The Traditional Japanese Diet: For Health and Longevity

Living Long and Healthy

Do you know where to find the highest number of centenarians in the world? It’s in Okinawa, Japan. The Okinawans have the lowest risk of age-related diseases like, diabetes, cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer’s. This has partly been attributed to their traditional Japanese diet. that is characterized as low in calories, low in saturated fats, yet high in phytonutrients such as antioxidants and flavonoids. Unlike urban Japan, the diet of the people in this southernmost region is less influenced by western culture. Nonetheless, the Japanese have generally been studied for their long life expectancy, higher than almost anywhere else in the world.

Is the Japanese diet really healthy, and what’s their diet? The British Medical Journal found that people who follow the Japanese dietary guidelines, which is a diet high in grains and vegetables, moderate on animal products and soy, minimal on dairy and fruit, have a reduced risk of dying early and dying from heart disease or stroke. Japanese food is traditionally high in soy and fish, significant in reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. The Japanese also have the lowest rates of obesity amongst men and women.

Traditionally, the staple and traditional Japanese diet is rice, cooked and pickled vegetables, fish and meat. They consume more fish compared to other Asian countries, eating a lot of raw fish in sushi and sahimi, plus more of pickled, fermented and smoked foods which support a healthy digestive system. Soy beans is key to their diet. Fermented soy bean products such as miso and natto are part of everyday consumption.

Part of the Japanese diet is a wide variety of land and sea vegetables like seaweed, full of health-boosting minerals, and may help to reduce blood pressure. Fruit is often consumed with breakfast or as a dessert, especially Fuji apples, tangerines and persimmons. Also, for drink, the Japanese go for healthy green tea, especially matcha tea, which is high in antioxidants and beneficial in fighting cancer, viruses and heart disease.

Even the Japanese eating behavior is healthy. Children are already taught to not stuff themselves full, but instead just up to 80% fullness. This attitude actually prevents obesity. The way the Japanese serve their food is also crucial. They eat from small bowls, different dishes but in small servings, including treats and snacks enjoyed only from time to time. They are a complete meal in themselves with all the necessary components of a healthy diet.

Enjoying the “Okinawan Diet” in Seattle

If you are after healthy and long-life eating, just as the Okinawans do, then the Japanese diet is for you. Come to I Love Sushi in Seattle and see what we’re talking about.