Okinawa is known as the “eternal” island because it has many residents who live the longest in Japan. In Okinawa, mortality from heart disease (including heart attack) and cancer (especially breast and prostate cancer) is relatively low.
Today, there are groups around the world that specialize in studying Okinawan centenarians. Through years of research, they discovered that the secret to longevity for older people in Japan is actually not as difficult as people think. This secret mainly comes from the unique eating habits and way of thinking of the Okinawan people.
1. Unique Diet
The elderly in Okinawa have a diet rich in nutrients but low in calories. Their diet mainly comes from plant food sources such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and especially soy products. The amount of vegetables, tubers and fruits accounts for 50-60% of the Okinawan diet.
Their main carbohydrate intake is not pasta or rice but sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a food that helps fight aging, stabilize blood pressure, reduce inflammation, protect eyesight and boost immunity.
Japanese people in general and Okinawans in particular rarely eat red meat, instead eating white fish more often. Even so, fish and meat only make up about 1-2% of the Okinawan diet.
It could be argued that this unique yet highly scientific diet is one of the reasons why Okinawans live long and healthy lives.
Illustration: A unique and scientific diet helps Okinawans live longer
2. Stay positive and do “Ikigai”
Almost all centenarians have a positive attitude towards life. They are often optimistic and have a free spirit, carefree demeanor. When faced with any problem, they always use a happy attitude to solve everything. For them, the most important thing is to enjoy life even though they are getting older.
The unique thing about Okinawans is that they are always looking for their own “Ikigai”. Ikigai is understood as the “reason to live”, is the secret to helping one have a full and thriving life. Finding Ikigai will help keep you full of joy and happiness to start a new day, thereby also contributing to a longer life.
Artwork: Okinawans are always positive and live happily
3. Say No to “Retirement”
In Okinawa there is no concept of “retirement”, Okinawans continue to work even into old age. If they were farmers, they would continue to work in the fields and tend the crops every day. However, they will adjust the intensity of the work to their own physical condition.
Okinawans believe that once you stop doing the work that has stuck with you for a long time, it can also be a moment when your body begins to age and health is “digested”.
4. Join the group
Okinawans regularly participate in groups of people with similar interests and interests. Here they will hold social activities or arisan to meet and discuss life problems, make crafts together, drink green tea…
Meeting, sharing, and connecting regularly with people with similar interests helps them to relieve stress, be less lonely, and always feel happier, happier, and healthier. This contributes to the longevity of Okinawans.