Okinawa is the largest of the Ryukyu Islands located at the southern tip of Japan. While long considered a part of Japan and sharing a virtually identical language, except for the elders many of whom still speak their native tongue of Uchinaguchi. Many of the Ryukyu Islanders have held resentment against Japan since their annexation in 1879. Okinawa is also the birth place of Karate. It is a long island with abundant natural beauty including steep hills covered with lush vegetation and, of course, surrounded by the sea, which is the source of much of their food.
Okinawa is about 464 square miles, enjoys a temperate climate and is populated by approximately 1.4 million people who enjoy the longest life expectancy of any group of people on earth. The average life span of an Okinawan is now 110 years. So how does this happen, how is it that the Okinawans enjoy a significantly longer life span than any other population group one earth? Turns out the answer is as it always is and always will be, diet and exercise.
Recently reported in The Guardian:
“The Okinawans have a low risk of arteriosclerosis and stomach cancer, a very low risk of hormone-dependent cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer,” Dr Craig Willcox, who wrote a book on the Okinawa diet, said. “They eat three servings of fish a week, on average … plenty of whole grains, vegetables and soy products too, more tofu and more konbu seaweed than anyone else in the world, as well as squid and octopus, which are rich in taurine – that could lower cholesterol and high blood pressure.”
The foundation of the average Okinawan’s diet is rice, noodles, beans and other whole grains along with an abundance of fresh vegetables. Next up the Okinawa food pyramid are flavonoid foods such as onions, apples, parsley, bananas, blueberries, celery, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, peaches and apples. The Okinawan diet also includes an abundance of calcium rich foods such as raw milk, kale, sardines, yogurt, broccoli, watercress, some cheese and bok choy. They also enjoy plenty of food rich in Omega 3 fatty acids primarily from an abundance of fresh seafood. They do also eat some poultry and eggs but no fur bearing land-based animals. And their diet does allow for daily tea and alcohol in moderation.
As for their exercise, there is, of course, their world renowned karate but far from every Okinawan practices that martial art. However the overwhelming majority of the good people of Okinawa do a considerable amount of walking. Yes, they have automobiles and motorcycles and there are buses and taxicabs on Okinawa, but on average your typical Okinawan walks far more than most of us living [for far fewer years] in the western world.
So there it is folks, the key to long, strong healthy life. Great diet and plenty of movement and you don’t need to move to Okinawa to achieve these goals. The beauty is this is 100 percent achievable. You have the basic knowledge and if you want more there are many good books about the Okinawan Diet. All you need is a true commitment.
Walk Your Way to Better Health
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Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.