Japanese people are one of the longest-lived in the world. This is most likely thanks to their healthy dining habits. Especially the people located at the island of Okinawa are exceptional. They are five times more likely to live up to 100 years compared to the rest of the world. As a part of the Blue Zones of the world t’s important to keep in mind that not only their diet, but also their healthy lifestyle in general contributes to their life-expectancy. To read more about these lifestyle habits and the Blue Zones, click here. What is the secret to the Okinawa Diet? In this article, we discuss the characteristics of this diet.
Characteristics of the Okinawa Diet
1. Play with color! Make sure to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. The important thing here is to vary your choices and to incorporate every color into your diet. This is important, because every color contains different vitamins and minerals. Variation and a colorful plate are therefore key to a healthy diet. Yellow, orange and green vegetables, combined with the purple sweet potato make up an Okinawan daily meal!
2. Focus on plant-based food. It’s okay to eat grass-fed high-quality meat occasionally, but try to drastically limit your intake. Also keep in mind that meat is hardly eaten in Okinawa. Fish is eaten more often, but here it’s also important to limit your intake, as fish nowadays is most-likely contaminated with harmful toxins.
3. Watch out for gluten. Wheat is hardly eaten in Okinawa. It’s also important to keep in mind that consuming too much gluten is linked to leaky-gut syndrome and other gut-related problems. An unhappy gut can lead to many health-related problems, like bloating and even depression.
4. Limit your dairy intake. Just like wheat, dairy is hardly eaten in Okinawa. The danger of these milk-based products like yoghurt and cheese is that they’re generally very processed and filled with unnecessary sugars. Of course, it’s okay to eat dairy products once or twice a week, but if so, make sure to opt for ‘raw’ products. These are generally much healthier than their processed or low-fat alternatives.
Hara Hachi Bu
Even though following these dietary options will have great benefits, there is one other very important rule to keep in mind. Hara Hachi Bu is an ancient saying which translates to: “Eat until you’re eight parts out of ten full”. That means that you should stop eating once you feel 80% full. This means the Okinawans will eat slowly to make sure they can detect their brain signaling them their stomach is full. Keep in mind that it takes approximately 20 minutes, before your brain gives the sign. Hara Hachi Bu is therefore a very powerful mechanism that prevents overeating and is a key factor to the Okinawans magnificent life-expectancy and overall health.