While the typical Mediterranean diet consists of vegetables and fishes dredged in olive oil, the Japanese cuisine is presenting a fresh and fulfilling way to becoming healthy. According to studies, East Asian residents are expected to live at least 82 and a half years of age as compared to people living in other countries with only 80 years of life expectancy. As of today, Misao Okawa, a Japanese woman, is said to be to be the oldest living person in the world with the age of 116.
Furthermore, Japanese obesity rate is only 3.5%, the least in the world. The rates of breast cancer, heart disease and prostate cancer are also considered low in this country. Wondering why? Here are some facts experts have discovered upon studying the Japanese dietary habits:
- Avoiding Very Sweet Desserts
According to Dr. Craig Wilcox, Japanese people tend to finish off meals with green tea or fruit rather than a pudding as a dessert. In Japan, sweet courses are something taken in the afternoon with coffee and portions are served much smaller than those in the West. It is proven that sugar has an inevitable link to weight gain, and is associated to diseases like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Evidences show that Japanese only consume 48.8 grams of sugar per day, compared to British who take in at least 100.4 grams a day.
- From Salads to Seaweeds
Studies link Japanese health to a diet that contains low fat and high protein from fruits and vegetables, which is mainly seaweed. Nori, for instance, a type of Japanese seaweed, is full of disease-fighting antioxidants that help lose weight. In addition, scientists at Newcastle University in UK reported that alginate, a compound contained in seaweeds, forbids the body to absorb fat. A research study shows that a fourfold increase of alginate consumption reinforces the suppression of fat digestion for about 75%.
- Learning to Stop Eating Prior to Becoming Full
Okinawa, a remote island in Japan, has the highest percentage of people who lived for a century. This is said to be credited to their inherited practice called the ‘hara hachi bu’ (eat until you’re eight-tenths full). This practice is a custom that stops anyone from eating before being stuffed.
The theory is based from a study of the delay between the stomach to become full and the brain to receive signal, which takes 20 minutes. In other words, most of us eat too quickly without realizing that we are actually having more than what or how much we really need.
Obviously, if one is consciously controlling the amount of food he eats, then he is likely to end up eating less.
- Learning How to Balance Every Aspect of Life
Tai chi is seen as a good method of workout for older people since it gives minimal impact on the joints. This practice is also ideal in facilitating balance, mobility and reduction of stress. It is a common sight throughout Japan to find a place where older people are practicing the art of Tai chi. This explains why most Japanese people are of good shape and wellbeing.