Journalist Dan Buettnercoined the term “Blue Zones”. Along with the National Geographic Society, he identified five“blue zones” in the world – areas where people lead much longer and healthier lives than in the rest of the world. The people in these zones exhibit far lesser incidence of chronic diseases and many of them live till 90 to 100.
Okianawa islands in japan is one of these famed blue zones where residents have a distinctive lifestyle and diet. Many Okinawa residents lead afull life of working, socialising and playing till their 90s. The dietary principles that they follow are characterised by a wide variety:
1. Like other blue zones, the diet is dominated by grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts and limits the quantity of dairy fat, meat, and sugar
2. Okinawans will fill only 80% of their stomach – just like the Ayurvedic recommendations in India. This concept is called Hara Hachi Bu. The way to achieve this is to reduce portion sizes or skip one part of the meal. The average Okinawan diet has also been found to be about 100 to 200 calories lesser than the average Japanese diet
3. They also eat a wide variety of vegetables and spices. One study put the number of items the Okinawans eat at more than 200
4. They mostly eat fish and meat is limited to only four or five times a month
5. The diet has a lot of grains and the principal component is rice
6. They eat very little sugar, one–third of what the Japanese take. They also eat only half the salt an average Japanese consumes
The Okinawa diet, however, will not work in isolation. The other essential parts of the Okinawa way must also be inculcated. This includes regular exercise and an integrated community life.
Also check out Dan Buettner’s book: The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People