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According to the United Nations, the ‘greatest proportion of centenarians’ – people who are healthy, active and live to a 100 years and beyond – are found in Japan, more specifically in the southern region of the Okinawa islands.
American gerontologist, Dr Craig Willcox, who has spent many years investigating Okinawan longevity, says the secret lies in a healthy lifestyle and traditional diet. This diet, which is calorie restricted, low in sugar and fat and rich in antioxidants has been dubbed the Okinawa Diet and includes the following key elements.
- Fresh organic fruit and vegetables.Okinawa’s indigenous sweet potato (rich in carotenoids, flavonoids, lycopene and vitamin E) and bitter cucumber known as ‘goya’ (known to lower blood sugar in diabetics) are dietary staples. The diet also includes carrots, onions and leafy vegetables, all of which are known to stave off age related ailments like diabetes and metabolic syndromes. Papaya is the fruit of choice. Continue reading