LOOKING FOR ANSWERS TO AGE-OLD OKINAWA QUESTION
Want to live until you’re 100 — and stay slim while you’re at it? Well, you may want to take inspiration from one area of Japan, which has one of the world’s highest rates of centenarians.
Almost two-thirds of the people in the Okinawa region are able to live independently until the age of 97. For every 100,000 inhabitants, there are 68 people over the age of 100.
So what’s their secret? Scientists believe it’s their ultra-high carb, low protein diet.
The “Okinawa diet or ratio” is 10:1 carbs to protein, which experts believe has been protecting people in the region from various age-related illnesses like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
The area’s traditional diet is rich in sweet potatoes, as well as plenty of other brightly coloured veg – notably green and yellow – which tend to contain a load of vitamin C, E and A. They eat very little protein and when they do have it, it tends to be soy or fish.
Although they’re big on carbs, the number of unprocessed grains they consume is actually very little.
Unlike the rest of Asia, the Okinawans don’t rely on rice as their main source of calories — filling up on sweet potatoes instead.
And despite their carb-loading ways, they tended to eat about 11 per cent fewer calories than the recommended daily allowance for adults.
The group’s longevity is so amazing that their diet has been the subject of a study, called the Okinawa Centenarian Study (OCS), which has been investigating the health of the region’s ageing population since 1975. The study has found the diet is high in fibre and low in refined carbs, which probably has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, preventing age-related illnesses.
But some scientists suggest that the region’s longevity may be less to do with the carb-to-protein ratio, and more to do with the amount of fruit and veg the region eats.
Karen Ryan, a nutritional biologist at the University of California, Davis, told the BBC that while a low-protein diet may be beneficial up until the age of 65, beyond that, people tended to benefit from eating more protein. She says it may be more to do with where you get that protein from that matters.
Plant-based proteins like soy may be better in terms of reducing inflammation than things like meat and dairy. – The Sun