Okinawa is an island in southern Japan . Like Sweden, Japan has a civil registry that works very well. Population statistics are therefore reliable. Japan has the highest average life expectancy in the world, and in Japan, the people of Okinawa live the longest . To a large extent this is due to the Okinawa Diet.
Since the mid-1970s, eating habits, exercise, and lifestyle of 600 people over the age of 100 have been studied by Harvard University and Ryukyus University in Okinawa.
In 2001, the result was published in the book The Okinawa Program , in which the authors describe the eating habits and lifestyle of the native population of Okinawa.
Okinawa’s inhabitants remain lean when making a low-calorie diet based on slow, unrefined absorption carbohydrates, practicing “hara hachi bu” (they only eat until they are 80% satiated).
Your local food sources originate directly from Nature and are prepared with as little intervention as possible. In addition, it is important to note that Okinawa’s inhabitants do not eat processed or scientifically-based food, but only what is directly available from Nature.
Their lifestyle is characterized by low stress, high quality social networks, staying active naturally and by their eating habits. All of this can be summarized in eight main principles.
Okinawa Diet Program
1. Consume eight vegetables and two pieces of fruit per day. This corresponds to 500-1000 g of vegetables per day. The ratio of vegetables to fruit is 4: 1.
2. Consume whole grains at most meals. Whole grains are the main type of high calorie foods used. Depending on the amount of physical activity, Okinawa residents consume on average 7-13 servings of whole grains per day.
Whole grains should be cooked for at least 30-40 minutes. The key words here are: integral and intact. Rice is the most affordable food in Okinawa, and one serving is defined as 1/2 cup (100 ml) of cooked rice.
3. Consume three foods with calcium per day. Sufficient daily calcium intake is considered important. Cow’s milk and milk derivatives that ensure adequate calcium intake in western culture are not part of the Okinawa diet.
Instead of these foods, the native population consumes abundantly green leafy vegetables and soy products to ensure adequate calcium intake. Nowadays, it is common for soy milk and other soy products to be supplemented with calcium.
4. Consume three servings of flavonoid- rich foods per day. Compared to Europeans, the Japanese in general and the inhabitants of Okinawa in particular have high levels of flavonoids in their blood.
Flavonoids are potent antioxidants. Legumes (beans, especially soybeans and peas), flaxseed, onions, broccoli and tea are rich in flavonoids. Thirty grams of cooked soy or one tablespoon of ground flaxseed corresponds to a portion of flavonoids.
5. Consume two servings of Omega 3 rich foods per day. Fish rich in natural fat is the best source of Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. It is considered ninety grams of fat fish cooked a portion. Two tablespoons of nuts, one tablespoon of ground flaxseed, one teaspoon of fish oil or one egg rich in omega-3s are alternatives.
6. Drink fresh water and tea daily. A cup of tea contains 12-16 mg of flavonoids and is considered an important part of the Okinawa diet.
7. Carefully evaluate your options. Okinawa’s eating habits allow all types of food as long as the consumption of animal foods and sugar products is moderate or low. Thus also the consumption of sweets is preferably made in the form of fruits or raw berries.
8. Drink alcohol in moderation or do not drink at all.