Secrets from The Longest Living People in The World
If you have been completely mind blown with the number of superfoods claiming to make you live longer and healthier you are not alone. The reality is that one single food cannot fuel your body with optimal nutrition, it is a combination of factors and lifestyle choices that will ultimately determine your quality of life. Japanese women, who are currently the longest living people in the world are proof of this fact. Their way of living increases the average lifespan to 2.2 more years over the life of an Australian woman based on the most current statistics of the World Health Organisation. Men in both Australia and Japan both live an average of 81 years. On top of this, Japan is running a single horse race when it comes to citizens living over 100 with Japan recently breaking its own world record! Put it simply, it would be wise to pay attention to the many healthful habits this nation has to improve both quality and quantity of life. Here are the top take home tips to incorporate into your weekly habits:
- Whole foods over sometimes foods
The amount of sometimes foods and drinks like chips, chocolate, cakes, fast food etc. are not staples for women in Japan. Instead their meals and snacks are based on:
- Plant foods
- Soy foods
Looking at these 4 major components the reasons behind the health benefits are numerous and include the antioxidant amount in the amount of food or drink you give your body when you eat or drink it. Plant foods are traditionally high in fibre which helps maintaining a healthy body weight as they keep you feeling fuller for longer. Plant based foods also provide essential fibre needed to remove any nasties which could lead to cancers such as colorectal cancer. Thirdly plant foods fuel your good bacteria in your guts to help support immunity, mental health, organ health and may help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Soy foods in moderation throughout your life will provide you with a complete source of protein needed to build and maintain every cell in your body. Soy products like tofu also give your body calcium needed for strong bones and allow your muscles to contract properly. The current research shows that soy-based products may protect against breast cancer both pre and post menopause, so it is a healthy food to enjoy all your life.
Seaweed can boast many health benefits including iodine to help maintain a healthy thyroid which plays and important role in the rate of your metabolism. Seaweed also contain omega-3 fat which helps keep your heart healthy as well as is the most abundant fat in your brain and is needed for your brain to function properly.
- Variety Is Key
How many different foods do you eat a day? Most Australians eat 15-18 different foods a week which you may be able to relate to. Japanese women eat on average 30 different foods a day! This is a very healthy habit as every food and drink can give your body different types of nutrition and can help protect your body in different ways. Try starting small by choosing a food group like fruit and aim for a different fruit each day or if you always have rice with dinner or lunch try quinoa, couscous, or whole grain pasta or amaranth.
- Mindfulness Matters
Eating at your desk or in front of the TV is a common habit for many people. Being mindful not only allows you to appreciate the food you have in front of you but will often prevent you from overeating as you give your body the time to feel full and are more aware of how much food you have eaten. Mindfulness to the environment you eat also means giving your mind the social health which is important when eating a meal. Mental wellness through eating with others has many benefits and the connection with others throughout life is vital for longevity.
Take home message: There are many factors which play a role in how long you will live. Japanese women are living proof that how you eat and what you eat play a role in the quality and length of your life. Try incorporating these three key components into your life and you may just be adding years to your life.
- Kurotani K, Akter S, Kashino I, Goto A, Mizoue T, Noda M, et al. Quality of diet and mortality among Japanese men and women: Japan Public Health Center based prospective study. BMJ. 2016;352.