The Japanese are well known to outlive pretty much everyone else in the world. According to WHO, the average life expectancy for Japanese men is 80.5 years while that of women is 86.63 years. Although there is no proven reason, scientists believe that there are some factors contributing to the high life expectancy. The secrets to a successful long life aren’t that complicated. It all revolves around cultural attitude towards food and general lifestyle that promote high energy levels and keep off excess pounds. So, what are the Japanese tips for a long life?
High Vegetable and Fish Intake
Traditional Japanese meal includes fish, vegetable and steamed rice. Fish is on top of their menu because it contains a large amount of DHA, omega 3 fatty acids that help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and many other diseases. Additionally, eating seaweeds and cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, kale, broccoli or bok choy provide antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to the body. Without a doubt, eating such diet adds a mileage as far as mortality is concerned.
Japanese breakfast is very vital which include a variety of small dishes. Miso soup is one of those dishes and it’s served with almost any other dish. This soup boost digestion, it’s low in fat and carbohydrates, high in protein and it’s a source of probiotic. Miso soup is the key contributor to Japanese’ health. The ingredients used in making the soup include seaweed and tofu which can be replaced with onion, carrot, spinach, and cabbage. Furthermore, the soup makes you feel full for a longer period stopping you from snacking between meals.
Japanese like small portions which are divided into several meals. They love slow eating, slow chewing and they stop eating once they are 80 percent full. Their culture emphasis on presentation and showing of the beauty of their meals. They also don’t fill the plates completely and despite the small portions, the food offers satisfaction. The portion control keeps them off extra weight.
Drink Lots of Tea
Tea consumption forms an integral part of everyday Japanese lifestyle. The tea consumed here is green tea which is not only delicious but also beneficial to their bodies. Green tea is associated with reduced risks of heart disease, cancer and high levels of cognitive function. In one study, a Japanese who drank five cups of green tea per day had a 26 percent lower mortality rate. In addition to that, the tea is high in antioxidants properties, contain chlorophyll and fiber.
Less Sugar and Desserts
Japanese aren’t familiar with sugary and processed desserts. Instead, food like pudding, fresh fruits and salad are their better alternatives. Fruits are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients. While less sugar prevents weight gain, excess fat, and diabetes. Once in a while, they eat cakes and ice creams in small portions.
Eat a Lot of Seaweeds
According to the U.N. reports, Japan consumes about 100,000 tons of seaweed per year. They use over 20 species of this seaweeds in their cuisine without being picky. In fact, Japanese communities who live in the southernmost island eat more seaweeds than anywhere else in the world. Seaweeds packs between two to nine grams of protein per cup while other varieties deliver more potassium than a banana. The food also contains natural iodine which is crucial in regulating thyroid hormone. In one research by the Harvard group, it showed that seaweeds have the ability to regulate estrogen and estradiol levels contributing to a low risk of breast cancer. However, they also limit its intake because of the many nutrients it offers.
They Walk and Stand
Commuting is a great part of Japanese everyday activities. You will find most people walking to the train station, waiting for the train and then standing in the train. Afterward, they work from the train station to their workplaces. Public transport is a norm in Japan and personal cars are considered a luxury. Some employees even work while standing up. To add on to that, their toilets are tailored differently. They entail old-school Japanese lavatories which involve squatting. Squatting is healthier for the bowels.
It’s clear that all people who live long, regardless of nationality, gender or race, they all share one thing in common; none are overweight. Living healthy require some sacrifice and avoiding shortcuts. You don’t have to use the elevator while you can take the stairs. Remember, a healthy life goes beyond food to things like living a happy life, contributing to the society, exercising among others.
All images by Pixabay