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The Okinawa Diet

Taken from the Japanese Isles of Ryukyu, the inhabitants of which have one of the highest life expectancies in the world, the diet is taken from the lifestyles of the indigenous people living on the island and was made famous by the likelihood of living to a 100 years old. The studies into this diet began in the 1960's, when it was found that the average lifespan of the area was extending into the 100's. After many years, dieticians and nutritionists have come to conclusions that it is not just the food that is keeping the inhabitants alive for so long.

Besides the diet, there is a heavy influence of light labour and exercise, plus extensive medical care for elderly and disabled, in more recent years the Islands have even started to shift more towards a western style of dieting and old habits are starting to fade.

The Okinawa Diet by its original design is low calorie and will focus mainly of Fish, Whole Grains and Vegetables. It also incorporates some meats and dairy products however they are sparse, almost uncommon in the diet and enjoyed only sparingly with the exception of pork which is included in every day diet, with the fat boiled away. The majority of meals consist of root vegetables which are harvested on the island (Onion, carrots, radishes, cabbage).

Seaweed and Soy are staple ingredients in the diet and will also be had on most days, the seaweed for the heavy density of nutrients and minerals and Soy is used in most meals as a protein equivalent. Whole grains as mentioned previously will consist of 6 to 8 servings per day, usually rice and pastas. Portions sizes are minimal and tend to be eaten throughout the day in small quantities rather than 3 large meals per day.

Fish is a necessary part of the diet, not just for variety, it also contains high levels of omega3 and natural oils for the body. Another and more common ingredient found in the diet is Papaya; this is a good source of both Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Most likely included for agricultural purposes on the island and this could be substituted for any fruit that is high in potassium and fibre.

The strict rules of this diet have been changed over the years as cultures have evolved, though the basic principles are multiple smaller portions of healthy, clean carbohydrates with many vegetables and fruits. Use meat sparingly and find protein from Soy substitutes.

Another key note to the diet is Green Tea, which has been well established as a positive addition to any diet, the constant hydration and oxidants not only serve to settle the stomach but keep the metabolism active, it is best to drink between meals often settling any hunger pains.
As a whole the diet has no true evidence other than the results on the islands surround Japan, as western influence continues to expand through eastern countries the diet has even been changed to accommodate a larger accessibility to proteins.