People over the years could never figure the secret of long life. What is it that gives you the liberty to live out of the average human life. What is it that makes the life of an individual to live long enough to witness, not one not two but in some cases even three centuries? Yes, there are people in this world who were born in the late 1800s and lived till early 2000s. And these people come from a small but not weak, rather a powerful and super intelligent country. Yes, we are talking about Japan.
The advancing world has many things to offer to the man-kind, including technology, comfort, newer facilities, better lifestyle, ease of access to everything and whatnot. However, all of this comes at a cost. With the growing industries and urbanization, there comes a problem like lack of resources, pollution, depleting fossil fuels and much more. The contamination of the natural environment has compelled human civilization to lead an unhealthy life. But ‘How do you live and lead a healthy life?’ is the question that makes every one of us scratch heads. Well, don’t worry; we’ve got the answers from the nation who is the topper on the leader boards when it comes to ‘Highest Life Expectancy’.
Years after years, Japan has topped the international league tables for life expectancy. Japan currently has a total population of 12.68 crore individuals, of which more than 60,000 people are living beyond the age of 100 years which the longest living person at 115 years of age. Japan ranks number 1 in both, highest life expectancy men & women leaderboards.
As per a report by Wikipedia, The average life expectancy in Japan is 83.7 years. The United Kingdom stands at 20th position with 81.2 years, China at 53rd rank with 76.1 years of expectancy in spite of being the country with the highest population in the world. Further, the USA at 31st with 79.3 years, while Russia at 110th with 73.7 & India at 125th with only 68.3 years as average life expectancy.
As per a study conducted by ‘Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’, average Japanese women can expect to live to the age of 86, five years more than their counterparts in the USA. Also, average Japanese men can expect to live to 80 — four years more than American men.
So what is the secret?
Well, Japanese people seem to have understood that healthy food is the way to a healthy life. As per a study published in the spring of 2016, it was concluded that diet was a major factor behind the country’s high life expectancy figures. The food that we eat needs to be healthy and nutritious. Japan is a country which focuses on healthy food habits.
Further, the National Centre for Global Health and Medicine situated in Tokyo conducted research where they tracked the eating habits and well-being of nearly 80,000 men and women. The study was conducted over 15 years of the course.
The study concluded with the view that people who had closely followed food and dietary guidelines published by the Japanese government in 2005 had better health and well-being than their peers who loosely or not at all followed the guidelines. So, it’s clear, Japanese food and dietary guidelines published in 2005 is the secret to a better, healthier and happier life.
Here is the Secret to Japanese People’s Long Life Expectancy
The 2005 Japanese guidelines for Food & Dietary recommended the number of “servings per day” of different food types. The details are as follows:
5-7 servings of grain-based foods. This includes rice, pasta, noodles, bread, etc.
5-6 servings of vegetables. It can be in the form of boiled vegetables, with or without gravy/spices as well as in the form of salad.
3-5 servings of meat and fish. This helps in fulfilling the protein requirement of the body.
2 servings of fruit. You can have some fruits at the time of breakfast and then once again as an evening snack, between lunch & dinner.
2 servings of milk and dairy products. Try to take warm milk or curd daily.
Eating snacks, fast food, sweets and drinking alcohol were advised in moderation and not at all regularly. Consumption should also be in a limited manner.
Researchers from the National Centre for Global Health and Medicine, Tokyo found that a low saturated fat diet with few processed foods, but high in carbohydrates is the reason behind the healthy style.
Researchers said, “Our findings concluded that balanced consumption of energy, grains, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, eggs, soy products, dairy products, confectioneries, and alcoholic beverages can contribute to longevity by decreasing the risk of death, predominantly from cardiovascular disease, in the Japanese population.”
Contradiction with the theory
While the researchers believe that the 100% credit for a long life goes to a promptly followed healthy dietary, the older medical students proposed other reasons for the long life-span of Japanese men and women.
Japan’s medical journal ‘The Lancet’ published some papers which credited the Japanese government’s policies from the 1950s & 1960s which aimed at investing in public health. The policies played a vital role in creating a health- and hygiene-conscious culture in the country.
The programmes comprehended childhood vaccination programmes, promoting reduced use of salt in food, introduced universal health insurance and use of medication to reduce blood pressure.
Apart from this, the paper stated that lifestyle that Japan’s older population enjoys is credible for a healthier life. People in Japan, after retirement stays active many older people continue working by choice rather than economic necessity.
Further, Kagoshima Prefecture and the Amami Islands in Japan are the areas where the life expectancy is even higher than the national average. As per a study conducted in these areas, it was found that ‘living with purpose’ is also a major factor for being alive longer. The area’s elderly residents were found to be more involved in the local community and they spent more time around younger family members.
So if we conclude, the key to longer life expectancy in Japan is Good diet, regular exercise and a healthy attitude to life, community and family, a combination of all these factors will give you a healthy, long & happy life than many people in the world.
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