Genetics will always be considered in the analysis involving the functioning of the human body especially in the case of the Okinawan longevity which involved many generations. As for lifestyle, there are those who pointed out that lifestyle could be a factor (Loue, Sajatovic, 2007, p. 200). “Having a rich social network and spiritual life also seem to be keys to living longer (Loue, Sajatovic, 2007, p. 200). ” Diet as a major reason for Okinawan Longevity
Diet investigation in Okinawa reveals that they adhere to the most basic belief: the resulting healthy life when immersed in a diet loaded with vegetables and fruits and minimal meat and poultry. “Studies of the Okinawan diet reveal emphasis on the consumption of dark green vegetables, sweet potatoes, bean sprouts, seaweed, onions and green peppers. By contrast, meat, poultry and dairy account for just 3 percent of their overall food consumption (Clement, 2007, p. 102). ” The field or science of nutrition believes that the Okinawan longevity can be explained through the diet of this particular group of people.
Grosvenor and Smolin (2009) explained that Okinawans live longer and age healthier compared to old people from other places because of the impact of what and how they eat to their body, citing calorie restriction. This is typical among Okinawans as the main explanation, diet-based, regarding the Okinawan longevity (Grosvenor, Smolin, 2009, p. 423). With calorie restriction, the body takes in calorie levels sufficient to make the body function normally. Okinawans take in just enough calories and are not excessive calorie eaters. Furthermore, they expend this calorie because of work, particularly farming.
The diet of fish and vegetables make the people healthier and thus live longer, aging minus the typical health problems attributed to old people in other parts of the world. The role of calorie restriction has been proven in many experiments (Grosvenor, Smolin, 2009, p. 423). “Insects, worms, mice and other rodents that are fed a calorie-restricted diet live longer – as much as 50% longer – than animals that eat more calories (Grosvenor, Smolin, 2009, p. 423). ” Other literature point to other aspects of diet which they believe also holds the key to explaining the Okinawan longevity phenomenon.
In the magazine Look Japan, an article points to the low salt (Look Japan, 2009, p. 49) diet of Okinawan people which they believe is the reason why they have such longevity and that old people are not riddled with different health problems during old age. This aspect of salt content in the food intake of Okinawans was something that other works and research efforts looked into. As Poon and Perls (2007) noted, “most research results focus on the so-called secret of longevity (Poon, Perls, 2007, p. 184).
” “An interesting nutritional perspective comes from a project that is focused on consumption of salt (Poon, Perls, 2007, p. 184). ” The inspection of nutrition and diet cannot be complete without the consideration of and analysis of cuisine. In examining the health of people based on what they consume, it is important to look not just on what they eat, but also how they prepare what they eat, taking the investigation inside kitchens and looking at the typical Okinawa cuisine and its role in the Okinawan longevity.
Williams (2006), in the book he wrote, explained that Okinawan longevity is because of diet resulting from the cuisine and culinary style in that area (Williams, 2006, p. 49). “The secret for long life is often attributed to Okinawa’s unique cuisine, and there has been a recent surge of studies and media coverage about the relationship between longevity and Okinawan food (Williams, 2006, p. 49).
” Strengthening and galvanizing the idea that the secret to Okinawan longevity is diet is the fact that younger Okinawans that are exposed to western style diet and eating habits show indications that they are not as healthy getting old compared to older generations (Dalton, 2008, p. 90). “In Okinawa the younger generation, who live on a predominantly Western diet, are beginning to suffer from the diseases usually associated with old age. This tends to show that our diet is an important aspect in the longevity debate (Dalton, 2008, p. 90). “