168 The Okinawans (2)

The largest group of long-lived, healthy people lives on the island of Okinawa. Since these people live to be over 100 we might ask what the disease rate is among the elders. Incredibly, it seems that the Okinawans have far fewer instances of illness (of any sort) than Western countries including the United States. What is happening to make such a huge difference? Is it genes? Is it the climate? Is it culture? Is it good fortune?


One thing that is notable is that an adult male eats about 1,900 calories a day; in the United States (where we are much less active) the average man consumes 2,650 calories a day. That’s a huge difference so we might want to look at their diet and compare it to ours.


The Okinawans eat seven servings of vegetables and seven servings of whole grains each day. They eat two servings of soy but this is soy that is processed very little… like tofu, tempeh or edamame.  They are not eating soy burgers and soy cheese and soy sausage. They eat a lot less meat, dairy and fruit than Americans too.  Here is a chart that gives us a quick comparison of the diets… and remember… we are not even talking about all the sugar, corn syrup and added fat (margarine, hydrogenated oils or trans fats) that is consumed in American and other Western nations.




Older Okinawans


29 %

3 %

Dairy products

23 %

2 %


20 %

6 %


16 %

34 %


11 %

32 %

Soy foods

0.5 %

12 %


0.5 %

11 %


Also, they eat more grains and those grains are mostly whole, unrefined grains which are very different from white flour. White flour has a tremendous amount of nutrients lost through the refining process and 98% of wheat eaten in our country is in the form of white flour. Ohhh my! But… the flour is “enriched”!!!  Well… “enriching” the flour chemically replaces 5 of the nutrients. Hmmm… somehow I’m not impressed.


That’s really intriguing information. We could learn a lot from these centenarians.


Choose Well

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