- Blue Zones including the Okinawans live longer and healthier than most people, according to a New York best-selling author who teamed up with National Geographic in the research of people who live the longest.
- The Blue Zones include Okinawa (Japan), Sardinia (Italy), Nicoya (Costa Rica), Ikaria (Greece), and Loma Linda (California).
- Okinawans are among the longest-living people in the world because of certain factors such as a healthy lifestyle, genetics, a positive outlook in life, healthy eating, and a lower risk of diseases.
National Geographic together with New York Times bestselling author Dan Buettner and the National Geographic Fellow identified the people in Blue Zones including the Okinawans in Japan as people who live healthier, longer, and happy lives in 2004.
The five places included in the Blue Zones are Okinawa (Japan), Sardinia Island (Italy), Loma Linda (California), Ikaria (Greece), and Nicoya Peninsula (Greece).
People living in the Blue Zones have a similar lifestyle, according to the research of Buettner and his colleagues. Among these people are the Okinawans in Japan. So, why are Okinawans live longer than others?
Here are some factors and results of the studies why Okinawans are among the longest-living people in the world. This study was participated by over 800 Okinawa centenarians—people who live 100 years or more.
The siblings of Okinawan centenarians were found to live longer and healthy lives too. This shows that the genetic makeup of the Okinawans aids in averting diseases such as autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease, among others. Also, it prevents inflammation. On the other hand, when the Okinawans live in other places, they usually lost their longevity.
The longevity of the Okinawans is linked to their healthy diet.
Okinawans consume many fruits and vegetables. They also eat lots of fiber and healthy fats. It is known that the Okinawan diet includes soy such as miso soup and tofu. Hence, their healthy diet reduces the risk of acquiring diseases like heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer.
Most Okinawans are gardeners and walkers. They have a high level of physical activity. Their bodies are exercised because of these activities. On that account, they have less stress. Also, they have moderate alcohol consumption and do not smoke. Okinawans also have a positive outlook in life and always happy, which lessens the risk of dementia. Besides, they have a strong sense of purpose, meaning, and spirituality.
Have less free radicals
According to the study, Okinawa centenarians have low free radicals in their blood because they do not eat many calories. Hence, they have a healthy heart and less risk of diseases such as chronic illnesses and cancer.
Have healthy bones
Okinawan diet is rich in calcium. They also like sunshine and expose to Vitamin D. Besides, they are in constant motion due to their activities. With this, their bone density is greater thus leading to healthy bones.
Have more sex hormones
Because of the healthy diet and high level of physical activity of Okinawans they have more sex hormones. These include testosterone, estrogen, and DHEA. Testosterone maintains the muscle mass while estrogen prevents in developing heart disease and osteoporosis. The DHEA lessens as you age.
Have undergone natural menopause
Okinawa women undergo natural menopause. They do not utilize estrogen replacement therapy.
Hence, the effects of menopause are reduced because of their soy consumption, which contains phytoestrogens.
Having a lifestyle similar to the Okinawans can make you live a longer life. Eat a healthy diet, have a positive outlook in life, relax, and exercise can indeed heighten the mortality rate. As well, these lifestyle changes can keep young and stronger leading to quality and happy life.
Source: Very Well Health