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Japanese Women Have Longest Lifespan in the World

Why Japanese Women May Outlive Us

Japanese women have an average lifespan of 86.44 years, topping the world's longevity records for 25 years in a row, the government said on Monday in a health ministry report. This is also the fourth year in a row that life expectancy has risen in the country. The increase reflects better medical treatment in areas of cancer, cardiac disorders, and strokes — the three main causes of death among the elderly in Japan. Officials also cite the country's high standard of living and healthy eating practices as contributing factors.

When I spoke to celeb trainer Harley Pasternak about the world's eating habits, he said Japan was one of the healthiest diets he experienced. And since I've been following the Mediterranean diet for some time now, I may give the typical Japanese diet a try too. A typical Japanese diet is composed of rice, fresh seafood, soy, seaweed, and all types of noodles, including the very healthy buckwheat soba noodles. It also includes lots of veggies and fruits, and little reliance on beef or processed foods. A huge factor in the Japanese diet is portion control, which remains very moderate. And besides longevity, the Japanese also enjoy one of the world's lowest obesity rates.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
dvdripperreview dvdripperreview 6 years
The diet is an important reason, and I like fresh seafood and noodles and fresh vegetables very much!
wolvesvane wolvesvane 6 years
i don't think diet is the only reason why Japan has a low obseity rate and high health levels-exercise also contributes in day-to-day culture. for example, it's a superstition in Japan that if you lie down after eating, you'll turn into a pig. while that's clearly untrue, many people still adhere to the idea, and go for walks and other such things after eating. also, children are taught healthy exercise habits from a young age. summer exercise programs in the park are a common example of this.
Spectra Spectra 6 years
I love veggies and I eat a diet VERY rich in veggies and fish. I have excellent cholesterol numbers and I'm definitely not obese. While the Japanese diet may seem sort of high in sodium, I'm guessing most of the sodium comes from the addition of salt/soy sauce to fresh ingredients. The typical American probably gets twice that much sodium from processed foods.
intensebandgeek intensebandgeek 6 years
When I went to Japan as a kid, I remember being super shocked when grandma served fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and fish at breakfast. Sugary cereals and pastries are kind of bizarre breakfast items there, especially when fresh produce is in abundance in the countryside.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 6 years
That picture makes me smile. I don't think that child wants the sushi. Her mouth is closed. :) I have mixed feelings about the Japanese diet. While I think it's good that obesity rate is down, I've seen a lot of petite, older Japanese (and other Asian) women with severely hunched backs (Dowager's humps). It's a sign of advanced osteoporosis. That tells me their diet was deficient in calcium during their bone-building years. In my opinion, that diet is arguably unhealthy. Again, while I think having low obesity rate (and high longevity) is important, they're not the end all, be all of health, in my opinion. There are other factors, too, like bone health.
ekstor ekstor 6 years
Having lived in Japan for 13 months once, to say they eat a lot of vegetables is an understatement. There are a variety of pickled vegetables with many of the home made meals I was exposed to. Indeed, processed meats are rare. Small portions of everything is common (dining tables are usually covered from edge-to-edge with a variety of small plates of something). I'd go so far to say that most of the stuff we're exposed to in Japanese restaurants is NOT indicative of what the typical household actually eats in Japan. I remember going back and staying an entire week in someone's home. I felt like I was eating so much but everything was fresh and healthy... upon returning home, I was shocked to find that I had actually lost weight.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
Just another fan of soba noodles. I swap them out for any noodle type in asian cooking.
yoshikushi yoshikushi 6 years
Being of Japanese descent, I have grown up eating Japanese food. The traditional Japanese diet is quiet healthy, but it is also packed with sodium. This is something that needs to be monitored. It is also true that the Japanese have a mostly dairy free diet, but I think more of it is being incorporated more into the diets now with the younger generations. There is also nothing wrong with rice, as long as it in moderation; although, I do prefer brown rice.
weffie weffie 6 years
Mmmm soba noodles are the best!! The benefit is not just in portion control... the healthiest thing about the typical Japanese diet is that it's dairy free. Why would you leave out such an important bit of information? The lack of dairy is undeniably linked to their significantly lower rates of certain cancers and osteoporosis.
TiVo TiVo 6 years
I think the extra veggies, fish, and portion control really do it... particularly the portion control part! I'm not a fan of much Japanese food (except salmon roles that probably have too much rice), so I doubt I'll make the switch. Sounds healthy though!
landanimal landanimal 6 years
All the points you have mentioned here about the Japanese diet sound great health-wise. We really need to adopt some of this!
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