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All about the Okinawa diet

The Okinawa diet is named after a small island off the coast of Japan, a place that has for years been home to the largest number of centenarians in the world. The longevity of the inhabitants of the island of Okinawa is largely linked to their way of life and their diet. What is the Okinawa diet? How is it beneficial for health? To discover all the secrets of the traditional diet of the inhabitants of the island of Okinawa, continue reading this article without further delay.

Definition: what is the Okinawa diet?

This is a diet inspired by the diet of the inhabitants of the island of Okinawa, Japan. The island of Okinawa, baptized “island of longevity”, is particularly famous for being a territory which has the longest life expectancy on the planet. There, life expectancy is 78 years for men and 86 years for women. Moreover, it is on the island of Okinawa that the greater number of centenarians, with 400 centenarians for 1.3 million inhabitants. That is, 34 centenarians per 100,000 inhabitants.

Okinawans are certainly living longer, but above all, they are aging in healthy. They owe their rock-solid longevity to their way of life healthy as well as to their feed. The Okinawa diet is a diet with low calorie intake, rich in fruits and vegetables and low in meat, saturated fatty acids, refined cereals, fatty dairy products, sugar and salt.

Vegetables including sweet potato, seaweed, seaweed, kelp, bamboo shoots, daikon radish, bitter melon, cabbage, carrot, Chinese okra, pumpkin and green papaya account for 58 to 60% of the diet of Okinawans. Cereals, such as rice, wheat or millet, are, for their part, 33% contributions. The other foods, which are proportionally less present in the diet (1 to 5%), are mostly soy-based (tofu, miso, natto and edamame). White fish, fruits and, more occasionally, pork are also part of the traditional diet of Okinawans.

dish that is part of the Okinawa diet

The golden rules of the Okinawa diet

The Okinawa diet is a diet semi-vegetarian, low in fat. They represent, moreover, less than 25% of total calories. The basic principles of the Okinawan diet are:

  • Prioritize fresh productslow in calories, rich in vitamins and minerals,
  • Stop eating before being full;
  • Promote the diversity eating;
  • Consume only small portions;
  • Eat knowing that foods have healing powers.
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The foods of the Okinawan diet are at low to medium caloric density and, above all, are rich in vitamins and minerals. Among the foods to consume at will, we find:

  • All the vegetables : in particular, vegetables rich in fiber and low in calories, such as cucumber, tomato, or eggplant;
  • Starches : sweet corn, sweet potato;
  • Fresh fruits : citrus fruits, red fruits and low-calorie fruits, such as watermelon;
  • Products based on soy : miso, natto, edamame;
  • dairy products : natural and lean yoghurts, very fresh cheese;
  • Spices: turmeric, mugwort;
  • Algae;
  • Tea.

Foods to eat with moderationthat is, less than 3 times a week, are as follows:

  • Cereals and starches : pasta, rice, semolina, potato;
  • Calorie fruits : banana, avocado;
  • Fish and seafood.

Lean meat should be consumed exceptionally. The same goes for dried fruits, legumes and oilseeds, such as walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and peanuts. As for foods to avoid, there are products processedcream, butter, cheese (except cream cheese), oil, sugar and salt.

Why adopt the Okinawa diet?

Benefits of the Okinawa Diet

Health Benefits

The Okinawan people’s diet has many health benefits. The Okinawa diet combines a mild calorie restriction (-10 to -15%) at a physical activity. Thanks to him, the body generates less metabolic waste, and therefore at the same time, less free radicals. Note that the body produces free radicals when they transform food into energy. Free radicals are often the cause of the deterioration of mitochondria, thus accelerating cellular aging.

In addition, light calorie restriction would not only reduce estrogen and insulin levels in the body, but alsoincrease the immune response. The diet of Okinawans would thus offer some protection against obesity, hormone-dependent cancers, insulin resistance and atherosclerosis.

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No food deprivation

Just like the Mediterranean diet, the Okinawa Island diet does not involve any food deprivation. It aims, above all, to adopt a healthier lifestyle and balanced. The idea being to bet mostly on plants and on the different species of fish.

Sustainable and healthy weight loss

The Okinawa diet certainly does not have the direct objective of slimming down, but it often involves weight loss. Typically, weight loss occurs over long termand wants to be sustainable. The Okinawa Island diet is thus a good way to lose weight and keep it off, since it is based on a healthy diet and regular physical activity.

The disadvantages of the Okinawa diet

Difficulty not eating until full

Okinawans have always been accustomed to not eating until they are full. So they stop eating before they are no longer hungry. In the West, stopping the meal before satiety is not not some very common thing. We are, indeed, accustomed to not lack food and, therefore, to eat until we are sated. This is why, moreover, this aspect of the Okinawa diet can be difficult to respect for many of us.

nori seaweed and soy sauce

Okinawa diet: is it dangerous for your health?

The Okinawa diet is not, in itself, dangerous for health. However, a number of risks remain!

The consumption of seaweed can in particular be not recommended, in case of thyroid dysfunction, heart disease, kidney failure, treatment with a drug containing iodine or lithium, in pregnant or breastfeeding women without medical advice. Caution should also be exercised in children, in the absence of sufficient data to measure the risk incurred.

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Furthermore, it is worth remembering that any low-calorie diet can expose you to hypoglycemic discomfortif the caloric restriction is too great in relation to the physical effort provided.

Finally, what to remember?

The Okinawa diet is in no way a miracle, slimming or restrictive diet. The Okinawa diet is, in fact, more like a way of life in its own right than a simple diet.

Take care of yourself;