Like an Okinawan
few years ago scientists were studying Cretans for clues to their
longevity. The conclusion: high consumption of olive oil, fruits,
grains, and vegetables, plus lots of hard physical work, was what
kept heart disease rates low on Crete and in other parts of Greece.
Now another island, Okinawa, south of Japan, is in the news, thanks
to a best-selling book called The Okinawa
Program, by researchers Bradley and Craig Willcox and Makoto
the Japanese Ministry of Health has been studying older Okinawans
(who live in traditional cultures presumably unaffected by the
American presence), hoping to unlock the secrets of their amazing
good health. What's most interesting about them is that they have
the longest disability-free life expectancy in the world. Okinawa
boasts the highest percentage of centenarians anywhere. Heart
disease rates are low: 80% fewer heart attacks than Americans,
and Okinawans who have heart attacks are more likely to survive.
Breast and prostate cancer are so rare as to be unheard of among
the older population. Obesity is equally rare.
Okinawan citizen consumes at least seven servings of vegetables
daily, and an equal number of grains (in the form of noodles,
bread, and ricemany of them whole grains). Add to this two
to four servings of fruit, plus tofu and other forms of soy, green
tea, seaweed, and fish rich in omega-3s (three times weekly).
Sweet potatoes, bean sprouts, onions, and green peppers are prominent
in the diet. Vegetables, grains, and fruits make up 72% of the
diet by weight. Soy and seaweed provide another 14%. Meat, poultry,
and eggs account for just 3% of the diet, fish about 11%. The
emphasis is on dark green vegetables rich in calcium (Okinawans,
like other Japanese, don't eat much dairy). Okinawans do drink
alcohol, but women usually stick to one drink a day, while men
average twice that. Moderation is the key.
the average Okinawan's diet is far richer in complex carbohydrates
and plant-based foods, and lower in fat, than the average American's.
(It's completely different from low-carbohydrate plans like the
Atkins and Zone diets.)
are far from sedentary. Most practice martial arts and traditional
Okinawan dance. They garden, they walk. Even at age 100, they
look lean and healthy. (For photographs and other information,
the program's website.) Furthermore, they live comfortably
and share the same spiritual and religious values, and the status
of women is high. The health-care system is good and covers everybody.
need to move to the Pacific rim to eatand exerciselike
an Okinawan. You can start on your own as soon as your are ready
to commit to a healthy lifestyle. Try it.
For more information
Reference Source 98