The Okinawa diet, a traditional diet of the Okinawa Island in Japan, has been recently introduced to Western countries. To know more about the magical health benefits of the diet, go through the following NutriNeat article.
The Okinawa region is believed to have the highest percentage of people in the world who live past the age of 100.
The Okinawa diet is something more than a weight loss diet program; it’s a way of living. As mentioned earlier, Okinawa is an island in the southernmost part of Japan, where natives have had the longest lifespan as compared to other parts of the world. Although there are several factors contributing to the lifespan of an individual, the diet is a major factor in the case of the Okinawans’ health and longevity.
What is actually an Okinawa or Okinawan diet? Several researches have been done till date to find out what is so special about this diet, and should it be used by inhabitants of other regions. As a result of the researches, it has been concluded that the Okinawa diet is a simple low-calorie diet that helps you not only live longer, but also healthier, as it lowers the risk of several health problems, like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc., that emerge as people age.
The proponents of this diet claim that unlike other diet plans, the Okinawa diet is sustainable for a longer period. One of the main reasons is the fact that a person on this diet can eat more in spite of dieting, which minimizes the instances where the dieter feels hungry, but can’t eat anything.
Health Benefits of the Okinawa Diet
Lower Risk of Cancer
Since the diet program contains fewer calories, good fat content, and more fruits and vegetables, it reduces the risk of getting hormone-dependent cancers, like breast, ovarian, colon, and prostate cancers. Turmeric is the main ingredient in the Okinawa diet, which acts as a great tool to treat, as well as prevent cancer.
Women who are on this diet do not experience severe health problems, like osteoporosis or heart disease during menopause. They don’t need estrogen replacement therapy because soy (a common food item in the Okinawan diet) contains phytoestrogens that help reduce the negative effects of menopause in a natural way.
Calcium is the most important nutrient in maintaining bone health. The Okinawa diet contains food groups that have extremely rich sources of calcium, which prevents people on this diet from hip and other fractures. This happens because the bone density of people on this diet decreases at a slower rate as compared to people on a normal diet.
Longevity Continues from One Generation to Another
It is believed that the Okinawans pass on their longevity to the next generation genetically. This diet has the potential to prevent autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, which continues from one generation to another.
The green tea that is a part of the Okinawan diet is known to reduce the risk of heart diseases. It is different from normal green tea because it is unsweetened and contains more powerful antioxidant properties than normal green tea. These properties make the unique Okinawan green tea (Sanpin) the best tool to protect people from heart problems. Also, the Okinawa diet maintains healthy arteries and low cholesterol levels, which reduces the risk of a heart disease by almost 80% in elderly people.
Okinawa Diet Food List
The best thing about the Okinawa diet is that it is clearly divided into four individual groups according to the calorie content. Given below is the classification of food groups included in the Okinawa diet.
As the name suggests, foods included in this group have the lowest calorie content—0.8 calories per gram. It includes vegetables, like asparagus, spinach, cucumber, etc., and miso soup. Beverages, like green tea and citrus fruits are also staple dietary items of this group.
It is a little denser food group containing around 0.8 to 1.5 calories per gram (approximately). Vegetables, like sweet potato, white or brown rice, and fish are included in this group.
This food group includes foods with the caloric-density of around 1.5 to 3.0 calories per gram. The foods included are lean meat, legumes, and cereals, like wheat.
The foods of this group provide 3 to 9 calories per gram, and hence, should not be consumed daily. This group includes mostly fried foods and desserts, red meat, nuts, oil seeds, etc.
As with other diet plans, consultation of your healthcare provider is a must if you are willing to start the Okinawa diet plan. Be a stringent follower of the diet program, and brace yourself to witness the surprising health benefits offered to you.
Disclaimer: This NutriNeat article is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a dietitian/nutritionist.