Okinawa diet: the principles of the Japanese diet for health and longevity

As the saying goes: “Let your food be your first medicine”, you will be healthy if you eat well. This is a principle that the inhabitants of the Okinawa archipelago in Japan can confirm to you by their great longevity and excellent health. Indeed, they hold the record for the highest average life expectancy in the world as well as the highest concentration of centenarians per capita, and this is largely thanks to their nutrition!

Due to its low meat consumption, the Okinawa diet is in essence a semi-vegetarian diet, being very low in calories, it spontaneously favors the weight loss of its practitioners because it is mainly based on fruits, vegetables and fish (less fat than meat) while excluding non-natural foods, fast foods and other industrialized products (out of simple respect for the food traditions of the region). It mainly promotes foods with high nutritional qualities, it is one of the least fatty diets while being one of the richest in omega-3 and micronutrients that exists.

Other than the main ingredients, Okinawan people consume a lot of tea and limit the addition of salt and sugar. The taste quality is compensated by a large amount of spices, herbs and algae which are also very rich in minerals and antioxidants.

The Three Main Principles of the Okinawan Diet

Being more than a food method, it is a real way of life because its foundations are as much inside as outside the plate. It challenges several food concepts such as eating until you are hungry. We can draw 3 main notable principles from this diet

  • Hara Hachi Bu: Stopping eating before satiety, this prevents the development of too great an appetite.
  • The kuten gwa: Eat only small portions.
  • Nuchi gusui: Eating with the belief that foods have healing powers, causing a positive placebo effect on body and mind.
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This diet induces you in a caloric deficit without putting caloric restrictions. The products used are for example rich in fiber, which gives a feeling of satiety, it is important to know that the first days can be difficult because of the lack of energy, go gradually and a metabolic adaptation will follow nicely.

Even if some foods are unique to the Okinawan Islands and are difficult to find in western areas, the Okinawa diet is adaptable according to the regions and is a true example of the sufficiency that a healthy diet can have to ensure health and longevity.


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