The members of this longest living community not only ‘count their calories’, though, in a different way to the ones we are used to, they also eat smaller portions and eat more slowly. This way, they are in tune with their bodies and are able to read the signal “I’m full” when the body says so. Apparently, it takes about 20 minutes for the satiety signal to travel from the stomach to the brain, and by eating slowly, they are able to heed the signal in time to stop eating.
The diet of Okinawans is high in fresh fruits and vegetables and includes substantial amounts of whole grains and fish. They do not consume processed food.
Diseases typically associated with ageing, such s Alzheimer’s, cancer, cardiovascular disease are almost unknown in this community.
So if you wish to live healthily and live long, learn from those who have achieved this through generations!