10 Longevity secrets of the Japanese
The people of Japan and its surrounding islands can look forward to enjoying some of the longest lifespans on the planet. In Japan, men can expect to live until they are at least 80, and women until the age of at least 86, and many Japanese people live into their 100’s. There have many studies carried out into why the Japanese can expect to live longer than most of us and the answer doesn’t lie in just one thing. It is a combination of lifestyle, diet and a positive attitude that seem to explain the longevity of the Japanese. Here are ten of the things that would appear to be the secrets to Japanese longevity.
1. They are willing to use both western and eastern medicine
The Japanese enjoy the best of both worlds, when it comes to how they approach their medical care. They are equally comfortable being treated with modern western medical breakthroughs, as they are with thousand year old Eastern herbal remedies.
2. They pay particular attention to hygiene
Japan is one of the most hygienic countries in the world and people there take great care to protect themselves from infectious diseases. Hygiene procedures in public places and on public transport are very thorough. For example, in public libraries, the books that have been returned are passed through UV rays to kill any germs, before they are placed back on the shelves to be lent out to other people again.
3. Daily exercise is the norm
The vast majority of the population of Japan take exercise every single day. Most people practice karate, tai chi, yoga, or other martial arts, that exercise both the mind and the body. They keep this exercise regime up in old age too, and it is nothing unusual to see an elderly person practicing tai chi in public places along with everyone else.
4. They don’t eat too much
There is no doubt that Japanese diet has a lot to do with longevity of the Japanese people, but it is not only what they eat that matters, it is also how much they eat. Japanese people eat until they feel that they are 4/5ths full, but not completely full. This practice has been scientifically proven to be much better for you and to hold back the ageing process.
5. People stay active for longer
While people in the West look forward to a retirement sitting in a chair and relaxing, people in Japan don’t look forward to retirement at all! There are nearly 5,000,000 people in Japan who are over the age of 65 and still working. Even if they do retire, they still stay very active and remain fully involved in the community.
6. They eat more fish, than they do red meat
In Japan, people eat far more fish than they do red meat, and that means that they are getting far more healthy fish oils, than people in west consume. It also means that they are eating far less of the bad fats that red meat contains that contribute to high cholesterol and, ultimately, heart disease.
7. They eat very little dairy food
Another common cause of high cholesterol is milk, cheese and other dairy products, but the people of Japan consume very little dairy products in their diet, if any at all. Most Japanese people are actually lactose intolerant, so they don’t drink any milk, nor eat any cheese at all.
8. They eat lots of vegetables
Vegetables form a large part of any meal in Japan, so Japanese people take on board a lot more antioxidants and phytochemicals, than people who eat a Western diet do. While many people in the West struggle to eat their five a day portions of fruit and vegetables, people in Japan generally eat more than ten a day, without even thinking about it.
9. They enjoy themselves more
Japanese people simply seem to enjoy their lives more. They do work hard, but they are better able to cope with stress and they enjoy a good, healthy, communal life all their lives. According to one study, over 60% of Japanese elderly people participate in community activities and over 80% still feel that they have a purpose in life and a part to play.
10. They are very health conscious
Another reason that is often given to explain the longevity of the Japanese people is their attitude to healthcare and preventative medicine. Unlike most people in other countries, they don’t wait until they think something is wrong before they visit a doctor, they get regular check-ups at least once a year. Full medical check-ups are a matter of routine in all schools and in most companies. The Japanese also have one of the best universal healthcare systems in the world.
Stay happy and healthy!