Do you want to be a centenarian—those lucky few who live to see 100 years? How about a super-centenarian and see 110 years? The answers may be found in Okinawa, Japan, where a team of researchers have studied older adults since 1975. The results have been remarkable. Okinawans experience one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world, few have chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s or heart disease, and the city has one of the highest number of centenarian residents.

Researchers have looked at aging Okinawans for patterns and reasons why people from this area live longer than everyone else. What’s the secret? Some of the reasons for long life has been attributed to genetics, but a huge part of why Okinawans live so long are based on lifestyle. Information to use!! So, what are the findings?

Eat Less

One of the biggest findings of the Okinawa study was that residents eat less than their western counterparts. They follow a simple rule - eat to 80% full. That’s it!

Eat Quality

Quality over quantity is a motto for Okinawans. They have a diet that’s full of fruits, vegetables, soy, healthy fats and plenty of fiber. They eat less processed foods (anything in a package) and opt instead for whole, natural foods. The benefits of eating quality foods? Eighty percent less instances of cancer and heart disease than North Americans. Those are stats you can use.

Move, but Simply

Okinawans don’t run marathons. They are incredibly active, however, the natural way. Through walking, light martial arts, gardening, and other daily activities, Okinawans are able to stay fit and ward off chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. How simple! Schedule a daily walk into your routine, plant a garden. All will have physical as well as emotional benefits. Just remember to keep it simple!

The lessons to be learned from the Okinawans are not earth-shattering by any means. They’re simple, easy to follow and free from the fad-ideas that the “weight loss” industry tries to push at us. Eat less. Eat quality. Move simply. Your guide to seeing 100 and aging with grace.

Learn more about our tips for proactive aging on Tabitha's Pinterest page!

Learn more about the Okinawa Study