6 longevity secrets from japan (okinawa) - Longevity and Supplements (Live healthy naturally)


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Wednesday, July 20, 2022

6 longevity secrets from japan (okinawa)


Today, one in 1,450 Japanese citizens is beyond the age of 100, and 88.4% of those people are women.

One of the world's five Blue Zones, the Japanese archipelago of Okinawa, has a high percentage of centenarians.

Dr. Bradley Willcox, a member of the Okinawa Centenarian Study study team, shares some of the keys to a long and healthy life. 

There is a proverb that goes: "Live far enough from your family so you don't run into them every day, but close enough to take them a warm bowl of soup - on foot." This proverb is from the subtropical Japanese island of Okinawa.

Living close to our families over the past 18 months would have been advantageous for many of us.
Instead, we've had to rely on Zoom calls, and the lack of a social connection has had an impact on our wellbeing and mental health.

One of the reasons many Okinawans live healthy lives to age 100 or beyond is socializing.
Dr. Bradley Willcox, a geriatrician at the University of Hawaii and the director of the Kuakini Center for Translational Research on Aging, and his twin brother Craig, an anthropologist at Okinawa International University, have spent more than 20 years researching the elderly on the Hawaiian islands.
It is one of the five Blue Zones across the world, which are areas with a lot of centenarians.

Dr. Willcox, who co-wrote The Okinawa Way, a 2001 New York Times best-seller, explains his team's results by saying, "You can't walk down the street without running across one."  

a new century-old record

 According to the health ministry, Japan's centenarian population has recently reached a new high of 86,510, a rise of 6,060 from 2020 and up from just 153 when records first started in 1963.

It means that one in 1,450 Japanese people are now over 100 years old, and 88.4% of these people are women, including the oldest person in the world, Kane Tanaka, who is 118 years old.

In 2015, Okinawa had almost twice as many centenarians per 100,000 residents as the rest of Japan did. 



Why longevity is important

The longest-running study of centenarians in the entire world dates back to Dr. Makoto Suzuki's founding of the Okinawa Centenarian Study in 1975.
To better understand the genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors influencing healthy aging, the team analyzed more than 1,000 individuals who were 100 years old.

In their 2001 book, they reported discoveries such as clear arteries, low cholesterol, strong bones, slim and fit bodies, and extraordinary mental clarity. They also reported reduced hormone-dependent cancer risk, with 80% fewer cases of breast and prostate cancer than North Americans. 

As a result, the healthcare system in Okinawa is not as taxed as it formerly was.
According to the Global Future Council on Healthy Ageing and Longevity of the World Economic Forum, healthier aging may potentially have positive economic effects.

Dr. Willcox concurs, saying that extending human "healthspan" in addition to lifespan will increase productivity, make people happier, and reduce their risk of developing cancer or cardiovascular illnesses.

One of the greatest medical discoveries in history will occur if we can figure out the mechanisms of aging, as well as why and how we age, and then assist people live healthier, longer lives. 

The Okinawan approach of living a long and healthy life is described here by Dr. Willcox, and it truly comes down to "balancing." 

1. Engage in "hara hachi bu," or eating and exercising for health.

Older Okinawans hold the belief that you shouldn't dirty your body because it is a temple.
They normally don't smoke much and just occasionally use alcohol.
They also have high levels of activity, a calorific intake to output ratio that is frequently net-negative, and they burn a lot of calories overall.
Their diet has primarily consisted of plants, which is low in calories.
They consume more than a kilogram of fruits, vegetables, and legumes per day, including soy beans.
It comes with every meal.
Sweet potatoes have replaced bread as the main source of carbohydrates because they have a low glycemic index and are packed with plant components, including colorful flavonoids that may prevent the aging process. They also practice hara hachi bu, which refers to stopping eating when they are just 80% satisfied. 

2. Stay upbeat and discover your "ikigai," or sense of purpose

 Every centenarian we encounter has a cheerful outlook on life.
They are typically upbeat and take a carefree, laissez-faire attitude toward life; they enjoy having fun.
I believe it's crucial to have fun as you become older.
Additionally, they possess what we refer to as "ikigai," the Japanese word for "purpose."
One man, who was 102 years old, cared for these two prize bulls as his ikigai, visiting them daily.
The ikigai of another individual may be their family or religion. 

3. Remain attentive mentally

Up until recently, the concept of retirement simply didn't exist in Okinawan because the language doesn't have a word for it.
If you are a farmer, you just continued to do what you always did.
If you stop doing something you've been doing, especially if you enjoyed it and it gave you a feeling of purpose, I believe you may fall apart quickly.
The goal is to simply maintain engagement.
Because people are keeping physically and cognitively active their entire lives, it lowers healthcare expenditures and greatly improves their quality of life. 

4. Join a social group called "moai"

Okinawans are known for having large families and robust social networks.
Everybody in those little villages knows everyone else.
They participate in'moai', or group social events.
The guys might smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, which may help to explain why they don't live as long as the ladies. The women converse about various topics while sipping green tea and possibly enjoying a small dessert.
However, they enjoy getting together in general.

Despite being the poorest in Japan, Okinawa had the lowest healthcare expenses due to their better lifestyle.
The Long-Term Care Insurance Program, which included paid childcare for adults, was established nationwide in Japan in 2000.Because Okinawans are naturally social creatures, they make the most of it, which over time lowers healthcare expenditures because happier and healthier people will have more social contact. 

5. Reduce your stress and reconsider how you view time.

We're all rushing to meet deadlines, which is why the term "hurry illness" is undoubtedly familiar to you.
Many of us can work from home during the COVID-19 outbreak, but we soon become overwhelmed with calls.
Although they seem to start nothing on time and have a sluggish sense of time, Okinawans finally complete tasks.
They have developed these stress-resistant mindsets over time because they have learned how to deal with adversity and suffering. 

Even more recently, we discovered a stress-resilience gene named FOXO3A that is linked to human longevity in Hawaii.
You have a two to three times greater probability of surviving to be 100 if you have even one copy from your mother or father.
The fundamental idea is that it shields you from the negative effects of illnesses and, I believe, other pressures on the body.
The proportion of this gene is very little higher in Okinawans, but they make the most of it. 

6. Take your spirituality seriously.

When it comes to spirituality or religion, Okinawans are highly practical and spiritual people.
They take an annual picnic, see their ancestors, and converse with them as if they were still alive.
There is a sense of continuity there because they keep this link over generations.
They practice an indigenous religion that leans more toward animism and hold the idea that everything is infused with spiritual force. 

Traditionally, women served as priestesses and were in charge of the religion.
Around Okinawa, there are holy groves where women still go to pray and meditate for wellbeing and tranquility.
Although Buddhism has somewhat assimilated into the culture, the local religion still exists.
Each community has a priestess, and the ladies are incredibly attuned to both nature and themselves.
They are some of the strongest and healthiest women I've ever seen.

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