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A Japanese Diet May Hold The Key For Anti-Aging
When it comes to living the longest, the citizens of Japan hold the record across the globe. In fact, the Japanese are some of the longest-living people on the planet. What is the secret to their success? Many believe it is tied into their diet. In fact, a recent scientific survey has showed that since the introduction of their current dietary standards, the Japanese have lived up to 15 times longer than those in other countries. The correlation between diet and mortality seems to have a strong link, at least as far as the Japanese are concerned.
The study, published in 2015, showed that citizens who adhered to the new dietary guidelines had an improved longevity and better overall health when compared to those who ignored the guidelines altogether.
The Japanese Diet
The Japanese Dietary Suggestions were altered to include an emphasis on moderation and a balanced diet. The use of a non-traditional food pyramid was implemented to include equal portions of grains, fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy. By keeping portions modest but equal, a person could enjoy a diet rich in nutrients and live longer. These findings also show that women tend to live longer than men.
Let’s discuss the dietary guidelines with a little more detail so you can understand all the implications. The guidelines were released over 15 years ago by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. The food pyramid was inverted into an upside down triangle. This was the first major change to the pyramid and structure of dietary guidelines, even rivaling those in the Western world. At the wider top of the pyramid, what used to be the base, you can find breads and grains. This also includes pasta and rice, which is a staple in Japan. Underneath you get your vegetables followed closely by fish, then other proteins including red meat and eggs. At the very bottom are dairy and fruit, this is due to the high calories and sugar found in these items.
The key to it all is moderation with smaller portions than the traditional dietary guidelines, but water can be consumed as much as you want. You can also drink tea if you so desire, in any quantity. The new guidelines also phase out processed foods and emphasize an active lifestyle to contribute to overall health.
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Links Between Diet and Longevity
When it came to serious diseases like cancer, heart disease and stroke, the link between a healthy diet wasn’t as clear cut as other factors. Of course, a diet that took a healthy approach had its benefits. For those who kept themselves in good physical shape, the new dietary standards seemed to really produce the most results, but if someone already had poor habits, the new changes had less of an effect. More research is needed to examine all the variables that impact the dietary guidelines and their effectiveness at maintaining a healthy population.
At the very least, the take away is that all things should be consumed in moderation with an emphasis on natural, organic foods. Sugars should be avoided and water should be consumed regularly. In doing so, health can be improved and terminal diseases can be prevented altogether.
Japan as an Example for All of Us
When it comes to a healthy diet, Japan’s guidelines can be a great model for the rest of the world. For the most part, consumption of meats, such as fish versus beef, did not make as much of a difference as one would have thought, but the main impact seemed to come from portion size. With an emphasis on equal but small portions, the Japanese have tapped into a way to live longer but still eat foods they enjoy.
The real take away from this study and the dietary guidelines of Japan is that we need to eat less and move more. When we combine healthy foods in modest portions, then add an active lifestyle into the mix, we reduce the likelihood of heart conditions and other serious ailments.
The good news is that are health can be changed by making changes to our lifestyles. We don’t have to be burdened by our genetics when it comes to our health. Our family histories do not have to be a death sentence either, we can prevent disease by living modestly. As Americans, there is a lot we can take away from the Japanese way of life and dietary guidelines and looking to Japan may be a great alternative for preventing disease in the US, in the future.