Who knows the secret of the fountain of youth? After all, it always makes good sense to take advice from those who know what they’re talking about – especially if they have proven results.
As far as we know, Okinawa has the healthiest people on earth. How do we know this? Well, to begin with, they have a higher number of centurions (100 years or older) per capita than any other country in the world – more than three times those in America. Plus, compared with the high U.S. incidence of heart disease, Okinawans have just a minimal risk. They also have 80% less breast and prostate cancer, 50% less colon and ovarian cancer and 40% fewer hip fractures.
What are their secrets to better health and longevity? It’s very simple and relatively easy to follow.
Secret #1 is maintain a positive, optimistic attitude. Okinawans believe that everything in life works itself out in the long run. With this attitude, there’s no need to worry. They intentionally live a calm, peaceful life with little stress. When they work, it’s at their own pace, rather than putting pressure on themselves to get things done in a hurry. Experts believe this relaxed way of being is definitely good for health and longevity.
Secret #2 is cultivate strong relationships. Okinawans often get together with friends, family and in groups to just hang out, chat and laugh or to offer support to one another. Endless studies have shown that people are healthier when they have good relationships and an active, positive social life. They live longer and have less tendency to get sick.
Secret #3 is eat a very healthy diet. It’s considered to be especially important that the traditional Okinawa diet is both simple and wholesome. It consists mainly of fish that’s rich in protein and omega-3 oils and plant food that’s high in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Plus, they eat less food – between 500 and 1,000 fewer calories per day than the average American or people from other “modern” countries. Eating a healthy, low calorie diet greatly reduces their risk of health problems related to overweight and increases their chance of longevity.
Secret # 4 is lead an active life. Most of Okinawans get plenty of exercise. They walk a lot, work in their gardens and practice traditional martial arts like tai chi.
Secret # 5 is refrain from bad habits. There are very few older Okinawans who smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol.
However, sadly enough, good health and longevity is more than likely not in the future of the next Okinawa generation. Because of outside influences, most of the young people eat a much more “modern” commercial diet. This group already has the highest rate of obesity in Japan. Plus, many of the younger set have changed other essential health habits – for example, 60% of younger Okinawan men smoke.
It makes better sense to follow the example of the elders who have positive attitudes, strong relationships, good social lives, eat wholesome and light, exercise regularly, work at a relaxed pace and refrain from smoking and drinking. Simple as it is, those are the Okinawa health secrets to living a long, happy, healthy life.