The Okinawa diet is a nutrient-rich,low calorie diet ,from the indigenous people of the Ry?ky? Islands. In addition, a commercially promoted weigth loss diet (which bears the same name) has also been made based on this standard diet of the Islanders.

The Japanese have long been admired for their good health and greatest longevity, but the Okinawans have even the healthiest Japanese beat. Exercise and self-sufficiency are the norm for these 100 year old and over 100 year old Okinawans and they show no signs of slowing down.

The major concept behind the Okinawa Diet healthy weight management philosophy is the principle of caloric density. Simply put–it’s the amount of calories per gram of food. Eat more food with a lower caloric density and less food with a higher caloric density. The net result is eating more food with fewer calories.

We all have to eat a certain amount of food to feel comfortably “full”–usually between two and three pounds a day. If we eat less than that we tend to feel those gnawing hunger pains often associated with dieting. So cutting back too much on the amount of food we eat is the wrong approach to weight loss. If you feel hungry all the time, sooner or later your willpower will crumble; then there goes the diet, and back come the lost pounds.

Eat Like an Okinawan

What’s most interesting about them is that they have the longest disability-free life expectancy in the world. Okinawa boasts the highest percentage of centenarians anywhere. Heart disease rates are low: 80% fewer heart attacks than Americans, and Okinawans who have heart attacks are more likely to survive. Breast and prostate cancer are so rare as to be unheard of among the older population. Obesity is equally rare. Smoking, the reader is led to conclude, is also rare among older Okinawans, though the book cites no statistics.

The Okinawa way isn’t a magic diet or exercise plan – it’s a lifestyle. There’s nothing complicated about it. Okinawa’s enjoy simple lives and they eat from the earth. That’s it. No plan, no time limit, no weighing, no beginning and no end. Okinawa’s have remarkably clean arteries and low cholesterol. Heart disease, breast cancer and prestate cancer are rare. This can be attributed to the Okinawans mostly plant based diet that includes fish and soy foods with a variety of vegetables and a moderate amounts of good fats. They consume locally grown vegetables and large quantities of tofu (high protein, low-fat, calcium, vitiman E) and seaweed (higher in vitamin and minerals than land vegetables). In addition, they also enjoy regular physical activity, a low-stress lifestyle, as well as strong community and social support. They also take pride in their health and maintaining their independence.

Okinawa Hints and Tips

Lower stress by taking time out each day. Listen to soothing music, have a relaxing bath, use relaxing oils like lavender and chill out for at least 30 minutes every day.

Drink at least 6 glasses of water per day. You will need to keep weight down, so drinking water before meals will help fill you up and keep portions down.

Keep salt levels low. Check labels to make sure sodium levels are low and try to stop adding salt to food whilst cooking and at the table. Okinawa residents consume only 3 teaspoons of salt per day.

Sources: Associated Content, Okinawa Diet

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