Do you want to live for 100 years? Your answer is probably, “Yes, if I’m healthy.” No one wants to be ill or suffer from pain, particularly in our old age.
According to BBC, one city in the US is making a firm commitment to helping its residents live long and healthy for 100 years. And it is Naples in Florida, California.
The city is making healthy living an ‘unavoidable’ choice for its residents. They are encouraging schools to let children exercise before lessons. Also the city is redesigning their old roads, making it easy for people to cycle and walk. Supermarkets are being urged to offer fresh food, while restaurants offer healthier menu.
Naples are implementing all these changes by learning lessons from parts of the world where people live the longest. The city is emulating lifestyle of five cities where high numbers of residents live the longest. And yes, you guessed it right, Okinawa in Japan was selected as one of them.
Okinawa – One of the best examples of healthy lifestyle
Okinawa is made up with more than 150 islands in the East China Sea between Taiwan and Japan’s mainland. The population of 138,431, and most of its residents are free from Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, depression and cancer.
Sure, Okinawa’s warm climate helps, but what else are the secrets of such happy longevity? Research shows that it is the well-balanced Okinawan lifestyle that helps live healthy and for a long time. Here is the list of 10 lifestyle choices that can be implemented by our viewers.
- Locally Grown Organic Vegetables
- Meals are based on vegetables (80%), seafood (20%) and sometimes pork-based dishes.
- Large intake of “Goya” or bitter gourd
- Hara Hachibunme – eat till you are 80% full
- Daily exercise – Taichi, Okinawan Kenpo, dance, yoga etc.
- “She’ll be right” stress-free attitude
- Involvement in local community
- Permanent search for Ikigai – reason for living or raison d’etre (in Okinawa, retirement is not a cherished concept
- Okinawan music – dance, shamisen Japanese guitar
- Local medicine and cures preferred – Japanese kampo or Japan’s traditional herbal medicine such as ukon actively taken
Where to start your Okinawan lifestyle?
Many people in Okinawa have their own garden, where they grow their own vegetables. They are also surrounded by the ocean, so seafood is abundant. If you are not so lucky environmentally, you could try some of the items below:
- Goya tea – it is a bitter gourd based tea made up with 11 types of ingredients
- Mozuku soup – Made with mozuku from Okinawa Prefecture. Great afternoon snack. Yuzu flavour and based on katsuo stock.
- Okinawan Brown Sugar – Made with sugarcane and full of zinc, magnesium, calcium, riboflavin and folic acid
- Ukon herbal supplement – perfect hangover cure based on ukon or turmeric (a type of ginger)
Visit Okinawa and be inspired
The city of Naples actually visited Okinawa and spent some time to learn about their lifestyle. Perhaps you can do the same! There are many airlines flying to Okinawa from Tokyo and Osaka.
Remember, though. Okinawa is the mainland, but it is in face made up with many islands. If you’d like to see more traditional lifestyle, it’s best to visit smaller islands. Takaski’s favorites are Miyako and Ishigaki. Most major airlines fly to both islands directly from Tokyo, though they are quite pricey. If you have a limited budget, ANA’s budget airline Vanila Air flies to Ishigaki directly.
Interested in Okinawan lifestyle? Want to visit Okinawa or know more about Okinawan food? Write to us anytime and we’ll try to give you some pointers.