The Secrets of Japanese Longevity

For many years, people have witnessed that Japan is the country which has the longest life expectancy. The fact that more than 29% of its population are over the age of 65, this Land of the Rising Sun is consistently recognized for its big community of healthy elders. According to WHO's 2014 World Health Statistics, Japanese people have an average lifespan of 84 years, which continues the record of longest life expectancy from last year. What’s even more surprising, the oldest man and woman listed in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records in August 2014 were both Japanese; sitting at the age of 111 and 116 years old respectively. So, what are the secrets to their long lives anyway? I mean what could be their hidden spells to prolong and maintain their good health for so many years? Well, here are the top reports which have preserved their incredible healthy lifestyle explained below.


1. DIET

In Japan, it is no longer a secret. In fact, everyone learns it at a young age. In their mandatory educational program, Japanese children are taught to eat a balanced diet, keep a good sense of personal hygiene, and exercise daily. Those habits formed early help establish a strong foundation for well-being. It is nearly impossible to become a fast-food addict in Japan. Although massive chains of fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken have footprints in this country, however, they do not entirely dominate the Japanese domestic market. Needles to say, Japanese people favor an adequate, well-proportioned, and nourishing meal either at home or in restaurants.

A Japanese diet is balanced physically, emotionally, and spiritually. At this stage, any kind of food served on their table is regarded as a gift from the land, the mountain, or the river. To enjoy a meal is to pay tribute to the one who prepared it, and the Japanese food in comparison to the Western version of wheat-and-meat-dependent diet is nutritionally balanced with the low fat and low calorie.


2. EATING MODERATELY

The phrase “moderate eating” or sufficient meal consumption became popular in Japan during the Edo period. Having enjoyed meal in a sufficient manner simply means that instead of eating until one is full, eat until your stomach feels as if it is 4/5 full and then stop. This particular eating pattern is said to be good for health and longevity which has been verified recently by scientific proof. Since this way of thinking is in line with the Japanese diet, hence, their dietary habit of eating until one is 70% full will continue and extend their life span.

Despite the habit of their mindful eating proportionately, another contributing factor towards their healthy meal is fresh ingredients. Surrounded by the oceans, geographically speaking, Japan is composed of four main islands. The territorial diversity with four distinct seasons allows Japanese farmers to nurture a wide range of vegetables, fruits, and animal products. Even with only 3% of employed citizens working as farmers, the Japanese agricultural industry still supplies more than 126 million people every day.

Japan is famous for its food quality and superb ingredients. Thanks to their developed food industry, Japanese people can effortlessly pick various, vigorous, and vital ingredients coming from local farms to prepare their daily meals. Having a wholesome set of ingredients to draw from means the Japanese people are already halfway to success when it comes to following a healthy diet. With great freshness come great nutrients, thus, certain pivotal elements of food attributes play a substantial role in the nutritional value of a Japanese meal.


3. STRONG DEGREE OF HYGIENE

Japan is by far recognized as one of the most hygienic societies in the world. Even the country’s public services possess a high level of hygiene as a matter of fact. Lately, Japanese public libraries have been introducing "book showers" technology whereby any books that were lent out and have been returned are disinfected and sterilized. Since the technology applies UV rays to disinfect any dust that might be stuck inside of a book, a person who borrows it next can have it in the cleanest condition possible.

Apart from that, Japanese people do not wear shoes at home. Thanks to this, the people will not be tracking mud or dirt into their houses, which is simply an easy method to keep their belongings hygienic. Unlike in Western countries where people have no clear rule whether to take shoes off or not before entering into a house, the Japanese on the other hand have an important tradition to take off shoes before they step in. Of course, some people may prefer to wear shoes no matter where they are. However, there are also others who find themselves more comfortable without shoes put on when they are at home. The Japanese lifestyle for not wearing shoes inside a house is regarded a very important custom in Japan. Because of this, you will not be surprised if you find their home floors clean all the time.


4. HIGH LEVEL OF SOCIETAL ENGAGEMENT

Japanese elderly people are known around the world for having a high societal involvement. According to the Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, there are 4,950,000 people over the age of 65 still employed in Japan. If we look at people of the same age in various Western countries, the percentage of people over 65 who are still employed in Japan is 19.4%. While there are many people who are yet confused with what to do with themselves after retirement, the Japanese elders tend to stay proactive in their community through activities such as neighborhood associations or gate ball games. Having enjoyed your hobbies and follow your purpose in life no matter how old you get seems to be one of the secret mantra to the Japanese lifelong expectancy. Overall, the enjoyment of everyday life is what prompts the elderly people in that country highly occupied and energetic regardless how old they become.


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