6 Healthy Habits to Steal
From Japanese Women
We often look to other cultures for healthy living inspiration--French women don't get fat! The Brazilian butt workout!
The latest health-minded country to catch our attention: Japan. For the 25th consecutive year, Japanese women have proven to have the highest life expectancy in the world: 86.44 to be exact. So, what's their secret? Of course, Japan has made great leaps in terms of treatments for cancer, stroke, and heart disease, but their longevity can largely be attributed to a healthy diet, minimal obesity, and the ability to manage stress.
Here are 6 live-longer strategies to steal:
Eat this: Seaweed. Literally a multivitamin, it contains potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, iodine, vitamin C, fiber, beta-carotene, and more. And the rest of their diet is largely packed with plant-based eats such as fruits, vegetables, and soy.
... and this: Fish. The Japanese favor tuna, mackerel and salmon, which contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that omega-3s can reduce risk of heart disease and breast cancer. Sushi bar tonight, anyone?
Drink this: Green tea. According to a recent study, people who drink six cups of tea a day have a 36 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to those who drink less than one cup per day. And green tea, a staple in Japan, is top of the list. Loaded with antioxidants, it's been linked to lower incidence of everything from cancer to bone loss to osteoporosis. We LOVE the fair trade blends from Partners Tea Co.
Do this: Eat slower. Here in America, we treat every meal like it's a competitive eating championship, whereas in Japan they're taught to savor every bite (eating with chopsticks helps slow down the pace, too). The reason this is key is that it takes 20 minutes for the brain to recognize fullness. So if you take your time, you're more likely to eat until you're satisfied rather than until you're stuffed (and trying to loosen your belt without anyone noticing!).
Ditch this: Big plates and platters. Do like the Japanese and eat as much of your food as possible out of a bowl or off of small tapas-style plates. When you use smaller dinnerware instead of a large plate or platter, it's easier to practice portion control. Grandma was right: Your eyes are indeed bigger than your stomach. We're all about these 7-inch, brightly colored, very affordable dessert plates from CB2.
Find this: Zen. The Japanese practice physical (think: martial arts) and mental fitness. Activities such as yoga and meditation have been shown not only to reduce stress, but also to ward of dementia and preserve areas of the brain associated with concentration and memory.
We should take a note from Naomi Moriyama, co-author ofJapanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat: Secrets of My Mother's Tokyo Kitchen, and follow the lifestyle that has proven to be the best in the world.
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