Here are the features of the safe and proven Okinawa diet from the island of Okinawa. The Okinawan Diet includes the consumption of plant-based food, tofu, fish, and vegetables and sea vegetables. This diet program also entails regular participation in sports and activities such as gardening as a means to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle.
Okinawa is an island located south of mainland Japan. It was the site of the largest U.S. military amphibious operation during the Second World War.
Today it is known as the source of the ‘Okinawa Diet’ — a simple yet effective weight loss program.
Understand most important thing:
the Okinawa diet is more of an eating style rather than a diet plan.
The foods of indigenous Okinawans is nutrient-rich and low in calories.
The Okinawa Diet is about eating plenty of plant-based food which include large quantities of tofu and locally grown vegetables. This plan also involves consuming different varieties of fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, seaweed, and other organic products high in protein, rich in calcium, and low in fat.
Okinawans generally do not eat much meat, dairy, grains or sugar based sweets.
There are three key properties of the Okinawa diet.
First: It’s primarily plant-based. Okinawans view meat as a condiment rather than as the main course.
The daily diet is full of vegetables-roots, such as sweet potatoes, and yellow and green vegetables like pumpkin, bell peppers, bitter melon, and seaweed. This diet is high in carotenoids which helps lower inflammation and improve immune functions.
The eating plan is rounded out with tofu and mushrooms. Rice is part of the diet, but in smaller quantities than a traditional Japanese diet, preferring yellow or purple sweet potatoes as a source of carbs.
The second main factor is the 80/20 rule.
The Okinawan people eat until they’re satiated, but not completely full = the 80 percent.
Think of it as eating dinner and saving room for dessert, but then you skip dessert.
The third key is the philosophy best encapsulated in the phrase, “food as tonic, food as medicine.”
Islanders have been strongly influenced by the food culture of China, Korea, and Mainland Japan, all which emphasized the medicinal and therapeutic value of foods.
In many Okinawan homes, the mother (or the person) who prepares the food usually serves the meal by saying,
“Please eat this. This food is good for healing this or that illness. Eating is good for you.”
After the meal, the people who ate the food would say, “Kusuinatan!”
The word “kusuinatan” is an Okinawan term which means,
“The food is good.
My body feels good.
Food is like medicine.”
A comparison of nutrients shows the traditional Okinawan diet is
low in fat intake, particularly saturated fat, and
high in carbohydrate intake, with a very high intake of antioxidant-rich yet calorie-poor orange-yellow root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, and green leafy vegetables.
Deeper analyses of individual components of the Okinawan diet reveal many of the traditional foods consumed on a regular basis could be labeled “functional foods” and are currently being explored for their potential health-enhancing properties.
It is not unusual to find Okinawans who are at least 100 years old. The island has been recognized as having the most number of centenarians in the entire world.
Unfortunately, as native Okinawan people switch to more processed and industrialized food intake,
there has been an increase in the amount of chronic, degenerative diseases including heart disease and cerebrovascular disease.1.
Food + Purpose = Well-Being
Aside from eating healthy food, Okinawans lead very active lifestyles. Island residents both young and old, practice martial arts, engage in folk dancing, and tend their own gardens.
By being active, they are able to improve their cardiovascular health.
Many centenarians in Okinawa engage in tai chi and traditional dancing called ‘rojin odori’ because
they view these activities as sources of ‘ikigai’ or a sense of purpose.
The senior citizens of Okinawa maintain personal care through individual exercise while also remaining physically active in their community.
People who are serious and committed to losing weight should study the benefits of the Okinawan Diet as well as the macrobiotic diet program.
While living up to 100 may not be an attainable goal for many Americans,
it is never too late to change unhealthy eating habits.
Like Okinawans, many Americans today need to choose healthy, active living which entails eating the right food in the right amounts; and by being passionate about an art, activity or event which can provide a sense of purpose in life.
1. Miyagi S, Iwama N, Kawabata T, Hasegawa K. (2003). Longevity and diet in Okinawa, Japan: the past, present and future. Asia Pac J Public Health. 2003;15 Suppl: S3-9. DOI: 10.1177/101053950301500S03. Accessed 5/1/20 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18924533.
2. Willcox, Donald & Willcox, Bradley & Todoriki, Hidemi & Suzuki, Makoto. (2009). The Okinawan Diet: Health Implications of a Low-Calorie, Nutrient-Dense, Antioxidant-Rich Dietary Pattern Low in Glycemic Load. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 28 Suppl. 500S-516S. DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2009.10718117. Accessed 5/1/20 from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51442644_The_Okinawan_Diet_Health_Implications_of_a_Low-Calorie_Nutrient-Dense_Antioxidant-Rich_Dietary_Pattern_Low_in_Glycemic_Load.