The inhabitants of Japan and in particular those of the island of Okinawa are known for their exceptional life expectancy: 81 years for men and more than 87 years for women! With the population agingthe archipelago has more and more elderly and the number of centenarians is breaking all records.
but what are they Japanese Longevity Secrets ? Genetics, diet, lifestyle, spirituality? How is this demographic phenomenon explained?
Today, we reveal 8 secrets straight from the Land of the Rising Sun to living a long and healthy life.
? Secret #1: Japanese food
Everyone knows that food is one of the pillars of a healthy life style. Thus, a healthy and balanced diet helps to stay in good shape for a long time. On the island of Okinawa, many people pick vegetables directly from their gardens before cooking them. Eggplants, red beans, cabbage… the Japanese eat season productsof first freshness and totally natural. Take from there 😉
the riz court ” gohan (御飯) is the basis of traditional Japanese food, starting with breakfast. This is how many dishes are made with this cereal, such as sushi, donburi (rice with garnish) or even on the wall (kind of sandwich) commonly eaten by children as a snack.
A traditional meal usually consists of a rice dish with 3 side dishes and miso soup. Among the key ingredients of Japanese cuisine, we can mention vegetablesthe poison (salmon, mackerel), eggsto them pastathe militaryto them somethe ginger and the fermented foods. On the other hand, the Japanese consume very little meat, processed foods, and dairy products. Therefore, the food is rich in minerals, vitamins, fiber, omega 3 and low in harmful fats and sugars.
But eating well is not enough… The way of cooking is also important since we know that long cooking at high temperatures alters food. In the Japanese diet, many foods are eaten raw which has the advantage of preserving vitamins and good nutrients. Otherwise, the cooking is preferably light and fast” al dente ».
Finally, the Japanese consume a lot of green tea and in particular the famous matcha. Therefore, they benefit from your antioxidant properties that protect against aging, maintaining good hydration.
? Secret #2: hara hachi bu or the 80% rule
In addition to a healthy diet, Japanese people always prioritize quality of food over quantity consuming only what is necessary to meet their nutritional needs. To do this, apply the rule of hara hachi bu which can be translated as ” the 80% belly rule “. This principle is to stop eating when you reach 80% satiety. This way we avoid excesses and the weight gain that this entails.
Another difference is in the way of eating. Westerners tend to devour their meals on the go, without appreciating the flavors, while the Japanese eat carefully. In the Land of the Rising Sun we pay special attention to food and above all we take the time to taste it. Keep in mind that the dish is appreciated both with the eyes and with the taste buds, thanks to a beautiful presentation that mixes textures, colors and flavors.
? Secret n°3: the Japanese way of life
“The world belongs to those who get up early! “. This saying is very true in the archipelago. Therefore, many Japanese are active early to start the day. In the morning, physical exercise is essential to gently wake up and tone up. Also, to fight against stress related to work and daily life, the Japanese tend to practice especially relaxing activities such as meditation, calligraphy, ikebana (flower art) or kodo (art of smelling perfumes).Finally, relax in a hot spring or onsen it is a deeply rooted tradition in the Land of the Rising Sun. A healthy diet, activity and relaxation are the essential ingredients of a healthy japanese lifestyle.
?♀ Secret #4: Exercise in Japan
In Japan, physical exercise is practiced at any age. From an early age, young schoolchildren incorporate sport clubs or of artistic hobbies. These activities will then continue throughout the school curriculum. Similarly, the Japanese are used to staying active after retirement, either by working or through other activities. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see older people get around by bike, s’exercer au jogging or in sports walk. In addition, the taiso radio It is an essential morning ritual in the archipelago, regardless of age and physical condition. You know that gentle gymnastics practiced by 27 million Japanese? Even companies have adopted it to keep employees healthy (and more efficient). It is well known that physical activity is an excellent way to keep in good shape.
?⚕ Secret n°5: access to health
The Japanese health system with its many clinics and specialized doctors is one of the best in the world.. There are two types of public health insurance. The first accessible to all Japanese is the national health insurance that covers up to 70% of health costs. The second is employee social insurance, which benefits employees. This insurance paid half by the employer covers 80% of the employee’s care as well as the expenses of the dependents. The quality and ease of access to care. It will certainly contribute to maintaining good health in the Land of the Rising Sun.
??? Secret n°6: community life
The ” know how to live together It is a value that we learn very early in Japan. In fact, the community and group spirit prevails in Japanese culture, where the common interest always comes before personal interest. Likewise, we grant great importance to the family. Therefore, Japanese people are usually well surrounded by loved ones and live in a warm environment. always on okinawa island, the town of Ogimi is home to a community of nonagenarians and centenarians who chat, help each other and laugh together. According to the locals, living with others is the secret to live happy and older.
? Secret n°7: Ikigai or purpose
What is the use of living a long time if you lead a dull and meaningless existence? Ikigai is an Okinawan philosophy of life that allows you to find your reason for being. Okinawans definitely have a lot to teach us ☺
On the island, many older people continue to work to maintain social ties. In addition, in the village of Ogimi known for its handicraft textile production, women of a certain age practice weaving ” basho-fu », a common ikigai.
ikigai is the perfect balance between what you love to do, what you’re good at, what you get paid to do, and what the community needs. This translates into fulfillment in one’s own work, in one’s own passions and in the feeling of being useful to others. Trouver son ikigai is to follow your own path to happiness.
?♂ Secret n°8: The spirituality of the Japanese
Spirituality occupies an important place in the lives of the Japanese who practice many rituals of religions. Shintoism et buddhists. What if spirituality was the real secret to this longevity record? Some studies show that people who go to places of worship live longer than those who don’t.. Similarly, meditation is a common practice in Japan whose health benefits are well established. Focusing on your feelings and breathing deeply allows you to release tension while bringing inner calm. Results ? The stress hormone (cortisol) decreases and the cells are better preserved from aging. Finally, according to scientific studies, meditation helps reduce the risk of heart disease. sure, the zenitude of the Japanese is one of the keys to a better and longer life.
You will have understood that the secrets of the longevity of the Japanese are particularly related to their way of life. So if you want to live old (and above all better), don’t hesitate to apply some Japanese rituals in your daily life ☺!