Why do the Japanese live the longest?
in Japan is the highest in the world. Japanese men have an average life
span of 78 years and women 85 years. Japanese women have the world's highest
life expectancy last 20 years. What is the cause of such phenomenal health
and longevity? We posed this question to one of the leading experts on
the subject, Professor Yasuo Kagawa (Jichi Medical School, Tochigi-Ken,
Japan). In cooperation with Professor Alexander Leaf (Harvard Medical
School, Boston, USA) Professor Kagawa surveyed selected areas of the world
to find out what determines these significant differences in life expectancy.
In his report sent to the Anti-Aging Center-Europe, Professor Kagawa provides a detailed analysis of the possible reasons and factors, which boil down to the following: the Japanese have an extraordinarily low level of cholesterol in their blood, a fact which apparently also explains the very low death-rate from heart disease observed in Japan. A useful graph in Professor Kagawa’s study compares the average level of blood cholesterol sampled in America and Japan and shows how this level has changed during the last two decades.
How do the Japanese
achieve such a low level of cholesterol in their blood? The answer, Professor
Kagawa believes, can be found in the special nutrition structure prevalent
in Japan. Because of its uniqueness, the Japanese diet remains almost
unknown and is hardly used at all outside of Japan. This is a pity.
The Japanese diet
includes foods with very low cholesterol content and is practically free
from the saturated (“bad”) fats abundantly present in red meat, dairy
produce and butter. Instead, the Japanese diet abounds in seafood: fish,
rich in polyunsaturated (“good”) fats (in particular, eicosopentaenoic
acid, EPA), and the seaweeds Kombu (from warm waters) and Nori (from cold
waters) - see
recipes. These contain high amounts of iodine as well as
minerals and microelements which are both healthy and also impart to Japanese
food its inimitable flavor.
the special longevity of the Japanese, one cannot help noticing the so-called
“Okinawa phenomenon”, among the inhabitants of this Japanese island. There,
the death-rates caused by strokes, cancer and heart disease amount to
only 59%, 69% and 59% of the respective death-rates from these complaints
in other parts of Japan, which are themselves much lower than the rest
of the world.
What is the reason
for these extremely low death-rates on Okinawa? The exact answer has yet
to be discovered. However, it is highly probable that the key lies in
the peculiar features of the Okinawan diet. On Okinawa, the consumption
of sugar and salt constitutes only 25% and 20% (respectively) of the average
amount consumed in Japan. At the same time, Okinawans consume 3 times
more vegetables compared with other Japanese, and twice as much fish.
The total consumption of proteins and oils is about the same as in other
parts of Japan; however, the energy equivalent of the ration on Okinawa
is 20% lower.
In conclusion: we strongly recommend the adoption of a Japanese-style diet. Don’t let the unusual taste of its dishes frighten you! They simply take some getting used to. Nutritionists have long ago established that new dietary habits can develop within a few months. Not taking advantage of this opportunity would be simply unforgivable from the point of view of your health. NE