Long May You Live…Live A Long Life

Take  note of the world’s oldest population.. The world’s highest percentage of people living 100 years or more are found on Okinawa Island,Japan. In Okinawa, 28.6 per 100,000 people are over 100 years old, compared with 8.9 for Japan and 3.0 for the USA.  Not only are they physically active even in their 90s, they are generally positive-thinking and contented. You can watch a short CNN video on the lifestyle of Okinawans here.

So what’s the secret? This has caused many a gerontologist to study the reasons for their longevity. Many have done so and their findings can be summarised as follows:

  1. A diet low in fat, salt and sugar– take a look at their typical food pyramid:


    You Are What You Eat - the Okinawa Diet

  2. Plenty of Exercise – many are in their 90s and still run, dance or climb trees to pick fruits. Exercise is meant to be enjoyed and this is enhanced by doing it in community groups. This includes mental exercise -keeping one’s  brain active.


    96 year-old Seikichi Uehara, karate master, showing his pupil a thing or two

  3. No smoking – quite in contrast to the rest of the Japanese.
  4. Moderate or little alcohol– but plenty of green tea.
  5. Good stress management -the closely-knit community provides interactive psychological support and faith which promotes a strong feeling of optimism and positive outlook. There is plenty of mental activity and each is inculcated with a feeling of purpose in life.
  6. Access to good dental & medical healthcare– regular medical check-ups are the norm.
  7. Adequate nighttime sleep of at least 6 hours.

With the above measures, in Okinawa, the incidence of cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s is practically unknown, which is quite amazing.


Laughter-the best medicine

Based on my observations of elderly patients, one additional feature for longevity which seems to be also a norm is having a good sense of humour. After all, laughter is the best medicine and the positive effects on health is certainly no laughing matter! A study by the University of Maryland Medical Center showed that average blood flow typically increases 22 percent during and after bursts of laughter compared to a decrease in blood flow by 35 percent during mental stress.

Those caught in the rat-race will surely identify that their  deleterious lifestyle is the root-cause of ill-health and disease and many can learn a point or two from Okinawa’s elderly..

9 responses

  1. “good sense of humour” — that’s the best medicine right there! 😀

  2. Hello, I am asking your permission to use the healthy food pyramid in a power point presentation for a computer course that I am currently studying. The picture will be used for educational purposes only and not for public viewing. Thanks

    Doctor2008 says : Sure, no problem


  4. can i use it 4 a mag?

    Doctor2008says: For a start, send me your true email address.

  5. I think eat food pyramid diets.THE BEST WAY.

  6. […] La dieta de los ancianos de Okinawa es baja en grasa, sal y azúcar. No fuman, su consumo de alcohol es muy moderado, hacen ejercicio regularmente (muchos de ellos cultivan su pequeño huerto). Comen mucha verdura, y fruta justamente la que ellos cultivan… […]

  7. My son is going to Okinawa for one year – I am amazed by their healthy lifestyle. Most of the things mentioned here as a healthy diet and lifestyle I have practiced for the last 30 years.. I hope he will take a lot of good health tips back with him.

  8. Hello, I am asking your permission to use the healthy food pyramid in STAR NIE Project that I am currently participating. The picture will be used for participation purpose only and not for public viewing. Thanks.

    Doctor2008: No problem, just include my blog URL.

  9. Hi, can i please have your permission to use this for a report. It will be only for educational purposes and not public viewing. I will reference your full details in APA format.
    Could I please me notified asap
    thanks 🙂

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