Japan has the oldest life expectancy in the world; which means that the people in Japan live a long time. Men live to 79 years old and women live to 86 years old. In a recent study conducted by the World Health Organization, Japanese women came in first with a life expectancy of 87.0 years. So, what is the secret of the Japanese lifespan??
In December 2013, the traditional Japanese cuisine, ‘Washoku’ was on the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
It is not genetics that keeps them alive because, during the World War, Japan had the lowest expectancy. So, what are the factors that cause the Japanese to live so long? What could be the secret of the Japanese lifespan??
THE JAPANESE DIET
“Itadakimasu”- Bon appétit
Japanese eat a lot of rice, fish, and vegetables in this same order. Also, because of their love for fermented seaweed and soy, the Japanese have no lack of vitamins and other necessary phytochemicals. The UN says that the Japanese consume about 100,000 tons of seaweed per year.
Japanese traditional meal includes sushi, tempura, a bowl of rice, soup, pickles, and tea.
To make their food healthy, the Japanese cook the food using water, not oil (or very little). They use different cooking methods like pan-grilling, steaming, slow cooking, stir-frying and fermenting.
Soups are a crucial part of their diet.
“Koicha, me no doku, ki no kusuri”- thick tea, poison for eyes, medicine for spirit
Japanese enjoy drinking tea, it is an integral part of their lifestyle. The drinking culture is very friendly and the Japanese Matcha Tea is the most popular. It has high nutritional properties and is rich in anti-oxidants. Matcha tea is made using specially grown and processed green leaves. It is also valued highly for its sharp bite, lingering taste and chlorophyll, and fiber contents.
Whether or not lactose intolerant, the Japanese don’t consume dairy products or bread.
“Hara Hachi bu”- eat until you are 80% full
A traditional part of the Japanese cuisine is ‘Portion Control’. The practice of eating from a small plate or bowl, the use of chopsticks, light garnishing, serving each item on its own dish, all are considered as eating etiquettes.
“Genki ippai”- brimming with health, full of vitality
Japan has on-the-air exercise routines, called ‘Rajio taiso’ that area completed in massive groups every morning. There are several degrees of difficulty or different people. This has resulted in an increase in levels of athleticism, alertness, and energy along with better focus at school and workplace. Also, part of daily Japanese life is commuting- heading to work, standing in the train, walking to work from the station. Cars are considered a luxury so people prefer to use public transport. Even Japanese lavatories involve squatting, which is healthier for bowels.
“Pikapika hikaru”- sparkling or glittering clean
The Japanese are obsessed with cleanliness. Their cultural methods are largely based on the centuries-old traditions of ‘Shintoism’, a large part of which is related to purification.
Japan has had a mandatory healthcare system that gobbles up 8% of the GDP. The average Japanese person visits their doctor over a dozen times a year for check-ups. Schools and companies demand a yearly medical checkup of all the students and employees. Also, after 30 years of age, it is government policy to get a full body checkup.
In addition to walking everywhere, the Japanese people have the custom to eat out with friends. Socializing outside with friends and family is a regular occurrence. Social coherence and friendships are important for emotional health.
So, you can see the various reasons possible for their lifespan. Do you have any theories about the secret of the Japanese lifespan?? Share your views in the comment section.
ps- want to know more about Japenese culture or Japan, check out this link: https://www.swedishnomad.com/interesting-facts-about-japan/