If you want to live a long, healthy life, you might want to take a hint from the Japanese population. A nation with the highest life expectancy, the Japanese, on an average, live up to a ripe, old 83. Japanese women, in fact, enjoy a life expectancy of 86.8 years, which is the highest in the world. If you’re wondering how they’re so healthy, we’ll let you in on the secret. The longetivity of the Japanese is linked to their diet. So, here are some traditional Japanese foods that increase life expectancy and good health.
1. Matcha Tea
A finely-ground form of green tea, its leaves are farmed under specific conditions. Catechin, an antioxidant, present in matcha tea can help increase your lifespan. In fact, studies observe that the antioxidant concentration in matcha is almost 3 times more than that of regular green tea.1 And it is a well-known fact that antioxidants can enhance the longevity of life and delay aging.2 3
2. Olive Oil
Olive oil, like matcha tea, is rich in antioxidants. The unsaturated fats present in olive oil is also responsible for its numerous health benefits. By boosting immunity and keeping diseases at bay, olive oil increases the longevity of life.4 And not surprisingly, Japan is one of the largest consumers of olive oil!
3. Fermented Foods
The Japanese diet includes huge portions of pickled and fermented foods. And fermentation can increase your lifespan. The probiotic bacteria in fermented foods prolong longevity by preventing the “fouling” in the large intestine.5 Examples of fermented Japenese foods are miso soup, tsukemono, umeboshi, and natto. If you don’t have access to these traditional Japanese foods, you could also reap similar benefits by pickling your fruits and vegetables before you add them to your dish.
We all know how much the Japanese love their seafood (sushi, anybody?). It’s a rich source of various nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, protein, amino acids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Seafood can significantly increase heart health, enhance brain function, boost immunity, and promote longevity, when eaten in moderation – that is, no more than 3–4 ounces a week.6 7 So, to live longer, include more fish and seaweed in your diet.
A spice extensively used in Asia, turmeric is believed to enhance lifespan. Thanks to the antioxidant properties of vitamin E and N-acetyl cysteine, turmeric can boost immunity and help you live longer.8
The Okinawa Diet
To imitate the Japanese food habits, you might also want to opt for the Okinawa diet. Traditional to the indigenous tribes of the Ryukyu Islands, the Okinawa diet is believed to exceptionally increase longevity. Apart from the above-mentioned foods, here are some other ingredients that the Okinawas regularly use in their recipes.9
- Yellow and green vegetables
- Small portions of rice
- Sweet potatoes
- Soy products
Now you know exactly what to eat to live a long, healthy life. However, only your diet will not do the trick. So, ensure you also get about 30 minutes of exercise every day, along with a good night’s sleep.
|↑1||Weiss, David J., and Christopher R. Anderton. “Determination of catechins in matcha green tea by micellar electrokinetic chromatography.” Journal of Chromatography A 1011, no. 1 (2003): 173-180.|
|↑2||Peng, Cheng, Xiaobo Wang, Jingnan Chen, Rui Jiao, Lijun Wang, Yuk Man Li, Yuanyuan Zuo et al. “Biology of ageing and role of dietary antioxidants.” BioMed research international 2014 (2014).|
|↑3||Japan has the highest life expectancy-the World Health Statistics 2017 report. World Health Organization.|
|↑4||Trichopoulou, Antonia, and Vardis Dilis. “Olive oil and longevity.” Molecular nutrition & food research 51, no. 10 (2007): 1275-1278.|
|↑5||Heller, Knut J. “Probiotic bacteria in fermented foods: product characteristics and starter organisms.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 73, no. 2 (2001): 374s-379s.|
|↑6||Hosomi, Ryota, Munehiro Yoshida, and Kenji Fukunaga. “Seafood consumption and components for health.” Global journal of health science 4, no. 3 (2012): 72.|
|↑7||Seafood and Current Dietary Recommendations. Seafood Health Facts – Making Smart Choices.|
|↑8||Suckow, Brianne K., and Mark A. Suckow. “Lifespan extension by the antioxidant curcumin in Drosophila melanogaster.” International journal of biomedical science: IJBS 2, no. 4 (2006): 402.|
|↑9||Eat like an Okinawan: Wellness Letter. School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley.|