Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Secret of Longevity in Okinawa

The Island of Okinawa, Japan were estimated to have nearly 740 centenarians in 2006- 90 percent of whom were woman- out of population of 1.3 millions. This represents about 50 centenarians for every 100,000 people, according to the Okinawa Centenarian Study, headed by Dr. Makoto Suzuki.The goal of the Okinawa Centenarian Study is to uncover the genetic and lifestyle factors responsible for this remarkable successful aging phenomenon for the betterment of the health and lives of all people.

When Dr. Suzuki first began his studies, he found an unusual number of centenarians to be in extraordinarily healthy shape. They were lean, youthful-looking, energetic, and had remarkably low rates of heart disease and cancer-even stomach cancer, which claimed many mainland Japanese. And they enjoyed the longest life expectancy in the world.The secret?

One major factor was genetics.But there were other factors too- the avoidance of tobacco, moderation in the use of alcohol, and a good diet. The Okinawan diet tends to be low in calories and high in vegetables and fruits, natural fiber, and good fats.The people have the habit of eating only until they are about 80% full. "You should stop at the first feeling of fullness you get," says Dr. Bradley Willcox, a coinvestigator in the study."There's no magic pill" for longevity,he added.As the study revealed, it is influenced by genes diet, exercise, good habits," and healthy ways of coping with stress."