Shine must have some pretty good stuff, since I keep being prompted to write after something I read there. This article on the oldest living woman is another example. Do you want to know how important diet is to your health? Compare Okinowan life expectancy, rates of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease with ours.
I’ve discussed how we study the effects of diets on health before. We can’t ethically lock people up, give them various diets and see how they do. People also lie about what they eat, often simply to try to please the researchers. Fortunately, people have naturally different diets, depending on where they live. One of the most common ways to study the effects of diets is to look at what people are eating and see what the results are. Which leads me to this quote in the Shine article:
The Japanese diet is the iPod of food,” Naomi Moriyama, co-author of Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat: Secrets of My Mother’s Tokyo Kitchen told Web MD. “It concentrates the magnificent energy of food into a compact and pleasurable size.”
The typical Japanese person consumes about 25 percent less calories per day than the average American. The base of their diet is vegetables and fish, a great source of omega-3 fats, which are excellent for heart health. Because their meals are largely vegetarian, they eat very little red meat, which can lead to health problems if eaten regularly.
The results of a 25-year study of the longest living group of Japanese people, the Okinawans, revealed that their traditional diet of rice, soy, and vegetables could be the reason that, on average, Okinawan women live to be 86 years old.
I hate to break it to the paleo people (people who eat what they believe our paleolithic ate: meat, vegetables, fruit and nuts), but limiting your consumption of red meat does equate to a longer life span. Having said that, people who follow any sort of diet regimen tend to be healthier, since they are making conscious choices about what to eat.
Here is a link to the article that is also linked above, discussing why Okinowans live so long, and breaking down some of the study information. *Warning* It reads more like an infomercial than a study summary, so do take what is said with a grain of salt. However, there is nothing discussed in the summary that I would disagree with doing in your life. Eat more veggies. If you have the opportunity, try some seaweed. Eat more beans and rice and less meat. Exercise more. Eat less, period. Last, meditate or do other things to reduce your stress level. The above link is to InsidersHealth, which seems to be a decent source of information
Lets face it, you can’t blame it on your genes. What you eat does matter, as does exercise. Knowing that, you can still decide not to do anything, not everyone wants to live a long, healthy life. People know smoking is bad, and they still do it every day, choosing the negative consequences as they price they want to pay. I know many people who would rather live the lifestyle they have now, with its attending illness, rather than choose better.