What if we told you about a way you can lead an incredibly healthy lifestyle, lose weight, and live longer? We’re guessing you’d be eager to hear every single detail. That’s why we’re here today to fill you in on the Okinawa diet and how it can extend your life.

Eat This, Not That! spoke with Karin Evans, PhD, RD, CHES, from Top Nutrition Coaching, who is a registered dietitian specializing in eating disorders, body image, women’s health, and general health and wellness, who breaks down the Okinawa diet and its benefits. “Chronic diseases are the leading cause of mortality among individuals in the U.S.,” explains Evans. “Significant research indicates that nutrition can play a role in the prevention of these chronic disease. More specifically, the nutritional components and energy content of certain eating patterns have been correlated with health and longevity.”

For these reasons and more, it’s important to stick with a nutritious diet and lifestyle that works for you, and the Okinawa diet is an excellent choice. Keep reading to learn more, and when you’re finished, be sure to check out The #1 Best Type of Exercise for Weight Loss.

Okinawans are known for their longevity.

happy Japanese couple making healthy meal at home

If you’ve heard of the Blue Zones, you’re likely familiar with Okinawa, Japan. According to the official Blue Zones website, the Okinawans are known for leading long, healthy lives. They experience fewer cases of heart disease, cancer, and dementia compared to Americans, and females in Okinawa actually live longer lives than any other women in the world.

You are what you eat, and that’s where the Okinawa diet comes into play. “The Okinawa diet, or the eating pattern espoused by individuals of Okinawa, Japan has been associated with health and longevity with many Okinawans living to 100 years of age and older,” explains Evans. “Okinawa, Japan has become associated with other ‘Blue Zone’ areas of the world, touted as having the individuals with the least preponderance of chronic disease and the greatest longevity. While several factors are implicated in these results, diet is demonstrated as playing a role.”

What is the Okinawa diet all about?

Multicolored fresh fruits and vegetables

The Okinawa diet is all about consuming high-fiber veggies and lean protein. Items like seaweed, root vegetables, soybean-based foods, and yellow and green veggies make this eating regimen similar to a vegetarian diet. In fact, 90% of the traditional Okinawa diet is whole plant foods. They get their protein from less than 1% of each of the following: local coastal fish, meat, and dairy and eggs. The Okinawa diet limits saturated fats and added sugars as well.

Another interesting concept the Okinawans follow is called Hara Hachi Bu, which means that once they’re 80% full, they simply stop eating. In addition, according to the Blue Zones website, the Okinawa diet is antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory.

How can the Okinawa diet help you live longer?

fresh fish healthy diet

The Okinawa diet contains the nutritional foundation associated with improved health and longevity, according to science. Specifically, this diet shines a spotlight on high-fiber foods, fewer carbs, plant-based proteins, and lean animal proteins in moderation.

“The foods within this profile are lower in saturated fats and higher in unsaturated fats, shown to be cardioprotective,” Evans tells us. “These foods are also higher in anti-inflammatory factors, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. With less inflammation and disruption in oxidative stress, healthy aging is promoted.”

Alexa Mellardo

Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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