Did you know that genetics play only a 20-30% part in how long you live? If you would like to live until 100 years of age, you need much more than good genes.
Lifestyle is the most important factor when it comes to longevity. Why?
Okinawa lies on a small island in Japan. It seems that Okinawan inhabitants have found the secret of long life – that is, how to live to become 100 years old.
Since 1976, he researchers of Japan’s Ministry of Health and the U.S. National Institute of Health have followed the lives of those inhabitants of Okinawa who lived over 200 years. The study they published is entitled Okinawa Centenarian Study, and it contains some conclusions based upon the observations. A number of reasons are listed why a large percentage of the population in Okinawa lives beyond 100 years.
The possible reasons:
- Older persons in Okinawa exercise regularly, both mentally and physically
- Their diet contains hardly any salt; on the other hand, they eat lots of fruit and vegetables containing large quantities of fibers and antioxidants. Thus, these people extremely rarely fall ill with heart diseases and cancer.
- These people consume the most soy in the World (60-120 grams of non-genetically modified soy per day). The type of soy they eat has a high flavonoid content
- During their meals, these people apply the hara hachi practice, which means ‘8/10 full’; that is, they never fill their stomachs completely. This way their daily calorie intake is much lower than the average.
- Dementia and senility is hardly known in this area. The diet these people consume is rich in vitamin E, which ensures the healthy functioning of the brain.
- Old people in Japan are much more respected that in other cultures. This way, they may feel important even in their old age, which helps preserve their vitality and joy in life.
- It is an interesting fact that when persons from Okinawa moved to Europe or America and took up the local lifestyle, their life expectancy decreased considerably, while the occurrence of heart attacks and cancerous diseases in former Okinawans grew to twice as much in number.