Okinawa: Longevity Secrets Unlocked

By Amanda Roland

Okinawa, a chain of 160 islands located off Japan’s mainland, is known for having the greatest concentration of centenarians (those living to at least 100 and beyond). CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported that the elders in Okinawa are less likely to have dementia, heart disease and certain cancers than their U.S. counterparts In addition they have stronger bones compared to those the same age in the U.S. So, what is their secret? Are the blue waters surrounding Okinawa the true fountain of youth? Not exactly but close!

According to those living in Okinawa, it has to do with their ikiga, or reason for being, or, simply put, their sense of purpose in life. As they age, one’s purpose grows, as they get older. This drives them through their older years and allows them to stay connected and be active. In addition, their diet, which is led by a concept, called “hara hachi bu” helps them maintain a vibrant healthy life. This concept refers to eating until you are almost full, but not totally full. They believe that you should stop eating while you are still hungry. This, partnered with a diet rich in spices, fruits and vegetables and a low caloric intake in addition to living a life full of purpose could be the answer to their longevity.