The Secret Okinawa Diet Plan to Live Longer [Case Study]

First of all let me explain you what is Okinawa diet. It is described as a weight loss diet based on the eating habits of the indigenous people of the Ryukyu Islands.

Everyone may wonder how East-Asians, especially Japanese, live longer than their counterparts in other parts of the world. The indigenous Okinawa islanders, situated at the southern tip of Japan in the vast Pacific Ocean, have an interesting diet plan. People here have longest life expectancy than anywhere else on the planet!

Misao Okawa from Okawa was the oldest human alive on earth at 117 Years and 28 Days. She died just recently on 1st April, 2015. She followed this almost kept secret Okinawa Diet plan until the last day of her life. You could be the next!

Okinawa weight loss Diet

okinawa diet

The diet consists of a relatively high energy intake, and contains similar foods to the traditional Okinawa diet. The principal focus of the diet consists of knowing the food energy density of each food item.

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The proponents of this diet divide food into four categories based on caloric density. The “featherweight” foods, less than or equal to 0.8 calories per gram (3.3 kJ/g) which one can eat freely without major concern, the “lightweight” foods with a caloric density from 0.8 to 1.5 calories per gram which one should eat in moderation.

The “middleweight” foods with a caloric density from 1.5 to 3.0 calories per gram which one should eat only while carefully monitoring portion size and the “heavyweight” foods from 3 to 9 calories per gram which one should eat only sparingly

Salient features of Okinawa diet:-

Calorie restricted diet:

The diet of the Okinawa people is 20% lower in calories than an average people consume. Their diet consistently averaging no more than one calorie per gram and the average Okinawa has a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 20.

It has been widely recognised that the food consumed itself contains more free-radicals than through the external agents like bacteria, viruses, etc. Calorie restriction, therefore, thought to improve health and slow the ageing process in some animal models like rodents by limiting their dietary energy intake below daily-average needs.

Anti-oxidant rich diet:

Okinawa diet composes mainly green/orange/yellow (GOY) vegetables, fruits, roots, and tubers. These foods are rich sources of anti-oxidant vitamins like vitamin-C, vitamin-A, and flavonoid poly-phenolic compounds like ß-carotenes, luteins, xanthine, and minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc.

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Low in fat and sugar:

The Okinawa diet is low in fat and has only 25% of the sugar and 75% of the grains of the average Japanese dietary intake. Low-fat and limited sugar in the diet can definitely help prevent coronary heart diseases and stroke risk.

Vegetarian and seafood rich:

The islander’s traditional diet includes a relatively small amount of fish and somewhat more in the way of soy, low calorie vegetables like bitter melon, and other legumes. Almost no meat, eggs, or dairy products are consumed.

Fish provides omega-3 essential fatty acids like alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Soy (in the form of tofu), besides being a very good source of protein, contains health promoting compounds like soluble dietary fibre, antioxidant tannins, and plant-sterols.

Altogether, these phyto-nutrients offer protection against heart diseases, stroke, colon, and prostate cancers.

The advocates of Okinawa diet (The Okinawa Diet Plan, a book by Bradley Wilcox, MD, D. Craig Wilcox, PhD and Makoto Suzuki, MD) divide food items into four categories based up on their caloric density, as follows:

The “featherweight” foods: Food groups that provide less than or equal to 0.8 calories per gram belong to this category. Citrus fruits like orange; low calorie vegetables like spinach, cucumber, etc. One can eat freely many servings per day without major concern.

The “lightweight” foods: Food items with a caloric-density from 0.8 to 1.5 calories per gram fall in this category. Certain fruits like banana and vegetables like potato are examples in this category. One should consume these in moderation.

The “middleweight” foods: Food group having a caloric-density from 1.5 to 3.0 calories per gram, such as cereals like wheat, legume products, and lean meat included under this category. It is advised that one should eat only while carefully monitoring portion size.

The “heavyweight” foods: Food items which provide 3 to 9 calories per gram (300 to 900 calories per 100 g) belong in this category. Many oils and fats, nuts, oil seeds and red meat fall in this category, which one should eat only sparingly.

Sample Meal Plans for the Okinawa Diet

The traditional diet of the Japanese residents on the island of Okinawa may contribute to a lower risk of cancer, heart disease and all age-related diseases and may extend lifespan, reported a 2009 study published in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition.”

Okinawa typically consume 500 fewer calories per day than people following Western diets. Their meals include foods high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but low in saturated fat and low on the glycemic index.

The Okinawa diet attempts to help people alter their eating habits so that they resemble those of native Okinawans. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about developing a healthy, balanced eating plan.

  • Sample Breakfast
blueberry pancakes

blueberry pancakes

According to the authors of “The Okinawa Diet Plan,” breakfast for a person who is used to a traditional Western diet but is interested in eating more like an Okinawan native could be blueberry pancakes prepared with calcium-fortified soy milk, whole grain flour, fresh blueberries and free-range eggs high in omega-3 fatty acids.

This meal provides protein, nutrients and fiber, as well as a high amount of antioxidants. Pair the pancakes with green tea, which is a beverage that’s sugar-free and dense and has disease-preventing phytochemicals like flavonoids and catechins.

  • Sample Lunch
tofu and vegetables as lunch

tofu and vegetables as lunch

Lunch on the Okinawa diet might consist of stir-fried tofu, a steamed vegetable such as asparagus, a baked sweet potato and salad. Dark green leafy vegetables like asparagus, broccoli and boy Choy feature largely in the plan, as do brightly coloured vegetables such as native Okinawan sweet potatoes that are rich in antioxidants and Vitamin E. Seaweed, an excellent source of a variety of vitamins and minerals, is commonly cooked along with tofu or added to salads.

  • Sample Dinner
miso ramen for dinner

miso ramen for dinner

While you’re on the Okinawa diet, dinner could begin with a bowl of miso soup, a broth with seaweed-based dashi and often containing cubed tofu and vegetables. The main entry might consist of shrimp or fish steamed with vegetables and served with whole-grain noodles.

“The Guardian” writer Michael Booth reports that Okinawans typically eat at least three servings of low-fat fish each week. While their diet includes plenty of white rice, Okinawans also consume a large amount of whole grains, especially in the form of buckwheat noodles.

  • Sample Snacks
rice cake

rice cake

You won’t eat a lot of sweet snacks on the Okinawa diet. A typical day’s menu might feature a morning snack of fresh fruit, while the afternoon snack might be sticks of raw vegetables. The average Okinawan’s diet contains far less sugar than their Western counterparts.

When “The Guardian” reporter Justin McCurry interviewed two Japanese octogenarians in 2013, he found their only sweet tooth indulgence during snack time was an occasional mochi, or sweetened rice cake prepared from pounded glutinous rice.

 Indian Version of Okinawa Diet

  • Egg Curry in Okinawa style

Prep Time: 10 Mins

Cook Time: 30 Mins

Total Time: 40 Mins

  • Ingredients

Oil (for deep frying)

4 eggs

3/4 cup milk

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

3 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Directions:
  1. In a deep fryer or deep skillet, heat oil to 350 F or until hot.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk, and vanilla. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add to egg mixture; stir until dry ingredients are moistened and dough is smooth.
  4. Drop teaspoonful’s of dough into the hot oil; fry until golden brown and doughnuts rise to the surface.
  5. Drain on paper towel lined plates and serve hot, but they are also good cooled down, you can buy them either way there on Okinawa!

Nutritional Facts for Egg Curry with Okinawa style

Serving Size:                            1 (83 g)

Servings per Recipe:               12

Amount per Serving                83 g

% Daily                                   Value

Calories                                   317.7

Calories from Fat                       23                 42%

Total Fat                                 2.6 g                  4%

Saturated Fat                           0.9 g                4%

Cholesterol                              72.6 mg           24%

Sodium                                    397.8 mg         16%

Total Carbohydrate                66.9 g              22%

Dietary Fiber                          1.1 g                   4%

Sugars                                      33.5 g               134%

Protein                                    6.9 g                  13%

Incorporating staple foods and healthy habits from an Okinawa diet has been shown to improve the quality of life, but if you’re planning to diet for a month and revert back to unhealthy habits, then it’s unlikely you’ll reap its benefits.

I am sure this article about Okinawa diet will help you live longer by cutting out unnecessary and harmful food from going into your body. Okinawa diet is also one of the best diet plans to lose weight efficiently.

  • Books to Refer:-

The Okinawa Program, Drs. Bradley, Craig Willcox and Makoto Suzuki – Amazon US | Amazon IN

50 Secrets of the World’s Longest Living People, Sally Bare – Amazon US | Amazon IN

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